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Black Robe (1991)

R  |   |  Adventure, Drama, History  |  4 October 1991 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 5,109 users  
Reviews: 69 user | 17 critic

A young Jesuit priest seeks to convert the Indian tribes in Canada while also trying to survive the harsh winter.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Daniel
...
...
...
Chomina's Wife
Billy Two Rivers ...
Ougebmat
Lawrence Bayne ...
Neehatin
Harrison Liu ...
Awondoie
Wesley Côté ...
Oujita
Frank Wilson ...
Father Jerome
François Tassé ...
Jean Brousseau ...
Yvan Labelle ...
Mestigoit
...
Kiotseaton
James Bobbish ...
Ondesson
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Storyline

In the 17th century a Jesuit priest and a young companion are escorted through the wilderness of Quebec by Algonquin Indians to find a distant mission in the dead of winter. The Jesuit experiences a spiritual journey while his young companion falls in love with the Algonquin chief's beautiful daughter underneath the imposing and magnificent mountains. Dread and death follows them upriver. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for areas of strong violence and sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

| | | |

Release Date:

4 October 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Black Robe - Am Fluß der Irokesen  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$8,211,952 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It took over four years to find financing for the film. No American studio was interested in doing it because it was about religion, so eventually the finance was drummed up from European and Canadian sources. Even with Oscar nominee Bruce Beresford expressing a desire to be at the helm, the Canadian investors were still very hard to convince until Beresford's previous film, Driving Miss Daisy (1989), won the 1989 Oscar for Best Film. The success of Dances with Wolves (1990) was also instrumental in helping the film to get made. See more »

Goofs

The French characters all speak English. This would normally be overlooked as a conventional dramatic device, were it not for the fact that subtitles are used for the Native Americans. See more »

Quotes

Huron Man: The Blackrobes want us to give up the dream. To have only one wife. To stop killing our enemies. If we obey them, we will no longer be Hurons. And soon our enemies will know our weakness and wipe us from the earth.
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User Reviews

 
Beautifully Filmed, Memorably Told
29 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Wow, what a fascinating movie and different kind of film. One really can't get the full impact of this through a review. Anyone who has seen this, I think would agree with me on that.

If I had skipped over the credits and someone had told me Terrence Malick (Days Of Heaven, The New World, The Thin Red Line and Badlands) and directed this film, I would have believed it. Visually, this is his kind of film. I wonder if this movie inspired parts of his latest effort, The New World? There are a number of similarities. Black Robe has the same kind of beautiful and haunting images Malick's films possess but the director in this case is Bruce Bereford, the man who directed Driving Miss Daisy a couple of years before doing this film. DMD also is beautifully-filmed.

Black Robe is not just a piece of art. As great as it is visually, this is a powerful story of a well-intentioned Jesuit priest in the early 17th century who travels to "New France" (upstate New York/French Canadian territory) attempting to convert a few area tribes to Christianity. To unbelievers, that seems pushy but Biblically-speaking it is not. Jesus commanded his followers to do just that (Matt. 28:18-20) , so the priest is only doing what missionaries have done for centuries. He also is a good man, stays strong in his beliefs regardless of his own well-being and is a gentle soul. Kudos to the filmmakers for being fair to him.

The Algonquins and the Hurons are also shown with their beliefs, too, and their cultures which obviously were in contrast to the white European-based priest. All sides are shown fairly in this movie, with both positive and negative traits of all.

I was shocked at a few scenes in here, not expecting them as the film has such a gentle flow to it before anything dramatic happens. We see a few sexual scenes and then some brutal violence. The Hurons, particularly, do not want any invasion of their privacy and culture and are openly hostile to the priest and the Algonquins. The story transforms from a quiet Malick-type "New World" poetic piece to a violent, suspenseful film and the question is, will the "good guys" make it out alive?

The actors in here, perhaps, are not names most people outside Canada are familiar with, including me, but Lothaire Blueteau as Father Laforgue, Aden Young as his assistant "Daniel" and Sandrine Holt as Daniel's Algonguin lover "Anuuka" are all very, very good. All the characters in this film are very credible people, steadfast in their own beliefs and they come across as realistic people. Most films have unreal people with unrealistic dialog....but not in this movie.

Another big plus was the soundtrack: a lush, haunting score throughout.

Without spoiling the ending, or adding political/theological agendas my own, let me just add that if you enjoy a beautiful-looking movie which also has a thoughtful, haunting story with honest characters, you should check this out. Highly recommended.


39 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
Black Robe in the U.S. gotee75
One of the best soundtracks I've ever heard... Sleight-of-Hand
wow that is so mean on_the_catwalk
Not a remake of The Robe then? The Colourful Jester
Location? gotee75
Language Sounds like Birds? katjulian16
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