23 user 52 critic

Léon Morin, Priest (1961)

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


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




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


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


Drama | Romance | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


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


Léon Morin: It's not easy to admit one's faults to one's neighbor.
Barny: It's not a problem since I don't believe in God.
See more »


Featured in Melville: The Demon within Him (2019) See more »

User Reviews

Barny, the war, and a certain priest
17 March 2010 | by bob998See all my reviews

My thoughts about this film don't seem to follow any precise structural pattern. I will just note the things that struck me and leave it at that. This movie affected me as no other story set in an occupied country ever has. It has a dreamlike pace and texture.

Barny sees young Italian soldiers appearing in her town, their hats have plumes--are they with a circus?... She forms a passionate friendship with Sabine, her boss: there will be a scene in which Sabine's breasts are pressed against Barny's neck and shoulders... later we find that Sabine's brother has been deported to a concentration camp... Barny and two other women have their children (who are half-Jewish) baptised. They figure that the church will legitimize their kids in the eyes of the enemy... Barny and Léon start to debate the meaning of faith. Léon makes it clear to her that he is not available, but her yearnings know no bounds. Reading Papini as a substitute for sex... Barny is involved with the Resistance, will hide Jews if required to, but her emotional life must take precedence over these activities.

There is much more, but I will just say that Riva and Belmondo are superb. After seeing her in Hiroshima, mon amour--in which she played well, but not memorably so--I was startled with her accomplished acting here. Belmondo is tough and moving; Léon is no Don Camillo.

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France | Italy


French | English | German

Release Date:

22 September 1961 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Forgiven Sinner See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,515, 19 April 2009

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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