Priest (1995) - Rotten Tomatoes


Priest (1995)



Critic Consensus: A deft directorial debut from Antonia Bird, Priest handles its sensitive subject with care -- despite certain sanctimonious sentiments.

Priest Photos

Movie Info

A priest is torn between church dogma and his personal beliefs in this British drama. Father Greg (Linus Roache) is a Catholic priest who tends to a parish in Liverpool. Like his superior, Father Matthew (Tom Wilkinson), Father Greg is not dealing well with his vow of celibacy. While Matthew has been discreetly having an affair with his housekeeper, Greg is homosexual, and he occasionally slips out to gay clubs for anonymous encounters with strangers. One night, Father Greg meets a man named Graham (Robert Carlyle) at the bar; when he bumps into him on the street a few days later, he realizes that he's falling in love with him. As Father Greg struggles with his sexual and spiritual identity, he hears a confession from 14-year-old Lisa Unsworth (Christine Tremarco), who tells him that her father has been molesting her. Mr. Unsworth (Robert Pugh) confirms his daughter's allegation during confession, and he tells the priest that he will not stop his incestuous behavior. Should Father Greg violate the seal of the confessional to save Lisa from further abuse? Priest, which opened in America on Good Friday, generated considerable controversy, both with Catholic organizations (who denounced the picture) and the MPAA (the film had to be re-edited to gain an R rating for U.S. release).

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Linus Roache
as Father Greg Pilkington
Tom Wilkinson
as Father Matthew Thomas
Cathy Tyson
as Maria Kerrigan
James Ellis
as Father Ellerton
Lesley Sharp
as Mrs. Unsworth
Robert Pugh
as Mr. Unsworth
Christine Tremarco
as Lisa Unsworth
Paul Barber
as Charlie
Jimmy Coleman
as Funeral Director
Bill Dean
as Altar Boy
Billy Dean
as Altar Boy
Gilly Coman
as Ellie Molloy
Fred Pearson
as Patrick
Jimmy Gallagher
as Mick Molly
Charley Wilde
as Tommy's Child
Euan Blair
as Tommy's Child
Guiseppe Murphy
as Man in Lift
Kim Marie Johnson
as Mrs. Gobshite
Keith Cole
as Mr. Gobshite
Adrian Luty
as Jehovah's Witness
Mandy Walsh
as Guest at Wake
Stephanie Roscoe
as Guest at Wake
Ann Haydn-Edwards
as Guest at Wake
Mike Haydn
as Guest at Wake
Rupert Pearson
as Man on Skateboard
Victoria Arnold
as Girl in Confessional
Gareth Potsig
as Boy Car Thief
Ray Williams
as Boy with Stutter
Valerie Lilley
as Sister Kevin
Kevin Jones
as Boy at Beach
Michael Ananins
as Charge Sergeant
Matyelok Gibbs
as Housekeeper
John Bennett
as Father Redstone
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Critic Reviews for Priest

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (8)

Priest shouldn't be missed -- much of it is strong and moving. My reservation is not that it bites off more than it can chew (these days, big teeth are welcome) but that there's something mechanical about its mastication.

February 15, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The unexamined assumptions in the Priest screenplay are shallow and exploitative.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

In her timely and audacious feature debut, Antonia Bird addresses such taboo issues as homosexuality and incest within the Catholic church.

February 1, 2013 | Rating: B | Full Review…

A provocative film, with persuasive work by Roache.

April 9, 2007 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

This drama about Church hypocracy could stand to be far less preachy.

December 26, 2002 | Rating: 2/5

A star-making performance by Linus Roache.

December 13, 2002 | Rating: 4/5

Audience Reviews for Priest

Antonia Bird's powerful, thought-provoking, and controversial British film, that examines the life of a young devout Catholic priest, father Greg Pikington, played by Linus Roache in a superlative lead performance, who struggles with his homosexuality and secret gay lover. His assignment to a working class parish forces him to face the contradictions in his life, after hearing the confession of a 14-year-old girl who is being sexually abused by her monstrous father, he begins questioning a God who allows evil to destroy the life of a child. The Priest is torn between the laws of the church and his need to help this innocent young victim. Fine direction by Antonia Bird, and a supporting cast that all deliver exceptional performances they include Tom Wikinson, Cathy Tyson, James Ellis, Robert Carlyle, John Bennett and Lesley Sharp. A passionate film with a extremely moving ending, It's message is about redemption and the power of forgiveness, told with delicacy and respect.This film was released in 1994 prior to the current pedophilia scandal that has shook the church to its foundations. Highly Recommended.

Danny Rovira
Danny Rovira

Super Reviewer

A well-meaning film that touches on too many issues to be effective. Sadly, this results in a degeneration into preachiness to make its points. A good performance by Roache and a somewhat better one by Wilkinson. Barely adequate production values.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

Unreal at the time, Priest still remains a very powerful film about a homosexual who tries to hide behind the veils of the priesthood and finds his humanity something truly to be wrestled with. Gripping and great.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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