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My Favorite And Least Favorite Movie Priests
NCR ^ | October 10, 2011 | Patrick Archbold

Posted on 10/10/2011 12:23:55 PM PDT by NYer

There have been many movies that have priests as important characters.  There are movies about saints and some of them are awesome.  But my post today is about priests as characters, as men involved in a story.  I was watching the excellent Tom Wilkinson as Father Moore in “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” the other day on cable.  It got me to thinking about some of my favorite priests as characters and also some of my least favorite.

So for discussion purposes, I thought I would get into the who’s and whys.  After all, what is a Catholic blog for if not discussing movie priests.  On with it.

Let’s just get this one out of the way. Max Von Awesome (aka Sydow) as Father Merrin in the Exorcist.  Max played Merrin perfectly.  He flawlessly embodied Merrin with reluctance, resolution, and resignation.  He knew he would likely die in this exorcism, but he went ahead with it.  He conveys an aged and long earned wisdom that is doubly remarkable considering he was only 44 at the time.  Max has the dubious honor of being tops on my list of the creepiest movie Jesuses, But for Merrin, Max was perfect.

This bring up a point.  I like to see men cast as priests portraying priests as men.  Not crazy macho or anything silly like that, just men.  A couple of examples.

Pat O’Brien in “Angels with Dirty Faces.” Karl Malden in “On the Waterfront” and Ward Bond in “The Quiet Man”  These were some of the manliest actors of their time.  The frequently portrayed characters that were tough but with hearts of gold and that’s what we got from their priest portrayals.  I wish we would see more of this in the movies.

(Excerpt) Read more at ncregister.com ...


TOPICS: Catholic; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: catholic; films; movies; priests

1 posted on 10/10/2011 12:23:56 PM PDT by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...

Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald in Going My Way.
2 posted on 10/10/2011 12:25:40 PM PDT by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: NYer

Trevor Howard as Father Collins in Ryan’s Daughter, one fan-tas-tic movie classic!


3 posted on 10/10/2011 12:28:04 PM PDT by Mean Maryjean
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Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: NYer
The Blob (1988) Reverend Meeker .
5 posted on 10/10/2011 12:33:20 PM PDT by VU4G10
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To: NYer
Fr. Merrin

No contest. Father Merrin all the way. "The power of Christ commands you!"scene ranks right up there with "Klaatu nicto barratu!" Words seared into memory. Never know when they might come in handy.
6 posted on 10/10/2011 12:33:46 PM PDT by PowderMonkey (WILL WORK FOR AMMO)
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To: NYer

Ping yours.


7 posted on 10/10/2011 12:33:55 PM PDT by ex-snook ("above all things, truth beareth away the victory")
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To: NYer
Dick Van Dike in "Cold Turkey". Terribly underrated movie and very funny, especially if you are a smoker.


8 posted on 10/10/2011 12:37:16 PM PDT by Lazlo in PA (Now living in a newly minted Red State.)
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To: NYer
Humphrey Bogart "The Lefthand of God"

9 posted on 10/10/2011 12:40:07 PM PDT by Kartographer (".. we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.")
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To: NYer
Worst priest in a movie? Gotta vote for Christopher Reeve as Father John Flaherty in Monsignor. Pathetic movie, pathetic acting.
10 posted on 10/10/2011 12:41:56 PM PDT by dirtboy
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To: NYer

Honorable mention to Christopher Lambert in "Too Kill a Priest" which was loosely based on Popieluszko.

11 posted on 10/10/2011 12:43:28 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: NYer

Pat O’Brien as Father Jerry Connolly in “Angels With Dirty Faces.”


12 posted on 10/10/2011 12:51:18 PM PDT by GreenHornet
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To: Lazlo in PA

He wasn’t a priest - he was a minister.

Montgomery Clift in “I Confess.” A very interesting Hitchcock film.


13 posted on 10/10/2011 12:52:08 PM PDT by miss marmelstein (Let's have a Cain Mutiny!)
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To: NYer
Fr. Hugh O'Flaherty played by Gregory Peck in The Scarlet and The Black. Spell-binding tale, excellent script and superb acting. His opponent was played by Christopher Plummer (be still my heart!).
14 posted on 10/10/2011 12:52:35 PM PDT by Jemian ( Choose life that you might live!)
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To: Mean Maryjean

Howard’s great in this - I love the way he smacks around Sarah Miles.


15 posted on 10/10/2011 12:54:00 PM PDT by miss marmelstein (Let's have a Cain Mutiny!)
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To: NYer

16 posted on 10/10/2011 12:58:59 PM PDT by Leroy S. Mort
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To: PowderMonkey

Klaatu nicto barratu!"

The original version of The Day the Earth Stood Still is one of my favorites! A sci-fi classic that reinterpretations cannot match.

