Positive depictions of Priests in movies

In a fit of insomnia, I was up flipping channels around 1 am this morning. I ended up watching the movie “Angels with Dirty Faces” with James Cagney. Awesome movie all around. The fact that the movie is something like 70 years old notwithstanding, the postiive depiction of Father Connelly was refreshing. And Cagney was awesome too.

Can anybody else suggest some movies regardless of age, but some modern ones would be good, that depict Priests in a positive light? I can’t think of any recent movies that come close. I remember seeing the Bells of St. Marys with Bing Crosby years ago. And the story of Boys Town but I think they watered down the fact the founder of boys town was a catholic priest. I would like to keep some movies with positive images of priests for my boys to see.

Last question for those who saw Angels, who thinks Rocky Sullivan faked his death house fear for Fr. Connelly and who thinks he really turned yellow? I think he did it for Connelly.


Willem Defoe played a priest in Edges of the Lord. I think it was a positive depiction, but it has been a while since I saw the movie.

I thought the young priest in Gran Torino was depicted in a positive light.

There must be more, but thats all I can think of right now.

OOOH Jeremy Irons character in The Mission.

edit: Saint Ralph was a cute movie and the priest who trained him for the marathon was a good guy.

Thanks for the repsonses Chiltepin. Iwill look into those.



The Mission (1986)

The Miracle of Marcelino (1955)

I Confess (1956)

Keys of the Kingdom (1944)

**Romero **(1989)

Keeping the Faith (2000)
It sort of has a positive portrayal of a priest.

I definately think Rocky faked his fear as a favor to his old pal Fr. Connelly. “Angels with Dirty Faces” is one of my favorite Cagney movies.

“Keeping the Faith” I like and think has a pretty good depiction of a priest.

And the French film “Au Revoir Les Enfants” is a good flick.

I don’t think Keeping the Faith was that good of a depiction. His character was not a mosnster or anything. I have not seen it in a while, but I don’t remember liking the depiction of Catholicism overall. I sort of remember him thinknig church was stuffy and he needed to shake things up. It was like his main goal was to entertain and fill the pews.

I seem to remember Karl Malden in “On the Waterfront” being pretty positive.

He was a bit streetwise, so not clean cut completely but a very strong character

Plus, a good watch nonetheless – good Brando years

I heard that the Mission was NOT favorable to the CAtholic Church. I haven’t seen it so don’t know

The Devil Never Sleeps with Clifton Webb and William Holden is a story of missionary priests in China and how they were persecuted during the Communist revolution, fairly historically accurate, and side story on young priest resisting temptation from a young lady who had a crush on him.

Keys of the Kingdom with Gregory Peck is a classic of another missionary priest

The Mission is neither favorable nor unfavorable to the Catholic Church per se. It does a fairly good job of presenting the truth about a particular moment in history when two supposedly Catholic nations, Spain and Portugal, divided up the new world, and the conflicts between the priests and missionaries vs. the conquering soldiers and governors. It shows the various ways the religious impulse was expressed in Europeans who were moved to help and support the natives against exploitation and slavery. a must see in my book

Guilty of Treason

1950 Eagle-Lion Film – Dir: Felix E. Feist

starring Charles Bickford, Bonita Granville, Paul Kelly, Roland Winters

Agonizing torture at the hands of the secret police threatens any citizen who resists in a Hungary subjugated by the ruthless dictator Joseph Stalin. Cardinal Josef Mindszenty (Charles Bickford), taking a courageous open stand against the Communists, is labeled a traitor by the brutal regime bent on crushing all opposition. Intrigued by whispers of what may be going on inside the Soviet-occupied nation, American foreign correspondent Tom Kelly shows up in Budapest to investigate. Shortly after arriving, he is introduced to beautiful Stephanie Varna (Bonita Granville), a Hungarian schoolteacher who is secretly involved with a Russian colonel. She manages to lead Tom to the Cardinal only days before he is thrown into prison, while a wave of false arrests and mysterious disappearances envelops the brave souls who dared to follow the Cardinal’s anti-Communist lead. Inspired by the true story of Cardinal Mindszenty’s persecution and trial in Hungary, the documentary-propaganda style of Guilty of Treason examines the Hungarian Communist regime which rose to power after Nazi rule.newportvintagebooks.com/store/video/drama/movies_drama_fj.htm

  1. Father Moore from The Exorcism of Emily Rose.
  2. Father Charlie ( forget last name ) small but pivotal role in Gandhi.
    All I can think of right now.

“The Scarlet and the Black” is a great movie.

Gregory Peck plays Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty who saved many Jews and others during WWII while at the Vatican (although it does give an unfair, negative slant to the Pope).

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!


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