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Priest (1994)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  24 March 1995 (USA)
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Father Greg Pilkington (Linus Roache) is torn between his call as a conservative Catholic priest and his secret life as a homosexual with a gay lover, frowned upon by the Church. Upon ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Cathy Tyson ...
Mrs. Unsworth
Mr. Unsworth
James Ellis ...
Father Ellerton
Lisa Unsworth
Rio Fanning ...
Jim R. Coleman ...
Funeral director
Bill Dean ...
Altar boy
Gilly Coman ...
Ellie Molloy
Fred Pearson ...
Jimmy Gallagher ...
Mick Molloy


Father Greg Pilkington (Linus Roache) is torn between his call as a conservative Catholic priest and his secret life as a homosexual with a gay lover, frowned upon by the Church. Upon hearing the confession of a young girl of her incestuous father, Greg enters an intensely emotional spiritual struggle deciding between choosing morals over religion and one life over another. Written by Eric Chor <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

girl | love | church | priest | abuse | See All (224) »


One man is about to challenge two thousand years of tradition. See more »


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for depiction of mature themes involving sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

24 March 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Actos privados  »

Box Office


$4,176,932 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Catholic Church in Ireland were very vocal about their views in having the film banned from theatrical distribution. The film censor disagreed and the film was released with an 18 certificate. This marked a major turning point in the relationship between the church and the Irish Film Censor board. See more »


Father Greg holds up a communion wafer which is smooth. The scene cuts to Graham and then back to Father Greg, and the wafer has a diagonal line across it. See more »


Father Matthew Thomas: The creation of mankind only started on the sixth day. It hasn't stopped yet. We're taller than we were a thousand years ago. We're fitter, faster. We live longer. We're better educated. More informed. So, creation... is an ongoing process. And if you interfere with it with it, aren't you spitting in the face of God? If you exploit your work force, don't you spit in the face of God? If you kill and maim, throw people out of their homes, turn your back on the elderly, If you shut down schools ...
See more »


Referenced in 3rd Rock from the Sun: Frozen Dick (1996) See more »


Composed by Bob Russell & Bobby Scott
Published by Harrison Music Corporation & Jenny Music
Administered by Chelsea Music Publishing Co. Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

Judge not lest ye be judged..
20 April 2004 | by See all my reviews

Priests are not often the heroes of movies:some famous predecessors were Robert Bresson's "journal d'un curé de campagne" (1945),Luis Bunuel's "Nazarin" (1958) and Jean-Pierre Melville 's "Leon Morin prêtre" (1961).But none of these directors went as far as Antonia Bird .Their movies were perhaps esthetically better,but nothing shocking for people who were brought up religiously ,nothing like the pictures of this priest lying on a bed with his lover.One will add that Bunuel's movie was looked upon as "very Christian" by the Spanish censorship when it was exactly the contrary.But it's difficult to consider Bird's work a fable:it's a realistic story,where sex occupies the center of the plot:sex between the other priest and the housekeeper,sex between the father and his daughter,sex between Rochman and Carlyle .Bird's style,though depicting the poor sides of Liverpool is very different from Kenneth Loach's .Her pictures are polished up ,like the one in confessional where the incest father is speaking through the grille ,or the two lovers on the beach.

Bird's movie is very interesting because it broaches the problem of celibacy in the catholic religion (protestant priests are allowed to marry aren't they),and,as the hero remarks "Jesus did not ask for chastity did he?"A hero who is not always very smart:"be discreet" he tells to his colleague who sleeps with the housekeeper,but he kisses his lover in a car in broad daylight.

The final battle in the church is particularly interesting,because it's a battle of words,repeating quotations from the Bible,and there are so many ways of interpreting its meanings .It seems that the priest uses the New testament ( judge not lest...,Mary Magdelene, forgive not seven times but seventy)whereas his enemy draws from the old one (a man sleeping with a man is an abomination).

The seal of the confessional subject is not that much new however:even in 1953,Hitchcock made "I confess" in which Montgomery Clift was confronted to the same problem.

Best line;the older priest ,telling a shocked congregation that God is probably too busy to care about what men do with their d.....

14 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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