Léon Morin, Priest

Léon Morin, Priest (French: Léon Morin, prêtre)[2] is a 1961 film directed and scripted by Jean-Pierre Melville, and starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Emmanuelle Riva. Belmondo was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor. It is based on the 1952 Prix Goncourt-winning novel The Passionate Heart (French: Léon Morin, prêtre) by Béatrix Beck.

Léon Morin, Priest
Film poster
Directed byJean-Pierre Melville
Produced byGeorges de Beauregard
Carlo Ponti
Screenplay byJean-Pierre Melville
Based onLéon Morin, prêtre
by Béatrix Beck
StarringJean-Paul Belmondo
Emmanuelle Riva
Irène Tunc
Music byMartial Solal
CinematographyHenri Decaë
Edited byJacqueline Meppiel
Nadine Trintignant
Marie-Josèphe Yoyotte
Distributed byLux Compagnie Cinématographique de France
Release date
  • 22 September 1961 (1961-09-22)
Running time
117 minutes
Box office1,703,758 admissions (France)[1]


In a town in the French Alps during the Occupation, Barny (Riva)[3] is a young, wayward, sexually frustrated widow, living with her little girl. She is also a communist militant who long ago decided that the easiest way was the best. One day she enters a church, randomly chooses a priest (Belmondo)[2] to confess to and, while in confessional, attempts to provoke him by criticizing Catholicism. Instead of being affronted, the priest engages her in an intellectual discussion regarding religion. The priest is Leon Morin, young, handsome, smart and altruistic. He invites Barny to continue the conversation outside of confessional. She begins regularly seeing him and is impressed by his moral strength, while he makes it his mission to steer her onto the right path.


Critical receptionEdit

Roger Ebert added the film to his Great Movies list in 2009.[4]

Home videoEdit

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray by The Criterion Collection in July 2011.[5]


  1. ^ Box office information for film at Box Office Story
  2. ^ a b Léon Morin, Priest on IMDb
  3. ^ Indiana, Gary. "Léon Morin, Priest: Life During Wartime". Criterion Collection. Retrieved 2014-08-28.
  4. ^ "Leon Morin, Priest Movie Review". Roger Ebert. October 21, 2009.
  5. ^ "Léon Morin, Priest". The Criterion Collection.

External linksEdit