Saint Ralph (2004)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Sport  |  8 April 2005 (Canada)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 4,917 users   Metascore: 51/100
Reviews: 52 user | 47 critic | 21 from

Saint Ralph is the unlikely story of Ralph Walker, a ninth grader who outran everyone's expectations except his own in his bold quest of trying to win the 1954 Boston Marathon.



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6 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Kanev ...
Chester Jones
Father Fitzpatrick
Claire Collins
Hulk (as Chris Ploszczansky)
Paulette Sinclair ...
Secretary Roddy
Father George Hibbert
Emma Walker
Nurse Alice
Lubica Kucerova ...
Woman in Shower
Ben Gans ...
Senior Citizen #1
Jock McLeod ...
Senior Citizen #2
Jeff Baxter ...
Daniel Karasik ...
Frank Crudele ...
Mr. Karl


It's the 1953/54 school year at St. Magnus Catholic School in Hamilton, Ontario. Fourteen year old Ralph Walker is in many ways a typical teenager. He is experimenting with smoking and is openly preoccupied with the opposite sex, which makes him the brunt of jokes amongst his male classmates and which constantly gets him into trouble with the school's strict headmaster, Father Fitzpatrick. As penance and to redirect his energies, Father Fitzpatrick orders Ralph to join the school's cross country running team under the tutelage of the school's avant-garde thinking teacher, Father Hibbert. Some of the more unusual circumstances of Ralph's life are that he lives by himself in the family home, telling the authorities that he is living with his paternal grandparents (who are in reality deceased), and telling his widowed hospitalized mother (Ralph's father was killed in the war) that he is staying with a friend. Ralph's focus in life changes after his mother falls into a coma. It will take ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He's hoping for a miracle. He doesn't have a prayer. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexual content and partial nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

8 April 2005 (Canada)  »

Also Known As:

Em Busca De Um Milagre  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


CAD 6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$140,881 (USA) (5 August 2005)


$795,126 (USA) (28 October 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The 30 kilometre Hamilton Round the Bay Race, which Ralph wins in the movie, is an actual event; in fact, it is the oldest structured road race in North America, predating the Boston Marathon (started 1897) by three years. The film's director, Michael McGowan, won the Round the Bay Race in 1995 with a time of 1:36:09. See more »


The announcer in Hopkinton at the start of the marathon says "Welcome to the 53rd running of the Boston Marathon". The 1954 Marathon would be the 58th running. See more »


[first lines]
Ralph Walker: Forgive me father for I have sinned. It has been 11 weeks since my last confession.
See more »


Featured in The Hour: Episode #7.24 (2010) See more »


You Came Along
Performed by Joel Plaskett Emergency
Written by Joel Plaskett
Published by Songs For The Gang (SOCAN)
Courtesy of Maple Music
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User Reviews

A wonderful study of Canada in the fifties.
17 October 2005 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

One of the best movies I've seen all year. I tried to catch it in the theatre but it was vapourized too quickly and having seen it I'm completely baffled- surely Canada can afford to promote movies a little better than this. Many such missed opportunities come to mind ("Marion Bridge", "The Hanging Garden" et al). This is one of the best of its genre, the extremely gritty dedicated athlete/musician/singer/painter who takes on the world against all odds. But this is done with a twist. It all takes place in the 1950s in very Catholic parochial school Ontario.

Ralph (Adam Butcher) is a brazen but cute 14-year-old student fighting the system but inwardly grieving his Dad, who died in the recent war (WW2)and his extremely ill mother who lies in a coma in the hospital. This is never sentimentalized, his exchanges with his mother before she slips into her coma are beautifully written and believable.

How he cobbles together his faith and goes out to seek a miracle is the crux of the story but there are many lovely sidebars, his almost-girlfriend who wants to be a nun, his best friend who forges notes for him, a fun loving nurse, played by the never disappointing Jennifer Tilly, squeaky voice in place and some disbelieving factory workers who mock his attempts at athleticism.

Ralph is a fully developed character, his sinful side clashing consistently with his puritanical, self-punishing side, his innate flirtatiousness offset by his being picked upon by the older boys in his school. Adam nails the role to such a degree that one forgets he is acting.

A younger priest (Campbell Scott plays this beautifully) with a secret past agrees to help the young boy and Gordon Pinsent plays the part of the older rigid priest with conviction even though he has some thin dialogue to sink his teeth into – the movie's only weakness.

The sexuality content is handled well and honestly with none of that gruesome teenage guffawing that litters other movies of this ilk. Because of this content it would not be suitable for children which is a shame, but it is not gratuitous and is an intrinsic part of the Catholic sin quotient of the era. 8 out of 10. A marvelous, thoughtful film.

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