Elmer Gantry

Synopsis: Elmer Gantry is a fast-talking, hard-drinking traveling salesman who always has a risqué story and a hip flask to entertain cronies and customers alike. He is immediately taken with Sister Sharon Falconer, a lay preacher whose hellfire-and-damnation revivalism has attracted quite a following. Gantry uses his own quick wit and Bible knowledge to become an indispensable part of Sister Sharon's roadshow, but his past soon catches up with him in the form of Lulu Bains, now a prostitute. While Gantry seeks and eventually gets forgiveness from Sharon, tragedy strikes when she finally manages to get out of her revivalist tent and opens a permanent church.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Richard Brooks
Production: MGM Home Entertainment
  Won 3 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 12 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
146 min


So, anyway... anyway,

this guy comes home, you see,

and he finds his wife with his best friend.

And the husband says

"Harry, how could you do this?"

And the wife, she says "Why should you

complain? Harry didn't do it to you!"

- What did I tell you? Isn't he a card?

- Class. Real class.

With his gift of the gab

he could go places.

Hey, pal, you oughta quit

that punk job of yours.

- Why don't you join a sales outfit?

- It's no use, boys.

Every time I'm in town, I ask him to go

on the road for our company. Right, pal?

Sure, Ed, sure. Listen, fellas, listen.

Two dames at a bar. One dame says to

another "If I don't get to bed pretty soon,

I'm goin' home and go to sleep!"

Would you make it a merry Christmas

for some poor orphan?

Here you are, lady.

That oughtn't to be allowed

in a place like this.

- Religion don't belong in a speakeasy.

- I know it's Christmas, but...

Mac, wait a minute. Excuse me,

Sister. Excuse me. Excuse me.

Don't tell me we're gonna let

these angels of mercy

go away from here

empty-handed on Christmas Eve.

This joint is the home

of fine bourbon and fast women,

and we need plenty of religion

to keep 'em both in line. So, come on.

Get it up, now. Come on. Oh, come on.

A little action here. What's the matter?



Hey, Lord? Can you hear me

up there, Jesus?

You didn't think we'd forget

your birthday, did you?

There you are, Jesus. And if I had

any more, you'd be welcome to it.

- Thank you, brother.

- (laughter)

The Bible says "Never let your left hand

know what your right hand is doing. "

What's your beef, mister?

You ashamed of bein' a Christian?

I see. You think religion is for suckers

and easy marks and mollycoddles, huh?

You think Jesus was some kind

of a sissy, eh? Let me tell you,

Jesus wouldn't be afraid to walk in here

or any speakeasy to preach the gospel.

Jesus had guts! He wasn't afraid

of the whole Roman army.

Think that quarterback's

hot stuff? Well, let me tell you,

Jesus would have made the best little

all-American quarterback in history.

Jesus was a real fighter. The best little

scrapper, pound for pound, you ever saw.

And why, gentlemen? Love, gentlemen.

Jesus had love in both fists.

And what is love?

Love is the mornin' and the evenin' star

that shines on the cradle of the babe.

Hey, sinners!

Love is the inspiration

of poets and philosophers.

Love is the voice of music.

I'm talkin' about divine love,

not carnal love.

- That was a beautiful sermon, Parson.

- (laughter)

- Beautiful.

- Thank you, sister.

- I gotta get home to the little woman.

- Here you are, Sister.

Merry Christmas. Thank the Lord,

Sister. Thank the Lord.

- Gotta go. Gotta catch a rattler.

- Me too.

Time to take up a little female

companionship. Wait a minute.

That's a swell preacher act you got, pal.

I gotta catch a rattler myself. Ed,

we still got the whole night ahead of us.

Whatever you do, never lose

that little black address book.

Merry Christmas!

Mr. Gantry?

And a merry Christmas to you too, sir.

You'll have to chalk it up.

The rest of these drinks, too.


I oughta get myself a tambourine.

That's the trouble with this stinking world.

Nobody loves nobody.

Mac... the lady's glass is empty.

(phone rings)

(knocking at door)



- Long-distance phone call.

- What time is it?

The phone call you made

to Mrs. Gantry last night?

