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Mass Appeal (1984)

PG | | Drama | 14 December 1984 (USA)
A popular Connecticut priest shields a seminary rebel from the wrath of a stern monsignor.



(play), (screenplay)

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Credited cast:
Mrs. Hart
Helene Heigh ...
Mrs. Hart's mother
Marion Hart
James Ray ...
Father De Nicola
Lois De Banzie ...
Mrs. Dolson
Mr. Dolson
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
John C. Becher ...
Mr. Jennings
Allison Caine ...
Additional Voice
Christopher Carroll ...
Salvatore Fitzgerald
John Devlin ...
Choir Leader


A popular Connecticut priest shields a seminary rebel from the wrath of a stern monsignor.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Somewhere between laughter and tears, they found something to believe in.




PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

14 December 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Algo en que creer  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,434, 16 December 1984, Limited Release

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Two major supporting roles for the film were added to the story which were not in the "Mass Appeal" stage play. These were the housekeeper and monsignor characters, played by Louise Latham and Charles Durning respectively. See more »


Father Tim Farley: You're a lunatic! And Christ NEEDS lunatics. But the trouble with lunatics is, they don't know how to survive.
See more »


Featured in At the Movies: Dune/Starman/Mass Appeal/Runaway (1984) See more »

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User Reviews

a watchable but flawed take on the Catholic Church
14 September 2003 | by See all my reviews

Pity the poor congregation of St. Francis Parish, subject to "dialogue sermons" (what???), autobiographical psycho-babble and in the end, self-righteous calls to rise up against the local Church hierarchy. If things are really like this in the Catholic Church today, its enough to make this lapsed Catholic stay that way for a long time. That said, and hoping that this does not mirror reality, the movie works as entertainment, largely due to the performances of the two main characters. Jack Lemmon is delightful and convincing as a lonely priest who has found strategies (some decent ones, some hurtful) to survive who takes on the task of mentoring and tempering the well-meaning but naive passions of a young seminarian, also well played. The big casualty is in the one-dimensionality of the "heavy" played by Charles Durning, and perhaps of all of his cronies as well. Well, Catholic bashing is nothing new, mostly by ex-Catholics, but it always diminishes the dialogue such issues could provoke. However, there is more to the movie than this, especially in some very good characterizations of Catholic lay people, Louise Latham's housekeeper in particular.

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