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Francesco (1994)

Mickey Rourke , Helena Bonham Carter , Liliana Cavani  |  PG-13 |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Mickey Rourke, Helena Bonham Carter, Andréa Ferréol, Nikolaus Dutsch, Peter Berling
  • Directors: Liliana Cavani
  • Writers: Liliana Cavani, Roberta Mazzoni
  • Producers: Eric Parkinson, Giulio Scanni, Jost Steinbruchel, Ralph B. Serpe, Roberta Cadringher
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Simitar Ent.
  • DVD Release Date: February 24, 1998
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6304810792
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #312,315 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Francesco" on IMDb

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  • Movie factoids

Editorial Reviews

story of the passionately mystical life of Saint Francis of Assisi.....

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wild Orchid is one of St. Francis' Little Flowers December 11, 2008
"Francesco" is an unexpected triumph. St. Francis of Assisi has usually been depicted as an animal-loving,Nature-worshipping Dr. Dolittle-type,when in fact he was very much a gritty man of his time. St. Francis had lived a dissolute life before he was a conversion. He was a knight (hardly a placid garden statue) He lived in a brutal time. This Italian-made movie shows it perfectly.

"Francesco" opens with Francis returning from one of his latest crusades. There's a gruesome public flaying,as well as an orgy. Francis realizes he's lived an empty life. Baring all,he weds Lady Poverty (later on,he bares all in the snow to combat his lust) Rourke presents the religious life as sexy. St. Francis renounced earthly love, but he had passionate love for Lady Poverty. This movie shows Francis' immense love for the poor. He's often held up as a social justice saint. He was revolutionary in his time. Rourke depicts Francis as a firebrand. He lived very much among the people. Francis invented the Nativity Scene.

Helena Bonham-Carter,in contrast,is a pallid and dull St. Clare. Historically, St. Clare was a passionate, mystical woman. She stood up for herself in escaping an arranged marriage. Bonham-Carter makes Clare into a boring,passive figure.

"Francesco" is a fiery,fascinating depiction of the beloved saint that's surprisingly contemporary. While Mickey Rourke is earning critical kudos for "The Wrestler",he is excellent in this movie of a saint wrestling with himself. He's marvelous as "Il Poverello (The Poor One)" with a rich performance.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must See Film May 27, 2005
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
For some inexplicable reason, I completely missed this 1989 film about St. Francis directed by Liliana Cavani. I didn't even know it existed until this week when I happily stumbled upon it and rented it, only to view it last night for the very first time. Neither did I ever notice that Francesco, starring Mickey Rourke and Helena Bonham Carter, is one of the fifteen films listed on the 1995 Vatican film list in the category of "Religion." And it was placed high on that list for a good reason. It is simply the best cinematic retelling of the story of St. Francis I have ever seen. This may be due to the wonderful cinematography, which oscillates between the sunlight and torchlight shadows of the middle ages, and it may be due to it's period authenticity and lack of over-acting which is the bane of so many films about the poverello.

Unlike Franco Zeffirelli's movie, "Brother Sun-Sister Moon", which makes St. Francis appear something like a 60's founder of a hippie commune, Cavani makes St. Francis more human, a young virile man grasped by, and growing into, the awareness of God ---and his poor--- without glossing over that grace which leads him from curiosity about God and about human suffering to a radical love for simplicity rooted in creation and the cross. That radical love issues in a desire to alleviate that suffering whenever possible through works of mercy, all depicted movingly in this film. When Francesco holds a bowl, there is food in it for the poor.

It was this love for creation which possessed Francesco, a creation which pointed Francesco straightway to the Creator who was otherwise blissfully untutored in the sometimes bewildering details of theology. His school was the cross of Jesus which, upon conversion, he hugs so profoundly in this film.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Worthy Canticle of St. Francis November 6, 2008
`Francesco' has to be one of the best depictions of the life of the most beloved saint ever conceived. Not as stiff as `Francis of Assisi' nor as vibrant as Zefferelli's `Brother Sun, Sister Moon,' this film, nevertheless, remains so authentic because it emulates the simplicity of the troubadour saint.

