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Léon Morin, Priest (1961)

Léon Morin, prêtre (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 22 September 1961 (France)
Set during occupied France, a faithless woman finds herself falling in love with a young priest.

Writers:

Béatrix Beck (based on the novel by) (as Béatrice Beck), Jean-Pierre Melville (adaptation)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean-Paul Belmondo ... Léon Morin
Emmanuelle Riva ... Barny (as Emmanuele Riva)
Irène Tunc ... Christine Sangredin
Nicole Mirel Nicole Mirel ... Sabine Levy
Gisèle Grimm Gisèle Grimm ... Lucienne
Marco Behar Marco Behar ... Edelman (as Marco Béhar de la Comédie Française)
Monique Bertho Monique Bertho ... Marion
Marc Eyraud Marc Eyraud ... Anton (as Marc Heyraud)
Nina Grégoire Nina Grégoire ... (as Nina Gregoire)
Monique Hennessy Monique Hennessy ... Arlette
Edith Loria Edith Loria ... Danielle Holdenberg
Micheline Schererre Micheline Schererre
Renée Liques Renée Liques
Simone Vannier Simone Vannier ... Une secrétaire
Lucienne Marchand Lucienne Marchand ... Une secrétaire
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Storyline

In World War II, the widow Barny sees the Italian soldiers arriving in occupied Saint Bernard while walking to her job. Barny lives with her daughter and works correcting tests and feels a great attraction toward her boss Sabine. When the Germans arrive, Barny sends her half-Jewish daughter to live in a farm in the countryside and finds that Sabine's brother has been arrested and sent to a concentration camp. The atheist Barny decides to baptize her daughter to protect her and chooses priest Léon Morin to discuss with him themes related to religion and Catholicism and Léon lends books to her. Barny converts to the Catholicism and becomes closer to Léon, feeling an unrequited desire for him. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France | Italy

Language:

French | English | German

Release Date:

22 September 1961 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Forgiven Sinner See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,515, 19 April 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$44,511, 15 October 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2003 re-release) | | (4K Restored Version)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »

Connections

Version of La confession (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Church Chat With Substance
17 April 2012 | by PsychoDingoSee all my reviews

For someone seeking a movie that approaches faith, spirituality, and doubt in an intelligent, respectful manner, without pushing any particular agenda, Jean-Pierre Melville's Léon Morin, Priest may well be an excellent choice. It is a thinking film that does not tell anyone what to think, a wry film that does not take its subject lightly, and a contentious film that does not devolve into belligerence.

Perhaps you are weary of watching incendiary exposés in which smug non-believers do their best to make fools of people who are devout but not particularly articulate, quick witted, or well educated. It could be that you are interested in religious discussions that offer more than joking, mocking, and self-righteous phonies trying to out-Jesus one another in the name of social status.

Maybe you find no appeal in films that feature religion as little more than a means of identifying who to blow up, or perchance you have had enough of seeing reasonable questions about religious dogma summarily cast aside as blasphemy by a bunch of mindless sheep* that would not know their savior from a hole in the ground.

These are all cases that bode well for Léon Morin, Priest being a good movie to watch, because it is nothing like Religulous, Bruce Almighty, or Saved!

Instead, Léon Morin, Priest is a tale with a lot of smart dialogue between a young priest and an avowed atheist, several scenes depicting the occupation of France during World War II, some appropriate humor to keep things from getting too heavy, and a few romantic elements that won't even make grandma blush. Well…OK, she might blush once or twice, but that is about it, and really, it's good for her.

* As it turns out, Melville was fresh out of mindless sheep when he made this film. Speculation remains unconfirmed as to whether or not this is due to his alleged reliance upon the virtually unknown Monty Python Sheep Shoppe, which, despite claims to the contrary, appears not to stock any variety of sheep.


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