Holy Matrimony (1994 film)

Holy Matrimony is a 1994 American comedy film directed by Leonard Nimoy and starring Patricia Arquette and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in his feature film debut. The film tells the story of a beautiful thief, hiding in a small, isolated Hutterite community, who marries a young boy in order to retrieve a hidden fortune. It was the final feature film directed by Nimoy.

Holy Matrimony
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLeonard Nimoy
Produced byWilliam Stuart
David Madden
Diane Nabatoff
Written byDavid Weisberg
Douglas Cook
StarringPatricia Arquette
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Tate Donovan
Armin Mueller-Stahl
Music byBruce Broughton
CinematographyBobby Bukowski
Edited byPeter E. Berger
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • April 8, 1994 (1994-04-08)
Running time
93 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$16 million
Box office$713,234


A young couple, Havana and Peter (Patricia Arquette and Tate Donovan), rob a county fair of its daily receipts and escape to Canada to hide out in the Hutterite community where Peter was raised. While there, they marry to satisfy the conservative elders in the community. Peter hides their loot in a secret hiding place, but then is killed in a car wreck. His much younger brother Zeke (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is called upon to replace his brother and marry Havana in a levirate marriage. Zeke already hates Havana because he believes that she influences his elder brother's behavior. She begins looking through everything that was Peter's, and Zeke rightly deduces that Peter hid something from her. He finds the money, along with a newspaper article that mentions Peter as the prime suspect in the robbery. Zeke initially uses the cash to trick his bride into doing housework. Later he shows it to the elders, who deem that it should be returned to its rightful owners. Zeke and Havana (who claims innocence of the source of the money) are sent on a quest back to the US to return the money. During this quest, the two eventually forget their initial animosity and grow protective of each other. When Havana kisses him goodbye, Zeke promises to return and give her a real kiss when he is older.


Holy Matrimony received negative reviews from critics and was a box office failure, grossing just a little over $715,000 in its limited release.

The authors Rod Janzen and Max Stanton stated in their book The Hutterites in North America: "The film [...] provides a very inaccurate portrait of Hutterites".[1] For example, levirate marriage does not exist among Hutterites. People have to dress in a moderate way, when they are at a Hutterite colony. It's only possible for baptized members of the Hutterite community to marry at a colony.

Year-end listsEdit



  1. ^ Rod Janzen, Max Stanton: "The Hutterites in North America" Baltimore 2010, page 276
  2. ^ P. Means, Sean (January 1, 1995). "'Pulp and Circumstance' After the Rise of Quentin Tarantino, Hollywood Would Never Be the Same". The Salt Lake Tribune (Final ed.). p. E1.
  3. ^ Simon, Jeff (January 1, 1995). "Movies: Once More, with Feeling". The Buffalo News. Retrieved July 19, 2020.

External linksEdit