Lilies of the Field (1963) - Rotten Tomatoes

Lilies of the Field1963

Lilies of the Field (1963)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Lilies of the Field Photos

Movie Info

In this film, a traveling laborer meets five nuns in the Arizona desert. The appearance of Homer Smith convinces the Mother Superior he is an answer to her prayers. He wins the hearts of the nuns and the thanks of the town, as initial reluctance turns into public acceptance.

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Sidney Poitier
as Homer Smith
Lilia Skala
as Mother Maria
Lisa Mann
as Sister Gertrude
Isa Crino
as Sister Agnes
Francesca Jarvis
as Sister Albertine
Pamela Branch
as Sister Elizabeth
Dan Frazer
as Priest
Ralph Nelson
as Mr. Ashton
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News & Interviews for Lilies of the Field

Critic Reviews for Lilies of the Field

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (6)

Lilies of the Field is a funny, sentimental, charming and uplifting film, in which intelligence, imagination and energy are proved again to be beyond the price of any super-budget.

October 1, 2018 | Full Review…

Well-meaning rot.

January 8, 2018 | Full Review…

Many factors combine in the overall success of the film, notably the restrained direction by Ralph Nelson, a thoroughly competent screenplay by James Poe, and, of course, Poitier's own standout performance.

March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

It might be significant as an early independent movie made good, but Poitier got better when he got angrier for In the Heat of the Night four years later.

February 9, 2006 | Full Review…

An uplifting film that cemented the reputation of its star.

July 7, 2004 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Despite the divergence in faith and culture, a tolerant ecumenical respect characterizes the relationship between Smith and the sisters.

May 8, 2002 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Lilies of the Field


It's all about timing, and the time (1963) was right for this hopefully uplifting take on racism. Sidney Portier plays a traveling construction worker gulled into building a chapel for some transplanted East German nuns out in the middle-of-nowhere. A lot of it is obvious pandering anymore, sure, but the sentiment beneath allows some little forgiveness for it's many failings (like the obvious overdubbing of Portier's voice for the sing-along portions.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

A laborer accepts a group of nuns' requests to build a church. Is it possible for a film to be both evangelical and light-hearted? They seem like a contradictory adjectives, but somehow the delightful exuberance of Sidney Poitier make the film work. He has an easy charm that contrasts nicely with the nuns' severity. The film's themes, include faith and stewardship, aren't heavy-handed or explored in any depth, but they're there, and the film is as catchy as the gospel tune that Poitier repeatedly sings. Overall, this isn't a canonical, except for the fact that Poitier became the first African-American to win Best Actor, but it's a fine time and entertaining couple of hours.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


Poitier does his usual thing..this time giving a grand performance with a bunch of nuns. While the move is good, it does border on poor sentimentality. For this reason alone, I deduct a half star.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Lilies of the Field Quotes

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