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At Play in the Fields of the Lord (1991)

Martin and Hazel Quarrier are small-town fundamentalist missionaries sent to the jungles of South America to convert the Indians. Their remote mission was previously run by the Catholics, ... See full summary »

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(based on the novel by), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Martin Quarrier
...
Wolf
...
Stênio Garcia ...
Boronai
...
Father Xantes
José Dumont ...
Commandante Guzman
Niilo Kivirinta ...
Billy Quarrier
S. Yriwana Karaja ...
Aeore
Jose Renato Lana ...
Ruy Polanah ...
Carlos Xavante ...
Tukanu
Ione Machado ...
Pindi
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Storyline

Martin and Hazel Quarrier are small-town fundamentalist missionaries sent to the jungles of South America to convert the Indians. Their remote mission was previously run by the Catholics, before the natives murdered them all. They are sent by the pompous Leslie Huben, who runs the missionary effort in the area but who seems more concerned about competing with his Catholic 'rivals' than in the Indians themselves. Hazel is terrified of the Indians while Martin is fascinated. Soon American pilot Lewis Moon joins the Indian tribe but is attracted by Leslie's young wife, Andy. Can the interaction of these characters and cultures, and the advancing bulldozers of civilization, avoid disaster? Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

An adventure beyond the limits of civilization, faith and passion.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

6 December 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jugando en los campos del Señor  »

Box Office

Budget:

$36,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$1,342,903 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Producer Saul Zaentz first tried to make this film in 1965, only to find that MGM owned the rights. He kept trying to buy them every time there was an administrative change at MGM up until 1989 when new studio heads Jay Kanter and Alan Ladd Jr decided that MGM would not be making the film. Zaentz still had to pay $1.4 million for the rights. See more »

Quotes

Martin Quarrier: The next time you strike an Indian for any reason whatsoever, it is you who is going to be sent away. They are different from us, they don't understand! And besides that, it could be very dangerous for us all.
Hazel Quarrier: Do you want Billy seeing their filthy tricks?
Martin Quarrier: It will not seem filthy to him unless we make it so. Honey, it is very natural.
Hazel Quarrier: Natural? And if one of those nasty little savages puts a hand on him?
Martin Quarrier: Then he might enjoy it.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood vs. Religion (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Halfway to Heaven
Written by Nicky Holland, Hal David, Franne Golde
Performed by Céline Dion
Courtesy of Epic Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
All Shoud See And Read
23 December 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I purchased the video of this film after it passed through the theatres so fast I was unable to see it. I had read and reread Peter Matthiessen's award winning book and still gift it to friends and family. The film remained true to the novel. No film can truly portray in three or even in five hours all the complexities that a good writer can express. This film did however do an exceptional job for the time it had.

Some have said this film is anti Protestant, or just anti missionary. That is just too simplistic and misleading a label for this story. There is far more to digest than those labels could ever suggest. Here is the deliberate forced movement or destruction of a tribe to gain gold mining opportunities. This is happening with local government officials looking the other way ignoring current federal obligations to the native population. There is a built in irony that Moon (Tom Berenger) is part Cheyenne Indian. The current South Dakota reservations came about by our government reneging on deals in order to get access to gold in the Black Hills. The result was an ecological and cultural disaster for the Sioux nation.

This film was as about the symbiosis of culture and environment. Missionaries in Micronesia told the islanders in Yap that taboos on fishing were just superstition. An island bio-system that could once support 10,000 people can now not even support 1, 000. Missionaries tell South American tribes that their occasional drug inspired journeys are pure evil. There are ways these ancient cultural traditions can be kept without any threat to Christian doctrine. Instead, especially for western protestant missionaries, conversion is often more about cultural than religious conversion. This results in the ultimate economic and ecological destruction that follows.

Everyone should see this film, and better yet read the incredible book that inspired it.


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