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Wise Blood (1979)

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A Southerner--young, poor, ambitious but uneducated--determines to become something in the world. He decides that the best way to do that is to become a preacher and start up his own church.

Director:

John Huston (as Jhon Huston)

Writers:

Flannery O'Connor (novel), Benedict Fitzgerald (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brad Dourif ... Hazel Motes
John Huston ... Grandfather (as Jhon Huston)
Dan Shor ... Enoch Emory
Harry Dean Stanton ... Asa Hawks
Amy Wright ... Sabbath Lily
Mary Nell Santacroce Mary Nell Santacroce ... Landlady
Ned Beatty ... Hoover Shoates
William Hickey ... Preacher
J.L. Parker J.L. Parker ... Karl
Marvin Sapp Marvin Sapp ... Raymond
Richard Earle Richard Earle ... Jakob Winslow
Herb Kossover ... Jacob Wood
Betty Lou Groover Betty Lou Groover ... Leora Watts
John Tyndall John Tyndall ... Loki Martinson
Gillaaron Houck Gillaaron Houck ... Stranger #1
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Storyline

US Army war veteran Hazel Motes may not be a believing Christian, somehow observations like the state of a run-down country church, meeting the ridiculous frauds on the streets and memories inspire him to take up, after initially fierce refusal, the part of a traveling preacher when a cab driver insists he looks like one in his new hat. He starts his own new Church of Truth, without the crucified Jesus, his first disciple being an 18-year old simpleton with a 'prophetic gift'... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

An American Masterpiece!

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 February 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

John Huston's Wise Blood See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Anthea Film,Ithaca See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Wise Blood" (1952) was the first novel of the movie's source novelist Flannery O'Connor. See more »

Goofs

When Sabbath is complaining to Hazel about the mummy being thrown out the window, her position relative to the wall changes from the rear shot to the front shot. See more »

Quotes

Hazel: I thought if your girl give me so much fast eye back there I just might return some of it.
Sabbath Lily: What I give you the other day was the look of indignation for what I seen you do. It was you that give me the fast eye.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Director John Huston is credited in all the titles as "Jhon Huston". Producer Michael Fitzgerald later explained that, wanting to have a child-like look to the credits, they had an actual child write the names. The child misspelled Huston's first name, but they liked it and kept it, as a metaphor for the artificial, off-kilter tone of the story. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Observations Under the Volcano (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Simple Gifts
(uncredited)
Shaker hymn written & composed by Joseph Brackett
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Son of a preacher man.
23 January 2003 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

John Huston used to describe the story as that of a young man who was disappointed by Jesus.

This is one of his least accessible works,not for the mainstream,and we can put it near "reflections in a golden eye" (1967),"under the volcano" (1984) and his final apotheosis "the dead" (1987)

"Wise blood" is a the story of a long suicide.It's a hell of a thing to tell the world "I believe in nothing" .the main character is so weird,so irrational,so unconventional that only an outstanding thespian could play him:that's what Brad Dourif does ,and his performance is remarkable:in the last third of the movie,he has almost nothing to say,and he must express everything with his face and his spellbinding eyes.In this last third,the only thing to do for the character is to nullify his life.

John Huston briefly appears as his father,the preacher man,but these flashbacks last hardly three minutes.

"Wise blood" is hustonian to the core.Vanity of vanities,all is vanity,all that man will try is bound to fail:it's everywhere in every milestone of Huston's career,from "the asphalt jungle" to "treasure of the sierra madre" and from " the misfits" to "the man who would be king" But here the hero does not even try :praying Jesus or denying him does not mean more to him than shaking the hand of a gorilla.And making money with his church without a savior does not even come to his mind.Around him,everybody needs something to lean on,be it a grotesque ape,a mummy or simply a man (see the landlady).

In 1979,Huston was more "modern" than the most daring young director.


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