7.2/10
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Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972)

Fratello sole, sorella luna (original title)
Dramatization of events in the life of St. Francis of Assisi from before his conversion experience through his audience with the pope, including his friendship with St. Clare.

Director:

Franco Zeffirelli
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Graham Faulkner ... St. Francis of Assisi
Judi Bowker ... Clare
Leigh Lawson ... Bernardo
Kenneth Cranham ... Paolo
Lee Montague ... Pietro Di Bernardone
Valentina Cortese ... Pica Di Bernardone
Alec Guinness ... Pope Innocent III
Michael Feast ... Silvestro
Nicholas Willatt Nicholas Willatt ... Giocondo
John Sharp ... Bishop Guido
Adolfo Celi ... Consul
Francesco Guerrieri Francesco Guerrieri ... Deodato
Peter Firth
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Robin Askwith ... Minor Role (scenes deleted)
Rossano Attrotico Rossano Attrotico
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Storyline

The beginning of the thirteenth century, the town of Assisi in Italian Umbria. The son of a rich merchant, Francesco Bernardone, comes back ill from war. In his delirium, he goes back in his memories to the days when he spent time on parties and carnal pleasures. Yet, the shadow of the cross that he sees in fever brings an end to his old life. The armor which he calls "my death mask" appears to be his final clothing of the old human. He slowly recovers, but after the illness there is not the Francesco that was known to everybody any longer. Instead of spending hours in taverns, he spends them on meadows, instead of drinking, he meditates the beauty of God's creatures. Once, he encounters a ruined little church. There, from the old cross, Christ changes his life forever. Francesco renounces the riches, his family and starts to rebuild the Church as "il Poverello - the poorest of the poor." Soon, he gathers many people who are willingly built into a powerful new Spiritual Temple. Will ... Written by Marcin Kukuczka

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

His First Film Since "Romeo & Juliet" See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Theatrical movie debut of Peter Firth. See more »

Goofs

Francis is shown part way down the roof line when he picks up the bird, but without walking any further, he is at the end of the roof when he lets it go. See more »

Quotes

St. Francis of Assisi: If the purpose of life is this loveless toil we fill our days with, then it is not for me.
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Alternate Versions

The Italian version runs 14 minutes longer, has a different score (no Donovan) and is totally recut, almost to the extent of being a different film. The film is not a flashback, it begins as the boys travel to an attic where they've acquired suits of Armour, then into the credits, then an extended ride through the fields with totally different dialogue. Different scenes, shots and dialogue throughout. See more »

Connections

Featured in Tabloid (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Preghiera semplice
(Riz Ortolani-Benjamin)
Sung by Claudio Baglioni
See more »

User Reviews

 
after all these years, still WORTH SEEING
4 April 2004 | by marcin_kukuczkaSee all my reviews

This comment discusses the English version

BROTHER SUN SISTER MOON was the first film I had seen in my life. I was 10 at the time when it was on Polish TV (before 1989 such films were censored by communists). The feelings I had are hard to express with words. I loved everything about it, music, story, cast, scenery, everything.

Now, in 2004, when I see it again, I must admit that most of its splendor is gone. Where is this admiration? ... However, in spite of some faded emotions, it is still a film which I consider pleasure seeing again. Is there something magical about it?

I think that what makes me, personally, fond of it are four most basic factors: the director himself, Franco Zeffirelli, whom I have always admired for his "artistic soul", the story, far from the true, but still moving and retaining the gist of Francesco's life - love to God and His creatures, the music by Ken Thorne and sung by Donovan (especially the title song), and scenery in which the movie was shot.

Franco Zeffirelli chose excellent cast. Graham Faulkner was very much like Saint Francis: these profound eyes, smile full of love. WONDERFUL. Alec Guiness was also excellent. His role of pope Innocent is really unforgettable. Others, including Lee Montague (Pietro Bernardone), Leigh Lawson (Bernardo) and Valentina Cortese (Pica) also give memorable performances. Whenever I watch other films about Francesco, I can't get used to other faces than theirs from this film.

The story is very different. I don't know why Zeffirelli changed it so much. In fact, Francesco did not leave his family like that. What is more, he was a great "Lover" of the Holy Cross, which I can't find in this film. However, one forgets about all these mistakes when the scene with the pope comes on screen. A Polish movie critic said that it is the most moving scene in the history of cinema. This viewpoint is, definitely, overdone, but there is some truth in it. The mosaic of Monreale Pantocrator looking deeply into everyone's eyes, pope's dream and second calling of Francesco and finally his blessing to the amazement of others - the film is worth watching for thanks to this scene alone. You will not regret.

The last factor, scenery, is also worth considering. Film's Assisi is a lovely Italian town of San Gimignano, the hills of Umbria are replaced by Piano Grande, a parish church of Assisi by an old medieval abbey of Sant' Antimo, and finally a Roman basilica - the cathedral of Monreale - a real masterpiece of Norman - Byzantine art in Sicily (10 kilometers from Palermo). The locations in which this film was shot are, indeed, one of the best ever.

Finally, if the above advantages did not fully talk for this movie, there is one more - its message. The message of love, forgiveness and respect for nature is extremely important nowadays. Films which promote it, and one of them is, undoubtedly, BROTHER SUN SISTER MOON, are a real treasure of cinema. And this movie does it mostly by the power of flower and song.

I will end this review with a prayer of Saint Francis. Think about it. If we all copy these words to our lives, the world will be much better to live in:

"Lord make me an instrument of your peace,

Where there is hatred, let me sow LOVE

Where there is injury, let me sow PARDON,

Where there is doubt, let me sow FAITH,

This is in GIVING that WE RECEIVE

This is in PARDONING that we are PARDONED

This is in DYING that we are BORN

THAT WE ARE BORN TO ETERNAL LIFE!!!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK | Italy

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 December 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Brother Sun, Sister Moon See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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