Starring Mickey Rourke and Helena Bonham Carter as Francis and Clare respectively, the actors capture the heart of these sacred personalities without overstating their case. For Rourke's part one can't help but appreciate the repertoire of someone who can make a portrayal of Francis look so effortless after doing such a tragic protagonist in Angel Heart. The production isn't flashy, and the lighting tends to accentuate the earth tones that match the spirit and mood of the project.

Genuinely highlighting the key portions of their lives, the movie skips back and forth to Francis's eulogy where Clare and other key followers grieve and honor his passing and the resonance he brought to their lives. While this facet of the movie is effective at the end and in some other key places, it is a bit jarring and takes away the absorbing moments shown during his life. (It's not as effective as say `Amadeus,' which is a model of this film's structure.)

After all is said and done, `Francesco' is a fine composite, and one of the most effective Catholic celluloid portrayals of all time.

(Happy Belated All Saints' Day! :>)
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, thoughtful, beautiful film January 23, 2004
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I picked up this film while researching the life of St. Francis of Assisi. Of the several films I've seen on his life, this is the best by far. I was not familiar with Mickey Rourke or his career, but it didn't take me long to realize that he is a very gifted actor. His portrayal of St. Francis was sensitive, contolled, subtle, but when the moment called for action, he was prepared and delivered. The film as a whole was magnificent -a true example of ensemble acting at its finest. One really got the nitty-gritty feeling of life in the 12th century, just as Europe was coming out of the Dark Ages and there was an explosion of change. G. K. Chesterton's book on the saint covers this in more detail.
St. Francis and his little band of followers never intended to begin a world-wide movement of a monastic order, and his confusion, disappointment, and frustration at the response to his "rule" was palpable and heartbreaking. Each of the young men in the original group were as diverse as could be, yet they were all brought together under the loving care and friendship of Francis. The humor and antics balanced their rather grim existence and made them all the more human. There were moments of intense sadness, but also joy. Chiara's enigmatic smile at the end I will leave to your own interpretation. It was a superb touch to the ending of a stunning film.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars St. Francis
This movie is beautifully done and brings a real sense of what it might have been like to not be mad but instead become God's madman.
Published 1 month ago by Timothy Owens
THE BEST PORTRAYED of one of the greatest SAINT IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH by Rourke. You will love it, too!
Published 1 month ago by The truth will send you free
5.0 out of 5 stars Francesco
It was a beautiful movie. The only problem is that it is an Italian film dubbed in English and that makes parts of it hard to understand. Read more
Published 8 months ago by sue owens
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent, moving story
It is a very beautiful film. I had seen it about 10 times when I was living in Italy... watching it over and over, inspired me in so many ways. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Frances M. Lohmeyer
4.0 out of 5 stars Great 80s Rourke, but a little slow.
Wonderful flick with Rourke and Helena Bonham Carter about the kind (to animals) St. Francis Assisi. Read more
Published 14 months ago by S. Wozniak
2.0 out of 5 stars For diehards only
I was on a quest to see every film performance of Mickey Rourke I could, and this is one for diehards only. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Sambson
2.0 out of 5 stars Wrong Actor for the Role
Mickey Rourke as St. Francis Of Assisi? I don't think so. This is one of the strangest pairings of actor and role, and while this may sometimes produce an unexpected surprise, this... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Harry O
1.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't look like St Francis
This movie is okay but the old movie, although very dated looking, is still much better (Starring Bradford Dillman, Dolores Hart, Stuart Whitman). Read more
Published 24 months ago by Sandman
5.0 out of 5 stars Very appreciative, good film
I speak from being a Franciscan Frier during one part of my life. I feel this is probably the best, St. Francis movie, that I have seen. No, I don't think anyone can depict St. Read more
Published on March 28, 2012 by Tom
1.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre
The movie shows Saint Francis as a borderline heretic. (He wasn't) It shows a lot of unneeded nudity. The acting is mediocre as is the direction. Read more
Published on June 18, 2011 by Fire Blood
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