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The Flowers of St. Francis (1950)

Francesco, giullare di Dio (original title)
Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, History | 6 October 1952 (USA)
A series of vignettes depicting the lives of the original Franciscan monks, including their leader and the bumbling Ginepro.


Roberto Rossellini


Roberto Rossellini (story), Federico Fellini (screenplay collaborator) | 2 more credits »
2 nominations. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Aldo Fabrizi ... Nicolaio, il tiranno di Viterbo
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gianfranco Bellini Gianfranco Bellini ... Narrator (voice)
Peparuolo Peparuolo ... Giovanni il Sempliciotto
Severino Pisacane Severino Pisacane ... Fra' Ginapro (as Fra' Severino Pisacane)
Roberto Sorrentino Roberto Sorrentino


The film dramatizes about a dozen vignettes from the life of St. Francis and his early followers - starting with their return in the rain to Rivotorlo from Rome when the Pope blessed their Rule and ending with their dispersal to preach. The unconnected chapters are like parables, some with a moral. The slight and comic Ginepro returns naked to St. Mary's of the Angels, having given away his tunic, but not his ricotta. The aged Giovanni shouts and holds onto his cape; the beatific St. Clair pays a visit. Humble Francis doubts his leadership, hugs a leper, and sends his brothers spinning, dizzy, and smiling into the world. This brotherhood is infused with whimsy as well as belief. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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A Movie for Today...And All Time


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Roberto Rossellini was one of a group of pioneering film makers of the neo-realist era. Rather than shooting on stage, they shot on locations and quite often used non professional actors. Most of the performers in the film, with exception of Aldo Fabrizi, are real Franciscian monks. See more »


San Francesco: Hail, daughter and handmaid of our Heavenly Father, mother of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ, and spouse of the Holy Spirit.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The US version released in 1952 removes the Italian chapter titles. It also adds a prologue cut from the initial Italian release. See more »


Featured in The Image Book (2018) See more »


Te deum laudamus
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User Reviews

Religious movie about St Francis proceed in simplicity and realism
11 December 2008 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

This is an enjoyable adaptation about Saint Francis (1182-1226) by Roberto Rosselini. Set in 13th century and depicting various episodes about his existence , these are the followings : 1) How Fray Junipero appears naked after give out his soutane to a poor 2 )How the old John abandons his family , follows and imitates St. Francis 3)Concerning the marvelous encounter between St Clare and St Francis 4)How Fray Junipero cut a pig's foot and gave it a sick person 5)How St Francis found a leper into the night 6) How Fray Junipero was condemned to death but his humility vanquished tyrant Nicolas (Aldo Fabrizi) 7) How St Francis and Father Lion experimented the perfect mirth 8) How St Francis came out from St. Mary of Angels to evangelize for around the world .

The motion picture is an agreeable portrayal on known Saint well played by Pino Locci and secondary intervention by Aldo Fabrizi as an armored villain in the best chapter . The roles of St. Francis and his disciples were played by monks from the Nocere Inferiore monastery . Rather than shooting on stage, they shot on locations and quite often used non professional actors. Most of the performers in the film, with exception of Aldo Fabrizi, are real Franciscian monks . "The Flowers of St. Francis" was edited for its 1952 US release, with Rossellini's chapter-like inter titles and a couple of scenes removed from the original Italian version . Evocative black and white cinematography by Otello Martelli and atmospheric musical score by Renzo Rosselini. Interesting screenplay by Rosselini , Brunello Rondi and participated the prestigious Federico Fellini . The picture is original and imaginatively directed by Roberto Rosselini who was one of a group of pioneering film makers of the neo-realist era . An excellent film-making for sympathy , simple way and brief touches of humor.

The film retrieves partially deeds about his life . The real events are the followings : Francis was son of a wealthy merchant , but he leaves his lush existence and he dedicates to help unfortunates , hapless and poor people . He suffers starvation , famine, and is taken prisoner during war among Italian cities , Perugia , Venice and Assis . Francis founds the Franciscan Order of monks , approved by Pope Innocence III (1210) and receiving his blessing . He's followed by St Clare as devote disciple , founding the Clarisan order of nuns (1212) . Francesco imposes a rigid rules of life and his thoughts were included in ¨Singing to brother sun or the Creatures¨ where he praises the poverty , joy and nature love and ¨The flowers of St. Francis¨ .

Other versions about the most famous Saint are : Hollywood version titled ¨Francis of Assisi¨ (60) by Michael Curtiz with Stuart Withman and Dolores Hart ; two rendition by Liliana Cavani , starred by Lou Castel and ¨Francesco¨ (1989) with Mickey Rourke and Helena Bonham Carter . And Franco Zeffireli version (1973) titled ¨Brother sun, Brither moon¨ with Alec Guinness, Judi Bowker and William Faulkner.

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Release Date:

6 October 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Flowers of St. Francis See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Cineriz, Rizzoli Film See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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