17 posted on 10/10/2011 1:00:09 PM PDT by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: miss marmelstein

I could make endless comments about Sarah Miles but since this is a Religion thread I’ll be a gentleman.


18 posted on 10/10/2011 1:00:44 PM PDT by Artemis Webb
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To: miss marmelstein

I thought he was. Isn’t there a point in the film where the Archbishop comes to town an offers him a promotion if he gets the town to successfully complete the challenge? I will have to dig that flick out and watch it again. It’s been many years.


19 posted on 10/10/2011 1:00:58 PM PDT by Lazlo in PA (Now living in a newly minted Red State.)
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To: miss marmelstein

You are right. I just remembered he was married in the film.


20 posted on 10/10/2011 1:05:50 PM PDT by Lazlo in PA (Now living in a newly minted Red State.)
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To: Lazlo in PA

He may play an Anglican. I think he was married to Hope Lang is the movie. Anglicans are very close to Catholics (although I’ll probably be corrected on that one!)


21 posted on 10/10/2011 1:05:53 PM PDT by miss marmelstein (Let's have a Cain Mutiny!)
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To: NYer

On the “worst” list you can add Gene Hackman in “The Posiden Adventure”.


22 posted on 10/10/2011 1:06:29 PM PDT by circlecity
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To: Leroy S. Mort

23 posted on 10/10/2011 1:06:29 PM PDT by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: miss marmelstein

He was married to Pippa Scott.


24 posted on 10/10/2011 1:07:15 PM PDT by Lazlo in PA (Now living in a newly minted Red State.)
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To: Artemis Webb

Oh, I’ll say it. You guys just love her because she’s kinda easy, right? I never really got her allure but some men just go crazy for her. She’s outta control in that movie! It’s somewhat based on Madame Bovary, if I recall.

I had a crush on Christopher Jones in that movie. He turned into a hippy freak in reality but he’s lovely in the film.


25 posted on 10/10/2011 1:10:37 PM PDT by miss marmelstein (Let's have a Cain Mutiny!)
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To: Lazlo in PA

I think we BOTH better view this movie again!


26 posted on 10/10/2011 1:12:00 PM PDT by miss marmelstein (Let's have a Cain Mutiny!)
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To: NYer
My absolute favorite:

Karl Malden as Father Barry in "On the Waterfront"


27 posted on 10/10/2011 1:14:42 PM PDT by COBOL2Java (Obama is the least qualified guy in whatever room he walks into.)
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To: COBOL2Java
Father Barry's speech to the dockworkers (who just threw garbage on him):
Some people think the Crucifixion only took place on Calvary. They better wise up. Taking Joey Doyle’s life to stop him from testifying is a crucifixion. And droppin’ a sling on Kayo Dugan because he was ready to spill his guts tomorrow – that’s a crucifixion! And every time the mob puts the crusher on a good man, tries to stop him from doing his duty as a citizen – it’s a crucifixion. And anybody who sits around and lets it happen, keeps silent about something he knows has happened, shares the guilt of it just as much as the Roman soldier who pierced the flesh of Our Lord to see if He was dead. Boys, this is my church! And if you don’t think Christ is down here on the waterfront, you’ve got another guess coming! Every morning when the hiring boss blows his whistle, Jesus stands alongside you in the shape up. He sees why some of you get picked and some of you get passed over. He sees the family men worrying about gettin’ the rent and gettin’ food in the house for the wife and the kids. He sees you sellin’ your souls to the mob for a day’s pay and what does Christ think of the easy-money boys who do none of the work and take all of the gravy? And how does he feel about the fellows who wear a hundred-and-fifty dollar suits and diamond rings, on your union dues and your kickback money? And how does He, who spoke up without fear against every evil, feel about your silence?… You want to know what’s wrong with our waterfront? It’s the love of a lousy buck. It’s makin’ the love of the lousy buck, the cushy job, more important than the love of man! It’s forgettin’ that every fellow down here is your brother in Christ! But remember, Christ is always with you. Christ is in the shape up. He’s in the hatch. He’s in the union hall. He’s kneeling right here beside Dugan. And He’s sayin’ with all of you, if you do it to the least of mine, you do it to me! And what they did to Joey, and what they did to Dugan, they’re doin’ to you. And you. You. All of you! And only you, only you with God’s help, have the power to knock ‘em out for good.

28 posted on 10/10/2011 1:16:15 PM PDT by COBOL2Java (Obama is the least qualified guy in whatever room he walks into.)
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To: NYer

Charles Bickford in THE SONG OF BERNADETTE.

Lothaire Bluteau in BLACKROBE.


