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The Missionary (1982)

R | | Comedy | 5 November 1982 (USA)
Trailer
1:36 | Trailer
In 1905, after ten years of missionary work in Africa, the Reverend Charles Fortescue (Michael Palin) is recalled to England, where his Bishop gives him his new assignment, to minister to ... See full summary »

Director:

Richard Loncraine

Writer:

Michael Palin
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Palin ... The Reverend Charles Fortescue
Maggie Smith ... Lady Isabel Ames
Trevor Howard ... Lord Henry Ames
Denholm Elliott ... The Bishop
Michael Hordern ... Slatterthwaite / Narrator
Graham Crowden ... The Reverend Fitzbanks
David Suchet ... Corbett
Phoebe Nicholls ... Deborah Fitzbanks
Tricia George ... Ada
Valerie Whittington Valerie Whittington ... Emmeline
Roland Culver ... Lord Fermleigh
Rosamund Greenwood Rosamund Greenwood ... Lady Fermleigh
Timothy Spall ... Parswell
Neil Innes ... Singer in Gin Palace
John Barrett ... Old Man outside Hotel
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Storyline

In 1905, after ten years of missionary work in Africa, the Reverend Charles Fortescue (Michael Palin) is recalled to England, where his Bishop gives him his new assignment, to minister to London's prostitutes. Charles hopes Deborah Fitzbanks (Phoebe Nicholls), his fiancée, will object and give him an excuse to say no to the Bishop. But she is so imperturbably innocent that she totally fails to understand what he is being asked to do, and urges him to do his best. Wealthy Lady Isabel Ames (Dame Maggie Smith) is expected to fund the work, but once she makes it clear to Charles that there will be no contribution unless he shares her bed. Written by James Barrett <jbarrett@sbastk.ess.sunysb.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He gave his body to save their souls. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Handmade Films Website

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 November 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Missionary See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,864,852, 7 November 1982

Gross USA:

$7,241,180

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,241,180
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

HandMade Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of two movies theatrically released in 1982 that were directed by Richard Loncraine. The other was Brimstone & Treacle (1982). See more »

Quotes

Lord Ames: You see, what I think is wrong with the country today is that there aren't enough people chained up.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Pay close attention to the photo album during the end credits, the photos reveal details about the characters after the events of the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Comedy Connections: Ripping Yarns (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Put On Your Ta-Ta Little Girlie
Written and Composed by Fred W. Leigh
Sung by Neil Innes
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An classic film, with an outstanding cast and clever comedy
11 January 2006 | by gillybakerSee all my reviews

You don't have to be a fan of Monty Python in general, or Michael Palin in particular, to enjoy "The Missionary". It's gently British humour conceals a razor sharp satirical edge, and there is something new to spot with every fresh viewing.

With Maggie Smith in the lead role, making the whole thing look as effortless as ever, it's easy to miss the outstanding performances from such icons as Michael Hordern and Tim Spall, the latter looking like a parody of himself as a servant of, shall we say, basic stock.

Phoebe Nichols delights and charms as the appalling Deborah and Denholm Elliott oozes charm as an outrageously un-Christian bishop. The characters are classics of comedy yet they still surprise. A satisfying dollop of bad taste completes the mixture. Unmissable.


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