Skip to comments.My Favorite And Least Favorite Movie Priests
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 ...
Trevor Howard as Father Collins in Ryan’s Daughter, one fan-tas-tic movie classic!
Honorable mention to Christopher Lambert in "Too Kill a Priest" which was loosely based on Popieluszko.
Pat O’Brien as Father Jerry Connolly in “Angels With Dirty Faces.”
He wasn’t a priest - he was a minister.
Montgomery Clift in “I Confess.” A very interesting Hitchcock film.
Howard’s great in this - I love the way he smacks around Sarah Miles.
The original version of The Day the Earth Stood Still is one of my favorites! A sci-fi classic that reinterpretations cannot match.
I could make endless comments about Sarah Miles but since this is a Religion thread I’ll be a gentleman.
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.
You are right. I just remembered he was married in the film.
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!)
On the “worst” list you can add Gene Hackman in “The Posiden Adventure”.
He was married to Pippa Scott.
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.
I think we BOTH better view this movie again!
Karl Malden as Father Barry in "On the Waterfront"
Some people think the Crucifixion only took place on Calvary. They better wise up. Taking Joey Doyles 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 thats 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 its 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 dont think Christ is down here on the waterfront, youve 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 days 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 whats wrong with our waterfront? Its the love of a lousy buck. Its makin the love of the lousy buck, the cushy job, more important than the love of man! Its forgettin that every fellow down here is your brother in Christ! But remember, Christ is always with you. Christ is in the shape up. Hes in the hatch. Hes in the union hall. Hes kneeling right here beside Dugan. And Hes 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, theyre doin to you. And you. You. All of you! And only you, only you with Gods help, have the power to knock em out for good.
Charles Bickford in THE SONG OF BERNADETTE.
Lothaire Bluteau in BLACKROBE.
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.
worst priest ever: poltergeist 2
Tom Conti in “Saving Grace.”
Of course, the greatest movie priest ever must be...
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.
Bing Crosby “Going my Way” and “ The Bells of St. Marys”
I also like the suggestion of Spencer Tracy in “Boy’s Town.” Especially when he punches out Mickey Rooney’s lights.
Bing and Barry are two of my favorites. While I can’t recall the gentleman’s name, this has one of my faves, too:
Hill Number One, which also has the debut of one James Dean, and is on archive.org, since it’s public domain.
What about Joseph Fiennes as Luther?
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."
Great Tv Movie!! Real story.
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!
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!
Worst evil priest I can think of is in the movie FLESH AND BLOOD about 16th century merceneries.
I watched one the other night that I thought was pretty good- Isaiah Washington in “Least of These”.