Black Robe

Synopsis: In the 17th century a Jesuit priest and a young companion are escorted through the wilderness of Quebec by Algonquin Indians to find a distant mission in the dead of winter. The Jesuit experiences a spiritual journey while his young companion falls in love with the Algonquin chief's beautiful daughter underneath the imposing and magnificent mountains. Dread and death follows them upriver.
Director(s): Bruce Beresford
Production: Trimark
  10 wins & 13 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
101 min


The Indians, who

went to Flangis,

thought there was

a city of gold...


In the South there is a city of gold.

My brother saw it.


Look at these, Trambl.

"Where did you trap them,

Sainte Marie"?

In the forest.

It's my secret, Trambl.

And how do you pay the

Indian trappers?

With knives, Father.

With cooking pots.

With Brandy and Whiskey, I am told.

With Brandy.

And what if there is no mission?

What if your father Laforgue arrives...

to find yet another

two Jesuit martyrs?

We'll cross that bridge

when we come to it.

It's not we.

It's Father Laforgue

who must cross it.

Has he journeyed far from this settlement?

"Even in good weather?"

He has been studying the Huron and

Algonquin languages.

He is very dedicated and devout.

Of course.

Even I have been on these

journeys, Monsieur Champlain...

from the lakes of Hurons

to the rivers of Maine.

- And now...

- We are too old.

- Perhaps, Younger men are more suitable...

- Perhaps. Perhaps not.

1500 miles by canoe...

in that country,

at the beginning of the winter...

Death is almost certain,

Father Bourque.

Death is not always

a great evil, Monsieur Champlain.

God should have made me a Jesuit,

to have answers for everything.

He must paddle with them

12 hours a day,

or they will not respect him.

He must smile

and not show anger.

He must carry a pack animals loads

on his back as they do.

The journey, like our

lives is in God's hands.

Look at them. The English

and the Dutch are colonists.

We have priests.

Who would want to bring a woman here.

And have kids running half

wild in the woods?

We are Starving in winter..

- Good afternoon, father.

- Good afternoon.

Good afternoon, Father.

- Do you think they're going upriver?

- Who cares?

As long as I am not going.

Leave the forest

to the savages.

Remember that priest

who came back like that?

It was the Iroquois.

They caught him.

That was just fingers.

One might lose something,

that is more useful.

Why do you want to accompany

Father Laforgue?

For the greater glory of God.


I am told you're bored

in this settlement.

Sometimes. A little.

To come all this way

and to just build huts...

I understand.

Can you read and write?

Yes, Father. I was taught by my uncle,

who was a priest in Tour.

He speaks it more fluently than I do.

If we send you and if...

when you return...

you could go to France, to

study for the priesthood,

Would that please you, Daniel?

Yes, Father.

These are our Fathers.

They are soldiers of Heaven.

They left their friends

and their country...

to show you

the way to Paradise.


I entrust to you Father Laforgue.

Who is journeying into the land

of Herots.

Love and honor him.

Guard him well.

Look at him, dressed like

a savage Chieftan.

We are not colonizing the Indians.

- They are colonizing us.

- Not me, they are not.

I am not becoming one

of those wild woods men.

In one more year, I am going back to France.

How are you?

Are any of us?

If winter doesn't kill us,

the Indians might.

If they don't,

it could be the English.

So keep your faith.

I made that point

with you, God in mind.

Good morning.

You are?

- Paul Laforgue.

- You have to serve my mass?

I am the priest of New France.

The savages did this to me.

"Indians"? But why?

They are uncivilized,

just as the English

or the Germans were...

before we took our faith to them.

In a few weeks...

I will be returning.

Returning to New France?

The savages live

in total darkness.

We must convert them.

What more glorious task

than that, Paul.

What more glorious task.

Black Robe, what are you doing?

I'm making words.


You do not speak.

I'll show you.

- Tell me something.

- Tell What?

Something I do not know.

My woman's mother...

died in snow last winter.

"Last winter, Chomin's wife mother...

died in the snow"."

I have still other greater things

that I can teach you.


I did not mean any disrespect...

but do you have any doubts?

What about?

Them... these people.

If we change them.

If we do not change them,

How could they enter Heaven?

Intelligence is not lacking

among these people.

He speaks only

Algonquin, father.

What is the meaning of that word?

You love that tobacco,

more than you love us.

What can I do? I know that.

He will ask and ask until they have...

everything, we brought with us.

Father, they do not understand.

They share everything

without question.

Then they should question.

They plan nothing,

but think only of the moment:

hunting foods...

Go and get the tobacco, Daniel.

They say it's soothing

once you become used to it.

That may take some time.

They don't seem to be very happy father.

They should be.

I have told them the truth.

So charming,

Mademoiselle Lafontaine.

And so attractive.

So modest.

She is from a very good family.

What do you think they

are talking about, father?

I don't know.

Of us?

Mother, what are you doing?

Praying to Saint Joan.

Perhaps God has chosen you

as he chose her.

You must not compare me

to a saint, Mother.

"In New France, you will remember me

in your prayers?

I always do..

God will hear your prayer.

He has chosen you

to die for Him.

I will never see you again.

I'm afraid, Lord.

I don't welcome death...

as a holy person should.


I too have committed

the sin of the flesh.

Do you, father?

"In France, long ago"?

No, here.

Sin of intent.


I've lusted after her.

Kneel with me...

and say an act of contrition.

Father, Life is not so simple

for the rest of us.

I am not a Jesuit.

You said you wanted to

serve God.

Yes, Father, but I...

I'm afraid of this country.

The Devil rules here.

Controls the hearts

and minds...

of these poor people.

But they are true Christians,

they live for each other.

They forgive things,

we would not forgive.

The Devil makes them resist

the truth of our teachings.

Why should they believe them?

They have an after world of

their own.

They have no concept of one.

Annuka has told me...

they believe that, in the forest at night,

the dead can see.

Souls of men hunt

the souls of animals.

"Is that what she told you?"

It's childish, Daniel.

Is it harder to believe

in a paradise...

where we all sit on the clouds

with a good God?

Black Robe.

Oh, God of mercy...

Please, Bless

this innocent child.

Where are my paddlers?

You promised.

You go with your own mission

to the Hurons, alone, Black Robe.

Ask your Jesus, to help you,

Black Robe.


If it be Thy wish that

I suffer greater tribulations

in the days ahead...

I welcome it.

Thou has given me this cross

for thy honor...

for the salvation

of these poor barbarians.

I thank Thee.

Father, Forgive me.

What for?

For the things I said to you.

For leaving you.

God is with us.

He is the one who forgives us.



The arrowhead is still there.

If we try

to remove it, you will die.

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Brian Moore

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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