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The Missionary [DVD] (1982)

Michael Palin , Maggie Smith , Richard Loncraine    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
Price: 17.99
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The Missionary [DVD] (1982) + Private Function [DVD] [1984] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] + East of Ipswich [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Michael Palin, Maggie Smith, Trevor Howard, Denholm Elliott, Michael Hordern
  • Directors: Richard Loncraine
  • Format: PAL, Dolby, Surround Sound, Full Screen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: 29 July 2002
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000069JCU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 104,840 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Recalled to London after spending years in Africa, the Reverend Charles Fortesque (Michael Palin) is given a new and no less difficult mission. He will now be required to bring the Word of the Lord to the ladies of the night. Thus he goes forth amongst them, bringing help and assitance, offering food and finding them beds (usually his own), while warmly receiving the bounty of their gratitude.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I love this film for what it has to say about the suspect morals of the victorian upper classes. The cast is excellent but Maggie Smith shines.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Python under the Cassock 13 Feb 2008
Coming hot on the heels on Michael Palin's `Ripping Yarns' and with its turn of the twentieth century setting it was widely assumed that `The Missionary' would be an extended episode. However it was a much gentler and subtle comedy with however some of the Pythonesque `silliness' that populated the comedy of `Ripping Yarns' is still present with Palin's fiancé believing fallen women being those whom have hurt their Knees and Michael Hordern's forgetful butler whom gets lost amongst Lord Ames country estate.

Palin is the missionary of the title returning to England after ten years in Africa to help the prostitutes of London's East End. Palin is given the job by the Bishop of London admirably played by Denholm Elliot and is required to obtain funding from Lord and Lady Ames played by Trevor Howard and the great Maggie Smith. I must say the best line goes to the Bishop of London `I must be going, I've got an exorcism in Chiswick.'

As well as the stellar cast the film is helped by Palin's wonderful script and the subtle direction of Richard Loncraine. Although not as laugh out loud funny as the Monty Python films, `The Missionary' is a wonderful warm and funny film.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
"Most o' my boys just want company... a bit o' cheerin' up. I'm like a mother to 'em! Only they can't sleep with their mothers so they come 'ere."

The Missionary originally began life as a projected spinoff of Michael Palin and Terry Jones' rather spiffing TV series Ripping Yarns, though by the time it got made Jones was out of the picture and the spirit of Ealing comedy had taken over. While at heart it's a sex comedy, it's also unfailing rather sweet and open-hearted, like its main character, and where the inspiration for the missionary of the title, the infamously defrocked missionary Harold Davidson, ended up being mauled to death after an ill-advised career-change to lion taming, here Palin gives everyone a happy ending of sorts. Even at 85 minutes there's not much plot, with most of the first two-thirds very amusing setup as Palin's missionary is summoned back from Africa to start a mission for fallen women in the East End of London and, in the words of Denholm Elliott's sports-mad Bishop of London, "Find out why they do what they do and stop them doing it." Naturally, it's he who is converted by the girls and led into temptation by a very attractive Maggie Smith's wealthy patron...

Unfortunately the film more or less fizzles out as it struggles a little too hard to come up with an ending, in the process missing some of the more obvious comic opportunities the premise presents.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Fun 19 Sep 2010
By T. Reed
There were a lot of excellent films released in 1982 so I think this was overshadowed as it is merely very good. There's some nice subtle dark humour in here as well as the more obvious stuff. Trevor Howard obviously enjoying camping it up as Lord Ames and having great fun when writing letters to The Times ! Very British and very enjoyable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very funny indeed 24 Mar 2006
I gave it only 4 stars, because the background noise and music was simply too loud for me to really enjoy the dialogues of the actors.
Other than that, it's a funny comedy. Michael Palin acts wonderfully, and apart from the humour, the film also brings up social criticism, something which I very much like in movies.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WELL I NEVER!!!! 21 Jan 2003
So, you think Michael Palin is a nice, wholesome man with good morals and manners? You're very correct - but the character he plays in this film blows away the old theory that Michael is in fact the "nicest" Python. A saucy and very witty film that makes me roll on the floor laughing time after time - a must see for all Python and Michael Palin fans!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Missionary 10 Aug 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A wonderful film with terrific humour. Michael Palin and Maggie Smith just MARVELLOUS. Pity there were no subtitles so my husband could enjoy this film properly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 5 July 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Delighted with my purchase and the very fast delivery
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars good old dvd
Seen bits on tv, but never all of film. Very enjoyable, but sure there are sections missing in this versiom.
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic
I saw this originally on a laser disc from a shop in New York, and upon buying a zone-free DVD player, this was among my first purchases in this format.
Published 11 months ago by E. Bauman
1.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Cast - Poor Script
I purchased this because of the cast. I was suprisingly disappointed with the story and gave the DVD away to some neighbourhood kids.
Published 12 months ago by Dr. Nicholas S. Weber
3.0 out of 5 stars Showing its age perhaps
Sadly, even 3 stars is generous - would like to have given more but can't justify it. More an extended sketch than a feature film concept. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Sally G
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
Glad to find that my fond memory of this film wasn't mistaken (and that our children enjoyed it as much as we did)!
Published 18 months ago by Frank Bell
4.0 out of 5 stars decent film
It's a decent film although it looks like an expanded episode (although less zany) from Ripping Yarns. Read more
Published 18 months ago by jm
4.0 out of 5 stars a question
This isn't a review, it's actually a question. Can somebody tell me the aspect ratio of the transfer on this disc? Is it the correct aspect ratio? Thanks for your help.
Published 22 months ago by John Conte
2.0 out of 5 stars Ship Out!
The Reverend Fortescue comes home after converting the heathen in Darkest Africa for ten years, his luggage a few cases and an African phallic symbol. Read more
Published on 17 Mar 2008 by Ian Millard
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