The World's Greatest Sinner - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The World's Greatest Sinner Reviews

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January 2, 2013
Little seen vanity piece by Carey (shown once on TCM!) is an amazing, ahead of its time, story of a rock and roll preacher turned cult leader. No one else but Carey could have played this - in his typical crazy, real and hangdog fashion. I thought I was dreaming when I watched it. A sort of masterpiece.
½ November 11, 2012
Timothy Carey is an interesting, often compelling, presence on screen. The movie, though, is a mess. Occasional good lighting and camerawork. Good score by a young Frank Zappa. The sound design falters and often fails completely leaving us in silence - when it isn't loud and echoey. The editing varies from competent to puzzling. The ending is abrupt and unclear.
½ July 23, 2011
Demented and bizarre satire about religion and cultism. It's, well, something to see on account of how damn strange it is.
July 2, 2010
Timothy Carey, best known for his roles in The Killing and Paths of Glory (his firing squad lament "I don't want to die" is one of the few instances of an ad lib appearing in a Kubrick film) was an eccentric. Prone to severe hamming (see Crime Wave) and unwanted improvisation, he often frustrated his directors and fellow actors. Marlon Brando stabbed him with a pen. He made his career playing small and supporting role, never the lead... except once. Written by, produced by, directed by, and starring Tim Carey, this movie is a whole lot of crazy. It's the story of insurance salesman who gets bored with life and becomes a street corner prophet, preaching that through medical science all people can be gods (or something). He becomes a rock star, renounces religion, changes his name to "God", and runs for President. It's often difficult to discern exactly what parts are satire and what parts are sincere, but at the very least it's a humorous take on organized religion. The film is undeniably rough, as would be expected of a vanity project. The acting, besides Carey, is uniformly awful. The editing is shabby, to put it nicely. The dialogue needs work. But there are quite a few very good shots, and the Frank Zappa score is very interesting. It's not a really a case of "so bad it's good" but more "so unusual it's worth tolerating the bad". If you want to see Timothy Carey cackle maniacally, wear a snake, make out with an elderly woman, and stab a communion wafer to see if it bleeds, this is the place to go. Very clever ending credits, too.
August 31, 2009
Throughout his career, veteran character actor Timothy Carey filled many important supporting roles in various films, from Stanley Kubrick's THE KILLING to The Monkees' HEAD. THE WORLD'S GREATEST SINNER marks the only film in which Carey is the leading man. Not only did he play the lead character, though, but he also wrote, directed, and produced the film. It never received a proper theatrical release, only being seen in underground circuits and on late night television. imothy Carey plays Clarence Hilliard, a bored insurance salesman who creates his own religion/political party. Unforgettable and captivating, THE WORLD'S GREATEST SINNER is one of underground cinema's greatest achievements.
August 6, 2009
An absolute MUST-SEE for fans of Timothy Carey and fans of downright bizarre filmmaking. Carey wrote and directed this film outside of the Hollywood system, his only time out behind the camera. He'd made a career of playing psychos and sociopaths. , and this film seems as if it were made by a crazed genius. This is not an it's-so-bad-it's-good movie. It's just out there. Calling it offbeat would be putting it mildly. Definitely not for all tastes. And to add to the weirdness, the film features a score by Frank Zappa .

The plot concerns a man (played by Carey) who quits his day job and starts preaching radical ideas to an ever-growing crowd. Eventually, he gains a large group of followers who call him God and listen to his teachings about eternal life, culminating in his running for president.
April 28, 2009
A classic B movie! Outragous!
April 19, 2009
I watched this on TCM a couple of nights ago, and man, was it strange... but also brilliant. An absolutely fascinating movie, and one I would definitely recommend to cult film fans.
½ February 23, 2009
timothy carey wrote,directed,produced it, and was the main character.

and i give him props for doing a movie about a man that starts his own religion and makes people believe he is god.

it shows how man could abuse power when given and how stupid people are for believing on stupid shit.

not well made because of the money.
the best low budget movie in my opinion.

