7.8/10
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90 user 47 critic

Elmer Gantry (1960)

Approved | | Drama | July 1960 (USA)
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3:14 | Trailer
A fast-talking traveling salesman with a charming, loquacious manner convinces a sincere evangelist that he can be an effective preacher for her cause.

Director:

Richard Brooks

Writers:

Richard Brooks (screenplay), Sinclair Lewis (from the novel by)
Reviews
Won 3 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Burt Lancaster ... Elmer Gantry
Jean Simmons ... Sister Sharon Falconer
Arthur Kennedy ... Jim Lefferts
Dean Jagger ... William L. Morgan
Shirley Jones ... Lulu Bains
Patti Page ... Sister Rachel
Edward Andrews ... George F. Babbitt (as Ed Andrews)
John McIntire ... Rev. John Pengilly
Hugh Marlowe ... Rev. Philip Garrison
Joe Maross ... Pete
Philip Ober ... Rev. Planck
Barry Kelley ... Police Capt. Holt
Wendell Holmes Wendell Holmes ... Rev. Ulrich
Dayton Lummis Dayton Lummis ... Eddington
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Storyline

Elmer Gantry is a fast-talking, hard-drinking traveling salesman who always has a risqué story and a hip flask to entertain cronies and customers alike. He is immediately taken with Sister Sharon Falconer, a lay preacher whose hellfire-and-damnation revivalism has attracted quite a following. Gantry uses his own quick wit and Bible knowledge to become an indispensable part of Sister Sharon's roadshow, but his past soon catches up with him in the form of Lulu Bains, now a prostitute. While Gantry seeks and eventually gets forgiveness from Sharon, tragedy strikes when she finally manages to get out of her revivalist tent and opens a permanent church. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From the book that shook a nation with its sledgehammer theme... From a Nobel Prize-winning author... comes the raging story of the man who used the Holy Bible- and broke every rule in it! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

July 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Elmer Gantry - Gott ist im Geschäft See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Sound)

Color:

Color (Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an effort to appease the Hays Code, a number of changes were made to omit controversial aspects of the book. In the original novel, Gantry was an ordained minister, but since the Code was against negative portrayals of priests, this element was entirety omitted. See more »

Goofs

Set in 1927, when Elmer is on railway tracks after jumping from a moving train, a 1950s Ford can be seen in the distance. See more »

Quotes

George Babbitt: Besides, I'm for a free press, for free enterprise... and for whatever the hell the other freedoms are!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Scrolled before the opening credits: "We believe that certain aspects of Revivalism can bear examination- that the conduct of some revivalists makes a mockery of the traditional beliefs and practices of organized Christianity! We believe that everyone has a right to worship according to his conscience, but- Freedom of Religion is not license to abuse the faith of the people! However, due to the highly controversial nature of this film, we strongly urge you to prevent impressionable children from seeing it!" See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: Walking Big & Tall (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus
(1837) (uncredited)
Music by George J. Webb
Lyrics by George Duffield Jr. (1830)
Sung by the audience at a Zenith revival meeting
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Jesus was a simple virtuous teacher, . . . but I have my doubts "
20 September 2007 | by thinker1691See all my reviews

From the exceptionally talented pen of noted author Sinclair Lewis comes this entertaining story of a fast-talking, yarn-spinning vacuum salesman with the natural gift of persuasion. In his ever lustful sights is a voluptuous female preacher. In order to conquer her, he must use his extensive repertoire of biblical quips, quotes and bawdy antidotes. Within the sphere of a traveling troupe of bible beating, evangelicals on a religious crusade, the author's hero, one Elmer Gantry (supurbly played by Oscar wining Burt Lancaster) is as energetic as his tales. Although it's difficult to know if Gantry's spiritual motivation is genuine or merely a ploy, throughout the film, one is kept guessing. The target of his earthly desires is Beautiful Sister Sharon Falconer (Jean Simmons) a sincere, but fallible woman out to build a ministry. A serious obstacle to her goal is Gantry, but more so is the cautionary and caustic pen of Jim Lefferts (Arthur Kennedy), a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who questions the personal and financial motives of her entourage. Her main supporter is worldly William Morgan (Dean Jagger) who believes in Falconer, and sees Gantry and Lefferts for the opportunistic impediments they are. The film is a triumph for Lancaster and Kennedy and for all those who wish to visit a confusing period of Americanna, when the word of God was infected by preachers, pushers and spiritual leeches. ****


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