Poster for Elmer Gantry

Elmer Gantry

1960, Drama, 2h 25m

32 Reviews 2,500+ Ratings

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Movie Info

When hedonistic but charming con man Elmer Gantry (Burt Lancaster) meets the beautiful Sister Sharon Falconer (Jean Simmons), a roadside revivalist, he feigns piousness to join her act as a passionate preacher. The two make a successful onstage pair, and their chemistry extends to romance. Both the show and their relationship are threatened, however, when one of Gantry's ex-lovers (Shirley Jones) decides that she has a score to settle with the charismatic performer.

Cast & Crew

Burt Lancaster
Elmer Gantry
Jean Simmons
Sister Sharon Falconer
Dean Jagger
William L. Morgan
Arthur Kennedy
Jim Lefferts
Patti Page
Sister Rachel
Edward Andrews
George F. Babbitt (as Ed Andrews)
John McIntire
Rev. John Pengilly
Joe Maross
Pete (Lulu'sman)
Everett Glass
Rev. Brown (uncredited)
Michael Whalen
Rev. Phillips (uncredited)
Hugh Marlowe
Rev. Philip Garrison
Philip Ober
Rev. Planck
Barry Kelley
Police Capt. Holt
Rex Ingram
Preacher of black congregation (uncredited)
Jean Willes
Prostitute (uncredited)
Sally Fraser
Prostitute (uncredited)
André Previn
Original Music
John Alton
Cinematographer
Marjorie Fowler
Film Editing
Edward Carrere
Art Director
William F. Calvert
Set Decoration
Frank Tuttle
Set Decoration
Dorothy Jeakins
Costume Design
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Critic Reviews for Elmer Gantry

Audience Reviews for Elmer Gantry

  • Mar 25, 2022
    Often it appears to be engaging in the kind of hypocritical moralizing the movie is also condemning. That said Lancaster is completely captivating as is the rest of the cast.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 05, 2017
    A great film with fine work from Lancaster and Simmons. The awards were deserved.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • May 21, 2014
    A snake-oil preacher woos a revivalist, and together they build a following, but will his dishonesty hurt their partnership more than his charisma helps their cause? Burt Lancaster's finest performance showcases his over-the-top antics and his remarkably seductive charm and his ability to convey a soulful depth of character. He rises to the challenge of the perfect part for his talents. Jean Simmons, always demure, also gives a strong, subtle performance as Sister Sharon Falconer, a well-meaning but manipulated revivalist. The film's satire pillories ignorance and theft more than it levels its glass at religious fervor. It doesn't suggest that religion is bullshit because we see a proper refutation in the person of well-meaning religious people, but it does say that people are no more easily manipulated than when they are are pushed by either faith or their genitals. Seems like apt criticism to me. Overall, your patience with this film will depend on your reaction to Lancaster's antics and the film's thesis.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Aug 26, 2013
    Elmer Gantry opens with a short shot of chapter 1 of the novel, I'm not sure if this implies a loyal reproduction, but since one of the criticisms I heard of this film is that it vulgarizes the novel, than it's probably not. And this film vulgar, especially for the time. There was a lengthy warning at the beginning that the content may offend. The film, while perverted, is usually colorful and light filled. An early is where Elmer goes into a black church, even as the farthest thing from a spiritual man, or a singer, I wanted to stand up and sing with them. That was a well done scene. Everywhere the salesman Elmer Gantry goes people think he's a preacher, and really he always was. It's clear to see how much this film inspired. During Gantry's ramblings, I always saw the resemblance to Network. Elmer also reminds me of John Candy's character in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. The preaching is Wise Blood is highly similar, and the cult like setting in The Master. The script is filled with wit and the dialogue keeps moving. The church at the end is highly remarkable and realistic. A 150 minute delight.
    Super Reviewer

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