21 user 12 critic

Monsignor (1982)

2:08 | Clip
An ambitious priest seduces a nun and leads the Vatican into shady business during and after World War II.


Frank Perry


Jack-Alain Léger (novel) (as Jack Alain Leger), Abraham Polonsky (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Reeve ... Flaherty
Geneviève Bujold ... Clara
Fernando Rey ... Santoni
Jason Miller ... Appolini
Joe Cortese ... Varese
Adolfo Celi ... Vinci
Leonardo Cimino ... Pope
Tomas Milian ... Francisco
Robert Prosky ... Bishop Walkman (as Robert J. Prosky)
Joe Pantoliano ... Musso
Milena Vukotic ... Sister Verna
Ian Danby Ian Danby ... Lieutenant
Gregory Snegoff ... 1st Soldier
Harrison Muller Harrison Muller ... 2nd Soldier
David Mills David Mills ... Major


John Flaherty is a young and ambitious American priest who arrives in the Papal sovereign city state of the Vatican in 1944 to take his holy orders as a Catholic priest. After distinguishing himself in combat in the World War II battlefields of northern Italy, he's assigned as the Vatican treasurer. With the Vatican strapped for money during the war, Flaherty soon makes illegal business deals with a corrupt U.S. Army sergeant named Varese, who deals goods on the local black market, which is connected to a ruthless Sicilian mobster named Don Appolini. Appolini agrees to fund Flaherty's operation for profit through his Swiss bank connections. Flaherty's mentor, Cardinal Santoni, the secretary to the elderly but powerful Pope, learns of Flaherty's business deals, but covers for Flaherty in order for them to rise in the ranks of the church against Santoni's rival, Cardinal Vinci. But Flaherty's double life as a black marketeer and priest takes a turn when he falls in love with a young ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Christopher Reeve is Monsignor. See more »


Crime | Drama | War


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


When Christopher Reeve was offered this movie, Reeve was keen to play against his 'Superman' super-hero screen persona, which he had also done in Deathtrap (1982) and Somewhere in Time (1980). Reeve once commented after being cast in this film: "I thought the chance to play a morally ambiguous character who was neither clearly good nor clearly bad, someone to whom life is much more complex than the characters I've played previously would be good." See more »


At the end of his Requiem Mass in the field, Father Flaherty says "Requiescat in pace." The Mass, however, was clearly celebrated (as would be expected in a war zone) for more than one person (as indicated by plural pronouns in a previous prayer). In that case, the correct verb form would be "Requiescant" and not "Requiescat." See more »


Clara: What were you waiting for?
Flaherty: A miracle.
Clara: Do you think God was planning on wasting a miracle on US?
See more »


Featured in Hollywood vs. Religion (1994) See more »


(I've Got a Gal in) Kalamazoo
Music by Harry Warren
Played at the wedding reception
See more »

User Reviews

A silly, sordid movie that's a real hoot.
14 April 2012 | by Hey_SwedenSee all my reviews

The review in the annual paperback guide to movies by critic Leonard Maltin and his cronies classify this as a "camp classic", and after reading the synopsis, I certainly wasn't prepared to take this hilarious, trashy melodrama seriously at all. It has a young, ambitious priest, John Flaherty (Christopher Reeve) hired as business manager for the Vatican, and it doesn't take too long for the guy to start doing some dubious things, such as entering into a shady deal with the Italian mob. The best bit of business has this guy carrying on a romance with a nun- in-training named Clara (Genevieve Bujold). That's got to be trash at its finest, especially when Ms. Bujold strips for the camera as Flaherty and Clara prepare to go at it. Now, this movie admittedly is somewhat slowly paced and goes on for quite a bit, but this story (scripted by Abraham Polonsky and Wendell Mayes, based on a novel by Jack-Alain Leger) is still entertaining in its ridiculousness. Superb production design (by John DeCuir Jr.), cinematography (by Billy Williams), and location shooting help in the enjoyment - this is nothing if not a good looking film. And speaking of good looking, the lovely Bujold is definitely an easy performer to watch. The performances are all admirably sincere, with the ever likable Reeve well supported by a fine, fine group of actors: Fernando Rey, who has a warm presence, as Cardinal Santoni, Jason Miller as mob boss Don Vito Appolini, Joe Cortese as Flaherty's buddy Lodo Varese, Adolfo Celi as Cardinal Vinci, Tomas Milian as Father Francisco, Leonardo Cimino as none other than The Pope, Robert Prosky as Bishop Walkman, and Joe Pantoliano as wounded soldier Private Musso, with Joe Spinell in a great, brief cameo as the father of the bride in the wedding sequences. Give this cast credit, as they really sell this thing. It may be pretty long, but it's such an amusing story as to keep one watching (at least, this viewer kept watching). Recommended to fans of silly cinema. Seven out of 10.

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Release Date:

22 October 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Monseñor See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,631,834, 24 October 1982

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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