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Saint of 9/11 - The True Story of Father Mychal Judge

46 customer reviews

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(Nov 21, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

In an enduring photograph of 9/11, a team of rescue workers carry a Franciscan priest's body from the World Trade Center. The world came to know Father Mychal Judge, in death as a symbol of courage and sacrifice. Saint of 9/11 represents the turbulent, restless, spiritual and remarkable journey of Father Mychal. Compassionate champion of the needy and forgotten, and a beloved New York City Fire Department Chaplain, he was a humble priest who wrestled with his own private demons while touching others in powerful and miraculous ways. Saint of 9/11 weaves interviews with friends, colleagues, congregants and archival footage with Mychal's words and shows the full humanity of a special life interrupted. Narrated by Sir Ian McKellen. Features interviews with famed author Malachy McCourt and former New York City Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Ian McKellen, Larry Boes, Everald Brathwaite, Thomas Paul Carey, Brian Carroll
  • Directors: Glenn Holsten
  • Producers: Brendan Fay, Malcolm Lazin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Virgil Films
  • DVD Release Date: November 21, 2006
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ION2IU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,955 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Saint of 9/11 - The True Story of Father Mychal Judge" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Peter Kahrmann on October 20, 2006
Format: DVD
The power of Father Mychal Judge's impact on those who knew him and those, like me, who only met him through this documentary, is his honesty, his ability to accept life as is, and his thoroughly non-judgemental way of interacted with others.

I did not experience this work as a work about a gay man or gay priest or an alcoholic man or an alcoholic priest who showed courage on 9/11. Instead, I experienced this work as being about a man who dealt with alcoholism and who happened to be gay. Each truth is but a component of the man, neither one is his definition. The defining truth about Father Mychal Judge is found in his courage, honesty, capacity for acceptance, his non-judgement of others and his unflinching loyalty to the firefighters. A loyalty that is underscored when one learns that Mayor Guiliani told Father Mychal, who was at the WTC with the firefighters, he could join the mayor's party and go to a safe place. Father Mychal said, "No, I've got to stay with my men."

Father Mychal was administering to a dying firefighter when he was killed in the collapse of the first tower. Father Mychal Judge understood that, as I have heard in the rooms of AA, "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking less about yourself." I think everyone should see this documentary. Perhaps Father Mychal Judge knew there is no safer place than heaven.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Leo on June 22, 2009
Format: DVD
Saint of 9/11 is a touching remembrance of Fr. Mychal Judge, the first recorded fatality of the September 11 attacks at the World Trade Center. Through interviews of people whose lives he's touched and archival video, a multi-layered tapestry is unveiled, revealing the rich life of the openly gay Fransciscan friar and beloved fire chaplain for the FDNY. He was an inspiration to many. You would pal around with him, before consciously remembering that he was a man of the cloth.

Fr. Mychal is universally seen as a 'living saint' and Brooklyn's favorite son: a protector of the city's disenfranchised and spiritual guide for the average Joe.

Through a series of anecdotes that director Glenn Holsten smoothly gels into one another, you get to know about the Franciscan priest with 'the wild laugh' whose passion was to simply serve others.

While Fr. Mychal was a superhuman dynamo, he was admittedly not perfect. And yet, you get the impression that he's looked into his soul, judged himself accordingly and moved onward with his life.

While Saint is not an overtly gay film, Fr. Mychal's sexuality cannot be ignored in this review. His sexuality was a part of the priest's personhood. What makes Holsten's direction so powerful is that he doesn't ignore the topic nor treat it with heavy-handed diatribe.

In the end, viewers are left in awe, wishing that they've known a "Fr. Mychal" in their lives. At the same time, they are left open to the audacious possiblity that they could be a "Fr. Mychal"!

If you are looking to be inspired, this is the DVD to buy!
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jeffery Mingo on October 17, 2006
Format: DVD
Father Judge died on 9-11 being of assistance to his beloved firefighters. This work explores his life through people who knew him best.

If you loved Mother Theresa, you should love this guy. He helped the homeless. He had ethnic pride. A black man was interviewed who spoke of how Judge befriended and aided him; I get the sense the Father was an anti-racism advocate.

He was human like everyone else, just with a big heart. He admitted to struggling with alcoholism. He got a shamrock tattoo "somewhere private" without realizing it. He was not out everywhere, so the closet was a challenge for him, like many gay men.

Many bigots say that gay men can't be patriotic and are immoral. Here was a man full of ethics. He died helping those in need. He should be respected by people of all sexualities.

I read a review elsewhere that said he couldn't be gay because he was a priest. However, in this work, the people who knew him said he identified as gay. Deal with it if you can't! If I remember correctly, they do not say whether he was always celibate. They could have been braver by truthfully addressing that issue.

Ian McKellen follows Harvey Fierstein in being an openly gay man narrating a documentary about another openly gay man. His voice has the resonance and authority that one would expect for such an accomplished actor.

At times gushy, this piece was still a powerful one that every American should enjoy and from which every American should learn.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jean E. Pouliot on October 14, 2010
Format: DVD
In spite of his humility, humanity and martyrdom, Fr. Mychal Judge, "The Saint of 9/11," is unlikely ever to grace the stained glass of any Catholic Church. A gay man who fought with Cardinals is a hard sell for the advancement-minded prelates in their ivory rectories. This, even though Mychal presided over firefighter's funerals and browbeat high-end boutiques into coughing up jackets for New York's poor. The film combines interviews with friends and colleagues with footage of Mychal in his white fire chaplain's helmet in the North Tower of the World Trade Center just before its collapse. The film discussed Mychal's love for AIDS victims. Early in the HIV crisis, when even health care workers turned their backs on victims for fear of catching their devastating disease, Mychal burst into their hospital rooms bearing love, embraces and even kisses for the afflicted. Yet he came to the attention of most of us by his tragic death on 9/11. The images of him pacing the lobby of the tower, looking fearful and worried, coming just moments before the end of his earthly life, were moving and sad. But it was less his final moments than the decades of loving service beforehand that made his death so significant and so painful for so many.

"Saint of 9/11" provides glimpses of Mychal's struggle with the consequences of his homosexuality and alcoholism, but only slivers of light on the battles with the Church hierarchy. The snippets of tape from a Mass he celebrated with firefighters the day before 9/11 show a priest of ordinary homiletic prowess. But it was the power his deeds that far outshone the rather ordinary theology he preached from the pulpit. His desire to share the lives of his men, even as planes were crashing and bodies falling, was what set him apart from his brother priests, and from the rest of us as well. Requiem in pace, Mychal, you have been a good and faithful servant.
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