this movie made me question religion. probably is all a lie created by man but it makes some people sleep at night.
February 12, 2009
I finally got to the end of this movie after about 3 1/2 months of trying to do so. So what's the verdict? A lot of strange meh.
½ January 19, 2009
weird film. the ending would have made more sense if it were a color picture.
January 14, 2009
1/2/2009 movie 4 of a 24 hour movie marathon
you should follow God because he is man and there is nothing better than that... except that, as a god he can act rather crummy...
yet be a winning politician
January 9, 2009
Fascinating, one-of-a-kind low budget masterpiece, with a lead performance so broad and out there, that you're never likely to forget it. It's not for everyone, but it IS for anyone who ever questioned what we're all doing here. The ending (for those who "get" it) will leave you dumbstruck.
January 8, 2009
I liked it. This film illustrates the transformative power of rock 'n roll music and explains where Frank Zappa got his goatee. You wouldn't want to get stuck in an elevator with Timothy Carey. Best line? "Don't worry about burial insurance. After you start to stink someone will bury you . . . "
December 22, 2008
First things first: the only reason anyone remembers this movie today is because Frank Zappa wrote the score, and it's the only thing about the whole affair that's not absolutely astounding. In a bad way. The World's Greatest Sinner, created on just about every level by the wildly odd Timothy Carey, stands along side Manos, Robot Monster, and Monster A Go Go as one of the worst movies EVER. I don't just mean that the story is crazy, though it is. I don't just mean that Carey is easilly the creepiest "leading man" in film history, though he is. I'm not simply talking about the fact that the budget appears to have been about $2.45. I'm not even stoping at the fact that there are home videos with better editing than this film. I'm talking about Timothy Carey giving several "rock and roll" performances throughout the film. These sweaty, spazmatic abominations would be LEGENDARY if more than 40 people had actually seen The World's Greatest Sinner. The world would not see a more vivid musical display of shame until Tiny Tim sang "Do Ya Thing I'm Sexy." They're THAT bad, and they set the tone for the rest of the film quite well. Honestly, Carey makes a convincing maniac street preacher, though that's really not a complement. He's easilly the best actor in the cast, but then the rest of the cast includes featured players of Ray Dennis Steckler and Colman Francis, so that's not really a complement either. Really, the only complement I CAN give to Greatest Sinner is the fact that it never holds back. Rather than shrinking back in the face of its own absurdity, The World's Greatest Sinner plows ahead and embraces even wilder absurdity at every turn. If ever there was a movie to watch simply to say that you made it through, this is it.
December 19, 2008
Timothy Carey is the only reason to watch this, I need to see more films he was in.
½ December 17, 2008
Makes Ed Wood look like a genius.
December 7, 2008
Character actor,Timothy Carey, was one strange cat.
Carey wrote, directed and starred in this cult film about insurance salesman, family man, Clarence (God) Hilliard who's bored with his life so he decides to glue on a goatee, and become a rockabilly guitar-playin', solipsistic-cult leader/Presidential candidate. Along the way, he declares himself "God", attracts throngs of adoring fans, and makes out with old ladies. This is a very strange movie that is visually interesting, even though it looks like it was edited together with a meat cleaver.
Great title designs. Frank Zappa did the music.
November 26, 2008
Timothy Carey was a character -- an unforgettable character actor and a unique human being as well. Most might recognize him as South Dakota Slim from Frankie & Annette's beach movies. His trademark wacky dance he does in these films had actually been performed before, in the drive-in hopping, [b]Poor White Trash[/b], AKA, [b]Bayou[/b] (1957). When Carey finally realized his dream of producing, directing and starring in his own film, [b]The World's Greatest Sinner[/b], he danced his dance again.

[b]The World's Greatest Sinner[/b] is an independent film in the strictest sense of the term. Carey scraped up money and cobbled his vision together over the course of several years. And it never saw proper distribution. The story is a twisted one, involving Clarence Hilliard turning his world upside down, changing his name to God and becoming a rock & roll star with an army of followers. Camerawork on TWGS was creatively shot by the equally legendary Ray Dennis Steckler. Steckler's friend (and director in his own right), Titus Moody, can be seen as a follower of Hilliard. Another cult figure, Frank Zappa, added the theme song and later called TWGS the worst movie ever made. Obviously Zappa had not seen many bad movies. TWGS is far from the worst movie ever made. It's fresh, outrageous and never dull. Just like Timothy Carey.

(Timothy Carey's son, Romeo, created Absolute Films and distributes this now.)
November 17, 2008
crazy man.... real crazy.
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