Oh. Yeah, thanks.

- Merry Christmas, Mr. Gantry.

- You too.

And a happy New Year, Mr. Gantry.

Well, I'll take...

I'll take care of you downstairs.

Get my bags out now.

Hello? Hello?

(woman) Ready with your call, Mr. Gantry

Hello? Oh, hello, Mom. Merry Christmas.

Me, Elm!

Just a sec, Mom.

I just got back from church myself.

I prayed for you too.

How'd you like my present?

You sure? Gee, that's funny.

Well, maybe it got held up

in the holiday rush.

I just called up to wish you merry

Christmas, that's all, to tell you I love you.

Don't start crying.


I know I promised, but I couldn't get away.

I've been busy. Yeah, business.

Guaranteed and delivered. I'll be home

next Easter. My absolute promise.

Ma, don't cry.

Ma, I gotta go. I really gotta go, Ma.

I gotta catch a train.

Sure. Sure. I'll talk to you. Take care.


(train whistle)

(train whistle)

(choir singing "I'm On My Way")

# I'm on my way

# Off to Canaan land

# I'm on my way

# Off to Canaan land

# I'm on my way

# Glory, hallelujah

# I'm on my way

# Well, I'm on my way

# Off to Canaan land

# I'm on my way

# Off to Canaan land

# I'm on my way

# Off to Canaan land

# I'm on my way

# Glory, hallelujah

# I'm on my way

# Had a mighty hard time

# But I'm on my way

# Had a mighty hard time

# But I'm on my way

# It's a mighty hard climb

# But I'm on my way

# On my way

# Glory, hallelujah

# I'm on my way

# All along the way

# Satan lies a-waitin'

# Every night and day

# Satan lies a-waitin'

# Hear me shout and say

# Get behind me, Satan

# I'm on my way

# Glory, hallelujah

# I'm on my way

# Fight the devil and pray

# Take another step higher

# Fight the devil and pray

# Lord, I want to climb higher

# Chase the devil away

# Lord, I'm caught in his fire

# I'm on my way

# Glory, hallelujah

# I'm on my way

# Lord, I'm on my way

# Lord, I'm on my way

# Lord, Lord

# Lord, I'm on my way

# I'm on my way

- You'd better get at this while it's still hot.

- Thank you, brother.

Would you look at this filthy magazine,

Reverend? Shameful. Shameful.

Burn, ye naked Jezebel, burn.

Like a blindin' flash.

"Suddenly there shined round

about him a light from heaven,

- and he heard a voice say unto him... "

- "Saul. Saul. "

- "Why persecutest thou me?"

- Saul of Tarsus.

Acts, chapter nine.

"And straightaway he preached.

Christ is the son of God. "

- "And all who heard him were amazed. "

- "Amazed. "

Excuse me, but you sound

like a preacher.

- Great black-eyed peas, Reverend. Great.

- If you'll be needing a place to sleep...

Thank you kindly, but as soon as

I haul these ashes, I'll be on my way.

- Well, God be with you, brother.

- Put in a good word for me, brother.

- Back again, Mr. Gantry?

- Yes, indeed.

Come spring, come the drummer man.

Good morning, good morning,

good morning - and a hot morning it is.

Sam, as the blind man said

to the elephant, long time no see.

Last March.

I got a great new item for you -

an electric toaster that pops.

- No.

- An egg beater that's a lulu.

No sale.

This little devil's

gonna clean up America.

You sold me nine of them

vacuum cleaners last year.

There they are, all nine of 'em.

Well, no harm done. How about

a free snort on the house?

(laughs) That's how you

stuck me the last time.

Ever hear the one about the missionary,

the cannibal and the chorus girl?

This Sister Sharon -

she any good at preachin'?

I don't know. I don't go

to prayer meetings. I mean...

unless business is bad

or I get sick. Times like that.

Say, how about the missionary and

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Richard Brooks

Richard Brooks (May 18, 1912 – March 11, 1992) was an American screenwriter, film director, novelist and film producer. Nominated for eight Oscars in his career, he was best known for Blackboard Jungle (1955), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) Elmer Gantry (1960; for which he won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay), In Cold Blood (1967) and Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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