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The Rosary Murders (1987)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  12 August 1988 (Denmark)
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Reviews: 11 user | 9 critic

A priest is put in a dilemma when the serial killer who has been murdering priests and nuns confesses to him.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Roger Angelini ...
Irene Jimenez
B. Constance Barry ...
Sister Grace
Pat Lennon
Doris Biscoe ...
Woman Newscaster
Sandy Broad ...
Keith Brooks ...
Altar Boy
Bethany Carpenter ...
Nancy Baldwin
Joseph Conrad ...
Richard Cottrell ...
Officer Mills
John Danelle ...
Detective Harris
Leila Danette ...
Mrs. Washington
Father Ted Nabors
Bruce Economou ...
Priest at Party
Father Skiarski


Life in the Catholic Church of the Holy Redeemer in Detroit is upset by a series of killings whose victims are all priests and nuns. All victims are found with a black rosary in their hands. Father Koesler begins collaborating with the police but soon finds himself in a spot when the killer decides to choose him as confessor. Written by Salvatore Santangelo <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

priest | nun | rosary | catholic | death | See All (19) »


God works in mysterious ways. Man works in the deadliest.


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

12 August 1988 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Confession criminelle  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,730,337 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Not only are Catholic priests bound by the seal of confession not to reveal who or what people confess, but the seal also forbids them to USE any information heard in the confessional. Thus, in real life Fr. Koesler would have been unable to even investigate the murders on his own. See more »


References Psycho (1960) See more »


Recorded & Sung by Nancy Wood
Composed by Bobby Laurel
Lyrics by Bobby Laurel & Dennis Leahy
Based on an adaptation of the Third Symphony written by Johannes Brahms
See more »

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User Reviews

Confessional time.
18 May 2008 | by (the Mad Hatter's tea party.) – See all my reviews

As slow-burns go, Fred Walton's mysterious catholic-bounded thriller takes the cake with its minimal and sombre treatment. It's one of those progressive and morally hounded plots (from William X. Kienzle's novel), which is a puzzle to decipher, as you find yourself also personally getting involved with the brooding investigation with realistic characters. Some of the scheming is a bit hard to swallow, but for most part it's smartly penned (by Elmore Leonard and Fred Walton) and the low-key approach seems to make you concentrate on the lyrical waxing (especially on those commitments to the priesthood and the self-doubting). However the pacing seemed to plod a bit too much, where some monotonous patches seemed to lose focus. Two stalwart figure heads; an impressive Donald Sutherland and equally so Charles Durning are engagingly strong. Sutherland has a sincere presence about him, that even if he looks half-asleep. He's still watchable. Josef Sommer and Belinda Bauer offer able support. Walton's direction is slickly presented, but feels shapeless and dry. At least he did construct a subtle, startlingly dreary atmosphere and the music score etches out a placidly haunting vibe. The violence happened mostly off-screen, but managed to leave a chilling mark and the Detroit setting complements the weary imprint. A sleepy and glum, but well-acted and rather moving thriller.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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