8.3/10
2,281
13 user 9 critic

The Given Word (1962)

O Pagador de Promessas (original title)
A simple yet devout Christian makes a vow to Saint Barbara after she saves his donkey, but everyone he meets seems determined to misunderstand his intentions. Will he be able to keep his promise in the end?

Director:

Anselmo Duarte

Writers:

Anselmo Duarte (screenplay), Dias Gomes (based on a play by) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Leonardo Villar Leonardo Villar ... Zé do Burro / Donkey Jack (as Leonardo Vilar)
Glória Menezes ... Rosa
Dionísio Azevedo ... Olavo, the Priest
Geraldo Del Rey ... Bonitão / Handsome
Roberto Ferreira Roberto Ferreira ... Dede
Norma Bengell ... Marly, the Prostitute
Othon Bastos Othon Bastos ... Reporter
Antonio Pitanga Antonio Pitanga ... Coca, the Capoeira Fighter (as Antonio L. Sampaio)
Gilberto Marques Gilberto Marques ... The Galicean
Milton Gaucho Milton Gaucho ... Police Officer
Enoch Torres Enoch Torres ... Police Inspector
Carlos Torres Carlos Torres ... Coca's Friend
João Di Sordi João Di Sordi ... Police Detective (as João Desordi)
Veveldo Diniz Veveldo Diniz ... Sexton (as Velvedo Diniz)
Maria Conceição Maria Conceição ... Auntie
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Storyline

Zé-do-Burro has only one worldly possession, his donkey, that he named Nicolas and considers to have a sole like himself, a law abiding Christian just a trifle naive. During a tempest, Nicolas is seriously wounded, and Zé-do-Burro, out of despair, makes a promise: to carry a cross as large as Christ's, to the altar of Saint Barbara - the nearest being in the city of Bahia. He vows to do so in a Candomblé session, dedicated to the goddess Yansan - that in the popular belief corresponds to that Christian saint. Nicolas fully recovers from his illness, and Zé-do-Burro produces a large cross with his own hands and tools, and then carries it on foot to Bahia, accompanied by his wife, Rosa. He has to stay by the church's closed door, and the only person who comes to meet them is Bonitão, the local pimp, who offers to take Rosa to a pension while Zé-do-Burro keeps his promise of staying by the cross. Next morning, the priest is surprised but satisfied with the faith shown by Zé-do-Burro - ... Written by Artemis-9

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

cross | church | priest | reporter | brazil | See All (15) »

Taglines:

The story of a vow that a woman broke and a man kept.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Brazil

Language:

Portuguese

Release Date:

1 June 1962 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Payer of Promises See more »

Filming Locations:

Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Company Credits

Production Co:

Cinedistri See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Connections

Remade as The Promise (1988) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Poor technique, great script!
22 May 2003 | by Artemis-9See all my reviews

Others already mentioned that the film's production values are low - and that's true. But the story of Nicolau (not credited - but it's the donkey's name) and Jack, his owner has more to it than you may think. At first, it's like a comedy about a credulous man who likes his donkey to the point of promising an incredible masochist thing to his God, if the donkey survives an illness. Than, as Jack fulfills his promise, and he gets to look so much like the historical figure of Jesus Christ, trouble erupts. Conservative priests and social-minded, exploitative newspapermen fight over a donkey and a cross, and the problem turns out as a satirical approach to the 1960s socialist class-struggle in Latin America. The story is set in Brazil, but it could be elsewhere at the epoch, though you have plenty of folk music and some dancing that are absolutely a Brazilean trademark. Not to be missed, even if the copy is slightly chopped off by the 1962 military censorship in Brazil.


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