Léon Morin, Priest

This article is about the 1961 film. For the 1952 novel, see The Passionate Heart.
Léon Morin, Priest

Film poster
Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville
Produced by Georges de Beauregard
Carlo Ponti
Screenplay by Jean-Pierre Melville
Based on Léon Morin, prêtre
by Béatrix Beck
Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo
Emmanuelle Riva
Irène Tunc
Music by Martial Solal
Cinematography Henri Decaë
Edited by Jacqueline Meppiel
Nadine Trintignant
Marie-Josèphe Yoyotte
Distributed by Lux Compagnie Cinématographique de France
Release dates
  • 22 September 1961 (1961-09-22)
Running time
117 minutes
Country France
Language French
Box office 1,703,758 admissions (France)[1]

Léon Morin, Priest (French: Léon Morin, prêtre)[2] is a 1961 film directed and scripted by Jean-Pierre Melville, and starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Emmanuelle Riva. Belmondo was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor. It is based on the 1952 Prix Goncourt-winning novel The Passionate Heart (French: Léon Morin, prêtre) by Béatrix Beck.


In a town in the French Alps during the Occupation, Barny (Riva)[3] is a young, wayward, sexually frustrated widow, living with her little girl. She is also a communist militant who long ago decided that the easiest way was the best. One day she enters a church, randomly chooses a priest (Belmondo)[2] to confess to and, while in confessional, attempts to provoke him by criticizing Catholicism. Instead of being affronted, the priest engages her in an intellectual discussion regarding religion. The priest is Leon Morin, young, handsome, smart and altruistic. He invites Barny to continue the conversation outside of confessional. She begins regularly seeing him and is impressed by his moral strength, while he makes it his mission to steer her onto the right path.


Home video

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray by The Criterion Collection in July 2011.[4]


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