The Runner Stumbles (1979) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Runner Stumbles (1979)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Runner Stumbles Photos

Movie Info

This melodrama is based on an actual event from the late 1920s. The tragic tale of Father Rivard -- a priest accused of killing the nun he fell in love with -- takes place in three time frames. He is seen in jail, with his lover, and on trial.
Directed By:
Written By:
20th Century Fox Film Corporation


Dick Van Dyke
as Father Rivard
Kathleen Quinlan
as Sister Rita
Maureen Stapleton
as Mrs. Shandig
Ray Bolger
as Monsignor Nicholson
Allen Nause
as Prosecutor
Sister Marguerite Morrissey
as Sister Immaculata
Zoaunne LeRoy
as Sister Martha
Don Riley
as Maurice
Ted D'Arms
as Sheriff
Jim Doyle
as Matt Webber
Bill Dore
as Judge
Jock Dove
as Dr. McNabb
Larry Buck
as Fire Chief
Billy Jayne
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.

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

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