Saint Joan (1957) - Rotten Tomatoes

Saint Joan (1957)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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After an extensive talent search, producer-director Otto Preminger selected a 17-year-old unknown from Iowa, Jean Seberg, to play Joan of Arc, a role traditionally portrayed by actresses twice to three times Seberg's age. Seberg is cast opposite such venerable pros as Richard Todd (as Dunois), Anton Walbrook (the Bishop of Beauvais), John Gielgud (Earl of Warwick) and Felix Aylmer (The Inquisitor). Cast as the vacillating Dauphin is Richard Widmark. Graham Greene's screenplay refashions the original Shaw text in the form of a flashback. Seberg eventually became an accomplished actress by virtue of her appearances in such nouvelle vague films as Breathless, but it was too late to salvage Saint Joan, which was figuratively burned at the stake by critics and filmgoers alike. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Graham Greene (I), Graham Greene (II)
In Theaters:
Warner Bros.


Jean Seberg
as Joan of Arc
Richard Widmark
as Charles the Dauphin
John Gielgud
as Earl of Warwick
Richard Todd
as Dunois, Bastard of O...
Felix Aylmer
as The Inquisitor
Harry Andrews
as John de Stognumber
Barry Jones
as De Courcelles
Finlay Currie
as The Archbishop of Rh...
Bernard Miles
as The Master Execution...
Patrick Barr
as Capt. Le Hire
Kenneth Haigh
as Brother Martin Ladve...
Archie Duncan
as Robert de Baudricour...
Margot Grahame
as Duchesse de la Tremo...
Francis De Wolff
as La Tremouille
Victor Maddern
as English Soldier
David Oxley
as Gilles de Rais/'Blue...
Sydney Bromley
as Baudricourt's Stewar...
David Langton
as Captain of Warwick's...
David Hemmings
as Minor Role (uncredit...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Saint Joan

Critic Reviews for Saint Joan

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (4)

Mr. Preminger, his scenarist and his cast, who obviously were serious in tackling an important drama, have only fashioned a series of dissertations on an important theme.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Even hardcore Preminger fans number this stage adaptation among his lesser works.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

One of Otto Preminger's most underrated features.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Full Review… | July 9, 2008
Top Critic

A work about Seberg -- a document on a restless, rebellious performer who, like her character, found herself trapped in a role

Full Review… | April 1, 2010

The fervor of the child-soldier is lost on the screen; she appears to be sweet and naive, not the calculating personality Shaw intended and wrote of in the play's prolog.

Full Review… | October 23, 2007
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for Saint Joan


[font=Century Gothic]In "Saint Joan," Joan(Jean Seberg) is a 17-year old peasant who calmly informs the local official, Baudricourt(Archie Duncan), that she has been receiving instructions from saints telling her to dress like a soldier, lift the siege of Orleans from the English and that the Dauphin(Richard Widmark) be crowned king. Sensing that they have nothing to lose, he sends her off with a letter of introduction to the royal court. They hesitate in admitting her until she accurately predicts a soldier's death. And picking the Dauphin out of a crowd does not hurt either...[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Written by Graham Greene(based on the play by George Bernard Shaw) and directed by Otto Preminger, "Saint Joan" is a very intelligent movie with excellent performances from John Gielgud and Richard Widmark, who is cast so far against type that it made my head spin. The movie has a surfeit of ideas but stints on the drama which takes away from understanding Joan's appeal and spirituality. Plus, there are no battle scenes, even with the infamous burning scene as the climax of the film. [/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]The central conflict is one of faith versus religion and how they are not always the same thing. And there is a very interesting conversation about torture which is relevant especially in these times. Speaking of an idea ahead of its time, Joan is adamant in dressing as a man and wanting to be a solider, instead of a wife and mother, one of the offenses she is indicted for.[/font]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer


Even though I couldn't understand much of it (because of my non-existing historical knowledge about Joan of Arc), I found this one pretty suspenseful and enjoyably. Great acting, photography and music.

Stefan P

Super Reviewer


This version of Joan of Arc is adapted from the George Bernard Shaw play, unfortunantely it doesn't work 100% in it's adaption to the screen.
Jean Seberg takes the role of Joan. Seberg looks great and does a fare job seeing as she has little action to work with. The story is told in flash back and basically consists of two acts (based on the original acts of the play). The first act being the events of crowning the Dauphin and leading the French army at Orleans, and the second Joan's trial and execution.
The main problem I found with this is that there is so little action, just when you think that something exciting is going to happen, like the battle at Orleans, it fades to black and switches to scenes after the event.
This is a fairly enjoyable film, with a good cast, but there are superior movie versions of the story.

Emily B.

Super Reviewer

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