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Saint Ralph

4.5 out of 5 stars 157 customer reviews

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(Dec 13, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An inspiring story about the unlikely story of Ralph Walker, a ninth grader who outran everyone's expectations except his own in his bold quest of trying to win the 1954 Boston Marathon. Ralph is a fatherless 14-year-old with a seriously ill mother, who knows he's a time bomb waiting to explode into greatness, except that he has no idea where that greatness will manifest itself. An unfortunate incident of self-abuse in the community pool inadvertently sets him on this road when, as penance, Ralph is conscripted to the cross-country team. Desperate to believe a miracle will bring his mother out of a coma, Ralph becomes a convert to the church of running, and determines to win the Boston Marathon.

A sweet and silly story that becomes increasingly poignant as the minutes tick by, Saint Ralph is the fictional tale of a wayward 9th grader, Ralph (Adam Butcher), who is secretly living on his own while his widowed, hospitalized mother remains immersed in a coma. Frequently in trouble with Father Fitzpatrick (Gordon Pinsent), the principal of his all-boys, Catholic school, Ralph is considered something of a joke among peers until he decides to pull off the miracle that could save his mother, i.e., winning the Boston Marathon. Coached by a younger priest and former runner, Father Hibbert (Campbell Scott), whose cynicism has been lifted by the boy's pure hope, Ralph applies himself to his unlikely mission, fending off naysayers and getting help along a very challenging path from sundry allies and friends. A touching movie featuring a startlingly knowing performance from the young lead. Jennifer Tilly and Tamara Hope co-star, and the film was written and directed by Michael McGowan (My Dog Vincent). --Tom Keogh

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Jennifer Tilly, Gordon Pinsent, Campbell Scott, Adam Butcher
  • Directors: Michael McGowan
  • Producers: Seaton McLean, Andrea Mann
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 13, 2005
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BMY2LK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,752 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Saint Ralph" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"Saint Ralph" is the second movie of 2005 to use religious faith, specifically Catholicism, to create drama and humor in stories about young people and their families. The first was the British film "Millions", about a boy who believes a sack of money that landed on his play house must have come from God. From Canada, we get "Saint Ralph", a good-natured dramedy with genuine emotions and an appealingly mischievous young lead. I find it interesting that both of these films are able to take religious faith seriously, because their main characters do, without taking the doctrine, itself, very seriously. They seem to view religion as a matter-of-fact part of the human experience at the root of many meaningful experiences and a lot of comic absurdity as well. The results are charming, creative films that appeal to both religious and secular audiences.

In 1953, Ralph Walker (Adam Butcher) is a 14-year-old Catholic school freshman always in trouble with the stern headmaster Father Fitzpatrick (Gordon Pinsent) for petty transgressions. Ralph's is full of life and optimistic, but his girl-chasing and mischief-making belie his troubles. His beloved mother, his only family, is gravely ill. When she falls into a coma, Ralph despairs that he may lose her and end up in an orphanage. Conventional methods of waking her won't work. Ralph needs a miracle. When the coach of his school's cross-country team, Father Hibbert (Campbell Scott), mentions that any of his students winning the Boston Marathon would be "a miracle to rival the loaves and fishes", Ralph concludes that that's just the miracle his mother needs. If Ralph can win the Boston Marathon, his mother will recover, or so he believes.
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Format: DVD
The time is the early 1950's, the place a small provincial Irish Catholic community in Eastern Canada. The story revolves around an intense, energetic young boy named Ralph (Adam Butcher). Things are not going well for the fourteen year old, his Father has died, apparently while serving in the military during WWII and his Mother is in the hospital fighting for her life from an unspecified illness. Things couldn't be any worse unless you add to that the fact that he has just started his freshman year in high school at Saint Magnus Parochial School.

When his Mother falls into a coma Ralph comes to the conclusion that the only way to awaken her is to perform a miracle. Recently assigned to the school cross country team by the school principal as punishment for smoking on campus, his choice of miracles takes on the form of a race. The Boston Marathon.

Can a fourteen year old with no running experience win the Boston Marathon? He does have 180 training days before the big race and the help of Father Hibbert (Campbell Scott) the cross country coach and ex-olympic marathon runner. Who knows, "amazing things happen under a full moon."

Delightful film! Adam Butcher is absolutely perfect as Ralph as is Campbell Scott (one of my favorite actors) as Father Hibbert, the dis-illusioned priest who rediscovers his faith and himself while observing the young boys determination to succeed and create his own miracle.

My Highest Recommendation!
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Format: DVD
Young Adam Butcher is Ralph, an about to be orphaned boy who lost his father in WWII and who's mom is hospital bound in a coma. When told the only chance for recovery is a miracle, Ralph decides to perform one. By training for, and hoping to win, the 1954 Boston Marathon, Ralph believes his mom will be restored.

At 14, Ralph has a few other problems - his hormones are in hyper-drive and finds him getting into a lot of trouble in school and around the community.

Campbell Scott plays Father Hibbert, a youngish priest undergoing his own crisis of faith, but who finds in young Ralph reasons to dare to believe and take a leap of faith.

This is simply a wonderful, touching and often hilarious film that needs to be seen to be appreciated. So see it!

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Format: DVD
SAINT RALPH is a pleasant surprise most watchers will find hidden away (or absent) at most video rental stores simply because it didn't get a lot of notice in the States. Filmed entirely in Canada by a Canadian crew and cast, this film will make it to the top of many favorites lists once viewers get a chance to see it.

If you're a fan of Hoosiers, Rocky, or some other underdog story, you'll slowly fall for Saint Ralph in similar style.

The story is that of a troubled 14-year-old at a parochial Catholic school in 1950s Ontario. Ralph Walker is his name (relative unknown Adam Butcher) and he's acting out at school. He smokes. He uses God's name in vain. He has "impure thoughts." And he has a mother who is very sick; a type of brain cancer is easily surmised. Ralph's father died in WWII and he now lives alone in a dilapidated home. Using school chum Chester (Michael Kanev) to help fake notes from Ralph's non-existent grandmother and grandfather, Ralph is able to fool the Catholic school's principal, Father Fitzpatrick (Gordon Pinsent, The Good Shepherd), into believing he resides with his aging grandparents.

Ralph's mother Emma (Shauna MacDonald) eventually slips into a coma and Ralph is now truly alone in the world.
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