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on 10 January 2011
This movie was filmed mainly on location in Assisi with Bradford Dillman in the staring role of Francis of Assisi and Dolores Hart, who would leave a promising film career to become a consecrated member of the Benedictine Order, who played Sister Claire(Clara & Clare are other spellings). Though with none of the modern cinematography of later films this one stands out for its encompassing of the entire life of Saint Francis of Assisi with no added commentary or interpretation on what Saint Francis may have been thinking.

Mr. Dillman plays Francis as the pious humble man we have come to learn the Saint was and the now Mother Dolores delivered a marvelous interpretation of the ever loving gentle Saint Claire dedicated to God. Despite the Hollywood influence on this movie it still happens to be truly inspirational.

The film also shows in the background in unspectacular low budget Hollywood fashion the ugliness of war and though not all historically accurate it is the closes biography on film I have seen. The film depicts the Saracens that Francis meets as noble and fair-minded but the crusaders as debauched drunkards. While in fact the Saracens, where cruel men who made sure that no Christian would be able to travel in safety or could escape being killed. But they took Francis and his men prisoners, they were beaten and bound and then led before the Sultan. The movie just shows Francis being taken as prisoner and presented to the Sultan.

The movie does show the good reception that was given Francis once his faith and devotion was shown, but it fails to show how later the Sultan Malik-al-Kamil generously granted permission to him and to his companions to go anywhere and freely preach wherever they wished in all his empire. And on his death bed the Sultan converted to the Catholic Faith.

Within the aforementioned backdrop of the crusades and warfare we are shown the the difference between human and divine love shown by Francis and his friend the crusading knight played by Stuart Whitman. And with all the temptations from the outside world and the betrayal of some from within the order Francis founded he stays true to the calling of God that he answered for the rest of life. This is a wonderful introduction to life of Saint Francis despite the script and direction.
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on 9 March 2012
Old movies like old books have a certain charm about them, but can be hard to get into sometimes. The acting, the story line, the scenes etc all look strange to most of us, yet they also present an old world charm, that is attractive as it is odd.

I thought this movie was great. Perhaps though I am a little partial to the saint. I loved the part played by Francis' former friend who becomes his foe, only to be reconciled before Francis' death. If you like old movies or if you are a fan of the saint then I can recommend this movie. My wife wasn't too keen on it though, so I suppose it isn't for everyone. It is in black and white and it does have that certain 50's drama like it was done for the stage only filmed. This was an era where movies were still transitioning and evolving from live theatre, so you must give the film some leeway for that.

But I loved it and can recommend it to all. Francis is someone for us all to imitate. As St. Paul said "Imitate me as I imitate Christ." This is the purpose of the saints: to give us an example of Christ-likeness that we may follow in His footsteps, just as they did.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 November 2007
1961's Francis of Assisi is more a coloring book than a movie, a horribly miscast, painfully bland and often extremely badly written trudge through the saint's life that goes out of its way not to offend anyone but simply bores instead. The locations may be Italian but the aesthetic is pure Hollywood, and Hollywood at its least convincing: Francis' and his followers' march to Rome is filmed like something out of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as they hum along to Mario Nascimbene's score and Bradford Dillman charms the birds out of the trees. You almost expect to hear them sing Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, It's Off to Rome We Go or "Zip-adee doo dah, Zipo-adee ay/It's fun to worship in the Franciscan way." Dillman gives a superficial but inoffensive performance as Francis (inoffensive being the watchword here), often looking like Charlton Heston's undernourished younger brother, Stuart Whitman struggles and loses in almost every scene as Francis' brash aristocratic war-loving friend while Dolores Hart is no more convincing as Clare, which is particularly strange considering that in real life the actress went on to become a nun herself. Cecil Kelloway and Finlay Currie bring some old school professionalism to their small roles, but not enough to give the film much in the way of color, while Pedro Armendariz's casting as the Sultan inadvertently only highlights how weak the material he has to work with really is. Francis' failed mission to the Holy Land and the breakup of his order are covered in passing, but even they fail to bring any drama to the proceedings, while director Michael Curtiz brings nothing to the party, his old panache presumably having run off with Errol Flynn. It's a rare epic that leaves me with little to say in its favor, but this is certainly one.

The only extra is the theatrical trailer.
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on 8 November 2010
Yes, the previous critics have made accurate summations of the deficiencies of this biography.
This is indeed a low budget, indifferently-acted and at-first-sight superficial portrait about the founder of the Catholic Church's most enigmatic monastic movement.
And leading player Bradford Dillman does indeed look startlingly like Charlton Heston's undernourished younger brother. I wonder what happened to him?
"St Francis of Assisi" also has a remarkable undercurrent that even now can have relevance to today's body of organised religion as well of that of the twelfth century.
It seems to pose the question: "Can Jesus's teachings on poverty and peace be put into practice or even be allowed to be so put, as a foundation on which people can lead better lives?"
This is well illustrated by the scene in which St Francis petitions Pope Innocent the Third for sanction of his small, ragged band of 12 monks, eschewing possessions and wealth, living literally by the words of Matthew 10: 7 - 10.
"The life you want to lead is too ambitiously severe," the pope tells him.
"Your strict adherence to absolute poverty is unrealistic," a cardinal adds. "To maintain an order requires property."
Francis replies: "If we have property we will need arms to defend it."
This Innocent, who in history decreed the Fourth Crusade of 1198 only to be angered by the attack on Christian Byzantines by crusaders, is depicted in the film authorising Francis's brave journey to the Holy Land, to act as his emissary, to plead for peace with Muslim leaders.
The film depicts the saracens that Francis meets as noble and fair-minded but the crusaders as debauched drunkards.
Upon his return Francis, to his dismay, finds his order much changed, eating well and working their own land, the monks' tattered grey habits swapped for brown.
Francis retires to live as a hermit in a cave where he dies.
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on 18 August 2014
While this film is not right up there with my favourites, I was quite happy with this interpretation of the life of St Francis of Assisi. In view of the fact that this movie was made more than fifty years ago, the clarity of the picture and of the sound was excellent. I was also impressed with the quality of the acting, particularly in the case of Stuart Whitman and Dolores Hart.
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on 30 April 2015
This DVD i brought on my mummy behalf. She was highly impressed with everything from the quality, to the casing and to the movie itself. I have a delighted mother and customer, to which she personal gave her own rating to this review.
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on 21 February 2017
A very moving story of one man's committment to his beliefs.
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on 9 September 2017
As expected.
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on 5 June 2017
Not a very good film.
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on 11 February 2013
This film will give you the story of st Francis of Assisi but I found it to be very Hollywood in the style that the film was made overall it was ok easy to watch also will give you an look at the early church the main thing for me is I did learn stuff that I did not no before watching the film so that's a positive ,,,,,,,,,,
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