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Dieu a besoin des hommes (1950)

The island of Sein,in the nineteenth century,in Brittany.A crude population lives here,on these windy shores ,estranged from the rest of the world.


Jean Delannoy
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Pierre Fresnay ... Thomas Gourvennec
Madeleine Robinson ... Jeanne Gourvennec
Daniel Gélin ... Joseph le Berre (as Daniel Gelin)
Sylvie ... Coise Karbacen
Antoine Balpêtré ... Le père Gourvennec, un pêcheur (as Antoine Balpetre)
Germaine Kerjean ... Mme. Kerneis
Jean d'Yd Jean d'Yd ... Corentin Gourvennec
Daniel Ivernel ... François Guillen
Raphaël Patorni Raphaël Patorni ... Jules (as Raphael Patorni)
Marcel Delaître Marcel Delaître ... M. Kerneis (as Marcel Delaitre)
Fernand René Fernand René ... Yves Lannuzel (as Fernand-Rene)
Albert Michel Albert Michel ... Le Bail
Jean-Pierre Mocky ... Pierre
René Génin ... Le père d'Yvon
Jean Carmet ... Yvon


The island of Sein,in the nineteenth century,in Brittany.A crude population lives here,on these windy shores ,estranged from the rest of the world.No priest comes here anymore,because they are sinners,wreckers.So the sacristan will act as a priest.The inhabitants from the island do need religion,even if theirs is close to superstition.And they do believe in their new officiant,even if the latter does not dare to do everything a priest does(the sacraments).But little by little ,he would ,were it not for the coming of a true religious figure,escorted by - gendarmes. Written by dbdumonteil

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Venice Film Festival organizers refused to screen the movie because it could have offended the Roman Catholics. They changed there decision and showed the movie with no offenses from Catholics. It then took home an award. See more »

User Reviews

Man needs God?
6 April 2020 | by brogmillerSee all my reviews

Henri Queffelec was a 'catholic' novelist who wrote extensively of the sea and of his native Brittany. 'The Rector of the Isle of Sein' has here been adapted by Pierre Bost and Jean Aurenche and directed by Jean Delannoy. Everything about this film is bleak in terms of setting, subject matter and the harsh lives of the protagonists. What makes it bearable is the performances. Here we have another courageous and uncompromising portrayal by Pierre Fresnay as the Sacristan who takes over the running of the church once the villagers have been deserted by their distinctly non-compassionate Rector, played by Jean Brochard. Excellent performances also from Daniel Gelin, Madeleine Robinson, Germaine Kerjean and the utterly mesmerising Andree Clement so tragically taken by tuberculosis in her thirties. Although directed and performed with the utmost conviction this grim, doom-laden and strangely Godless film is completely devoid of hope and will no doubt continue to languish in obscurity.

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Release Date:

4 October 1950 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

God Needs Men See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Transcontinental Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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