29 posted on 10/10/2011 1:17:09 PM PDT by Argus
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To: NYer
I also like Prior Phillip in "Pillars of the Earth"


30 posted on 10/10/2011 1:26:09 PM PDT by COBOL2Java (Obama is the least qualified guy in whatever room he walks into.)
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To: NYer
Although not a priest, Walter Pigeons role as Mr. Gruffyddin in,How Green Was My Valley, was stellar.

Barry Fitzgerald seeing his mother again, at the end of Going My Way

Ward Bond as the village priest narrating the story The Quiet Man.

31 posted on 10/10/2011 1:28:29 PM PDT by mware (By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West)
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To: NYer

worst priest ever: poltergeist 2


32 posted on 10/10/2011 1:34:36 PM PDT by Yaelle
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To: NYer

Tom Conti in “Saving Grace.”


33 posted on 10/10/2011 1:44:36 PM PDT by Malacoda (CO(NH2)2 on OBAMA.)
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To: All

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Qk3yiPWoYjE&feature=related


34 posted on 10/10/2011 1:47:01 PM PDT by mware (By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West)
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To: NYer

Of course, the greatest movie priest ever must be...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sbqv3MwwVd8


35 posted on 10/10/2011 2:08:52 PM PDT by jnaujok (Charter member of the vast, right-wing conspiracy.)
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To: COBOL2Java

Brilliant performance; brilliant actor. Budd Schulburg based him on a real priest, I believe.

He doesn’t play a priest in “Pollyanna” but he does play a minister. He’s brilliant in that film, too.


36 posted on 10/10/2011 2:13:00 PM PDT by miss marmelstein (Let's have a Cain Mutiny!)
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To: miss marmelstein

Bing Crosby “Going my Way” and “ The Bells of St. Marys”


37 posted on 10/10/2011 2:37:32 PM PDT by gunner03
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To: gunner03

I also like the suggestion of Spencer Tracy in “Boy’s Town.” Especially when he punches out Mickey Rooney’s lights.


38 posted on 10/10/2011 2:44:04 PM PDT by miss marmelstein (Let's have a Cain Mutiny!)
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To: NYer

Bing and Barry are two of my favorites. While I can’t recall the gentleman’s name, this has one of my faves, too:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDp5OovmNEA

Hill Number One, which also has the debut of one James Dean, and is on archive.org, since it’s public domain.


39 posted on 10/10/2011 3:16:48 PM PDT by sayuncledave (et Verbum caro factum est)
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40 posted on 10/10/2011 3:28:53 PM PDT by TheOldLady (FReepmail me to get ON or OFF the ZOT LIGHTNING ping list)
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Comment #41 Removed by Moderator

To: NYer

What about Joseph Fiennes as Luther?

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0309820/


42 posted on 10/10/2011 7:25:02 PM PDT by Ramius (personally, I give us... one chance in three. More tea?)
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To: Jemian
Gregory Peck also in The Keys of the Kingdom.
43 posted on 10/10/2011 9:33:38 PM PDT by TotusTuus
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To: Argus
Charles Bickford in THE SONG OF BERNADETTE.

Loved the scene where he tries to discern Bernadette's understanding of the term "Immaculate Conception" which necessitates his explanation of it to her. After asking her if she understands his explanation and receives a negative response from her, his reply is priceless. Something to the effect, "Why should you? The greatest theologians have racked their brains for centuries over it."

44 posted on 10/10/2011 10:00:55 PM PDT by TotusTuus
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To: Jemian

Great Tv Movie!! Real story.


45 posted on 10/11/2011 5:48:46 AM PDT by johngrace (1 John 4!- which is also declared at every sunday mass.)
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To: johngrace

Yes. One of the best parts happened after the movie. The priest did smuggle the family of the Colonel out and to safety. He did visit the Colonel in prison regularly after the war and before the Colonel died, the priest led that colonel to life in Christ. Happy, happy endings!


46 posted on 10/11/2011 5:57:58 AM PDT by Jemian ( Choose life that you might live!)
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To: Jemian

Yes! I remember I have it on dvd! I watch at least twice a year! Real heroes too! Not just cinematic only heroes. Thanks for sharing!


47 posted on 10/11/2011 8:10:57 AM PDT by johngrace (1 John 4!- which is also declared at every sunday mass.)
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To: NYer

Worst evil priest I can think of is in the movie FLESH AND BLOOD about 16th century merceneries.


48 posted on 10/11/2011 8:44:33 AM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Click my name. See my home page, if you dare! NEW PHOTOS & PAINTINGS)
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To: NYer
Some great movies listed here.

I watched one the other night that I thought was pretty good- Isaiah Washington in “Least of These”.

49 posted on 10/11/2011 10:52:18 AM PDT by shurwouldluv_a_smallergov
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