Best Movies by Farr
Elmer Gantry Poster
Released Runtime Category
1960 146 Drama
Director Language
Richard Brooks English
Burt Lancaster, Jean Simmons, Shirley Jones, Arthur Kennedy

Elmer Gantry

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What's it About

Hiding his dissolute leanings, charismatic street preacher Elmer Gantry (Lancaster) teams up with touring tent revivalist Sister Sharon Falconer (Simmons) to spread the word of God, and before long the two are making money hand over fist. Falconer falls in love with Gantry, and with her new spoils, builds an enormous house of worship by the ocean. But the mercurial minister's womanizing past is about to revisit them in the person of Lulu (Jones), a jilted prostitute out for a little payback.

Why we love it

Based on the bestselling novel by Sinclair Lewis, this tale of a lustful, larger-than-life charlatan's fall from grace owes its strength to the force of Lancaster's dynamic, Oscar-winning performance. His “Gantry” preaches hellfire and brimstone, but loves life — and women — with a hearty gusto that is as pure as Sister Falconer's vanity is unbecoming. Jones also took home an Oscar, playing against type in a sultry turn as a minister's “fallen” daughter who became Gantry's lover. Also great is Arthur Kennedy as an atheist journalist modeled on the legendary H.L. Mencken. Fiery and sharp, Richard Brooks' satirical take on Bible-thumping hypocrisy and hucksterism still speaks volumes in today's world.

BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"