Brother Sun, Sister Moon

Brother Sun, Sister Moon

4.7 15
Director: Franco Zeffirelli

Cast: Franco Zeffirelli, Graham Faulkner, Judi Bowker, Alec Guinness


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St. Francis of Assisi was an extraordinarily complex and difficult figure whose effect on his contemporary society was electrifying. Even today, many people are moved by his visionary message of universal toleration. Twelfth-century Italy had an exceptionally grim and regimented society, but the barefoot monk from Assisi undoubtedly had the courage that comes from…  See more details below


St. Francis of Assisi was an extraordinarily complex and difficult figure whose effect on his contemporary society was electrifying. Even today, many people are moved by his visionary message of universal toleration. Twelfth-century Italy had an exceptionally grim and regimented society, but the barefoot monk from Assisi undoubtedly had the courage that comes from deep faith and was able to transcend the oppressiveness of the time. In this Italian/British-produced film, director Franco Zeffirelli attempts to bring his vision of this great man to the screen. The contemporary (1970s) example of the hippie movement contributed a great deal to the style in which the story is told. The musical score, using ancient Italian melodies, was arranged by Donovan. The film is visually beautiful in a way which tends to minimize the squalor of the times. As the movie begins, Francis (Graham Faulkner) is the son of wealthy merchants, and enjoys his share of wine, women and song without serious thought. When war and disease devastate his neighborhood, Francis undergoes an anguished transformation which culminates in his appearing before the local bishop and removing his clothes to renounce his previous life and family before dedicating himself to God. The culminating dramatic moment is Francis' appearance before Pope Innocent III (Sir Alec Guinness), to make his case for an independent religious order under new rules.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
Stunning visual metaphors irradiate this 1972 production about a man who gave up everything -- wealth, rank, and the pleasures of the flesh -- to wear rags, beg food, and seek God in a leper or a field of flowers. More a poem than a biography, the film exalts Francis of Assisi's spirit and message while ignoring the complexity of his personality. For this reason, critics who reviewed the film after its debut sometimes traduced it as pretty fluff, lacking substance. However, as a cinematographic poem, the film succeeds brilliantly, juxtaposing symbols of worldly riches -- silks, jewels, and scepters of power -- with symbols of spiritual riches -- shoeless friars chanting for joy, a meadow aflame with Umbrian colors, and a trusting sparrow perching on the hand of Francis. In one memorable scene, Francis strips bare before the steps of a cathedral while townspeople and splendidly robed churchmen look on in bemusement. It is director Franco Zeffirelli's way of demonstrating the depth of Francis' commitment to unadorned devotion to God. It is true that Zeffirelli trains his lens on Francis the Simple rather than Francis the Complex, the soldier, writer, mystic, reformer, traveler, and dynamic leader who engineered a revolution in religious thought. But probing psychoanalysis would be out of place in this film. It is like a song, not unlike the one Francis himself wrote in 1225: "Praise to thee, my Lord, for all thy creatures -- above all Brother Sun Who brings us the day and lends us his light." Graham Faulkner is convincing as the boyish, almost childlike, Francis. And Alec Guinness is superb as Pope Innocent III, a role he lobbied for before converting to Catholicism.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Region Code:
[Dolby Digital Mono]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Graham Faulkner Francesco
Judi Bowker Clare
Alec Guinness Pope Innocent III
Leigh Lawson Bernardo
Kenneth Cranham Paolo
Michael Feast Silvestro
Peter Firth Actor
Michael York Actor
Nicholas Willatt Giocondo
Valentina Cortese Pica Di Bernardone
Lee Montague Pietro Di Bernardone
John Sharp Bishop
Adolfo Celi Consul
Francesco Guerrieri Deodato

Technical Credits
Franco Zeffirelli Director,Screenwriter
Carlo Cotti Asst. Director
Suso Cecchi D'Amico Screenwriter
Donovan Score Composer
Ennio Guarnieri Cinematographer
Reginald Hills Editor
Lorenzo Mongiardino Production Designer
Carmelo Patrono Set Decoration/Design
Luciano Perugia Producer
Gianni Quaranta Art Director
Kenneth Ross Screenwriter
John Rushton Editor
Ken Thorne Musical Direction/Supervision
Lina Wertmüller Screenwriter

