The Runner Stumbles (1979)

The Runner Stumbles




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Director Stanley Kramer ended his career with this absorbing drama, adapted from the play by Milan Stitt and based on a real-life event from 1927. Dick Van Dyke stars as Father Rivard, an intellectual priest in a small, impoverished mining town in the state of Washington. A lonely man with low self-esteem, Rivard is depressed by the arduous and dreary lives of his flock, until the arrival of Sister Rita (Kathleen Quinlan), a bright, spirited young nun who joins his parish to teach at its school. … More

Rating: PG
Genre: Drama
Directed By: ,
Written By: Milan Stitt
On DVD: Dec 13, 1990
20th Century Fox Film Corporation

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as Father Rivard

as Sister Rita

as Mrs. Shandig

as Monsignor Nicholson

as Prosecutor

as Sister Immaculata

as Sister Martha

as Sister Martha

as Maurice

as Sheriff

as Matt Webber

as Judge

as Dr. McNabb

as Fire Chief

as James
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Critic Reviews for The Runner Stumbles

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (4)

Throughout, the film is paced by fine performances, especially Van Dyke as Father Rivard, Quinlan as Sister Rita and Maureen Stapleton as Van Dyke's housekeeper.

Full Review… | November 7, 2007
Top Critic

Deadly earnestness over Van Dyke's tortured celibacy becomes risible long before the Perry Mason conclusion and a final scene of indescribable bathos.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Mr. Van Dyke's performance, though extremely sympathetic, is hard to assess. He worries and suffers, but the film finds nothing vital in his ordeal.

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

In its relentlessly old-fashioned way, The Runner Stumbles has a sort of dramatic persistence: It's not great, but it's there.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

A compelling and memorable drama, via Stanley Kramer.

Full Review… | August 27, 2010
Film Snobbery

The main problem with the film is that inherent to most play adaptations: it's too talky and static, with most of the responsibility for story development left to explanatory dialog.

Full Review… | November 7, 2007
TV Guide's Movie Guide

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