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Francesco [:07]
2. Sons of Assisi [:43]
3. Awakening [4:41]
4. The Old Church [3:07]
5. Family Business [4:47]
6. Born Again [:31]
7. Cornerstones [6:40]
8. Simple Message [4:33]
9. Flesh Is Weak [2:58]
10. Worshippers Gather [5:08]
11. Journey to Rome [2:40]
12. Before the Pope [6:54]
13. Blessed [1:17]

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Brother Sun, Sister Moon 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I must have seen this video,..20 times.Each time I see it,the more greatful I am, for a loving and caring God.St. Francis,got to view life in the correct perspective,he submitted himself entirely to God the Father.He is consumed by a Heavenly Father's love that passes all understanding!Buy this video, and give to all who have "a hunger and thirst for God,for they shall be filled."
JimHoward More than 1 year ago
Franco Zeffereli(who also made the classic "Jesus of Nazareth") made this great movie to reach the youth of the 70's who were fed up with the war, the government, traditional churches, in other words- the SYSTEM of their day (sound familiar?... then this movie is for YOU!) But when it first came out, it received some of the worst reviews ever received by a motion picture! As they say-"Its the hit dog that howls" and so did the warmongering and duped older generation howl when they didnt listen to the truth their children were speaking. Long live the truth and freedom of "Brother Sun" so well portrayed by the actors and Mr. Zeffereli!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A heart and mind changing film which reveals the love and true core of Christianity. Made in the 70's before the grand technology of today, the story and performances overide any of the technical shortcomings. It was even nominated by the Academy - a rarity for a Christian film.
Attaboy More than 1 year ago
An excellent dramatization of the conversion and early life of Francis of Assisi. It is moving and uplifting. The portrayals are sensitive and well done.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am not Catholic and I am not religious but I am a spiritual person and have deep beliefs - due in no small part to this movie. It makes you want to reach out and help those around you that are less fortunate. When a movie has this kind of affect on a person how could I give it less than 5 stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the most powerfull and spiritual films i have ever watched, This film will make you question your self,do we listen for Gods calling? St Francis will bring you closer to Jesus, in a way you thought was not possible.A must for all searching!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is more than a movie that entertains you because Brother Sun and Sister Moon will definetely touch your heart and be moved to some scenes that is really a tearjerker. I watched this film way back 1998 and when I joined in a Franciscan Order (but now, I decided to move out of the order), I already viewed this film for ten times. I really miss this film so much that I crave even more to watch this motion picture. I don't have any copy of this Franco Zeferelli's 'magnum opus' but I would be gladly to buy anyone's copy for a reasonable price. Just check my e-mail and send a letter for me. Thanks! I am higly recommending this film to everyone of every religion domination. You willl love this film as I do. The actors are great and so as the director of the film. You will realize and understand the spirituality of St.Francis of Assisi based on this film. If I may add, Believe it or not, this film is very rare to find in our place.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When reading the biography of Rich Mullins' life, I learned that this film impacted his life tremendously. So I found a copy of the film, watched it, and was blown away by it. I am a life-long protestant, but now know what the Pope is all about and who St. Francis was, and I am deeply moved. And this movie really helped me in a time when I have been worried about my job going to China. When it all comes down to it, it all just does'nt matter. I'll be fine -- by God's grace and His providence. Best film I've ever viewed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is absolutely wonderful. When i first watched it, i was at a boarding school, and it inspired me to change my life. I see everything differently now. I suggest watching this. It will truly inspire you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
when a teacher assigned our class to watch this, i had no idea of how it would change my life. i was at a behavior-mod school in bend oregon at the time. when i saw this movie, spirituality sparked within me and changed the person i was. i led myself to talk to a counsler and tears ran down my face because this story was so inspiring. if you do not cry or feel anyting worth while during this movie, then you are emotionally dead. this is one powerful movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this movie. I would have to say that it is my all time favorite film. Very well acted, with an inspirational message of tolerance and devotion, simply fantastic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best movies ever made. Every time I watch it, I am moved to tears at least seven times during the film. Great music too.
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