Wise Blood

Synopsis: US Army war veteran Hazel Motes may not be a believing Christian, somehow observations like the state of a run-down country church, meeting the ridiculous frauds on the streets and memories inspire him to take up, after initially fierce refusal, the part of a traveling preacher when a cab driver insists he looks like one in his new hat. He starts his own new Church of Truth, without the crucified Jesus, his first disciple being an 18-year old simpleton with a 'prophetic gift'...
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director(s): John Huston
Production: Criterion Collection
  5 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
106 min

I don't remember this here interstate.

Weren't nothin' but a dirt road once.

It ain't been here about a year.

just long enough

for everybody to drive off on it.

There ain't practically nobody left

in Eastrod or Melsy.

They all done took out

for the city.

Let me off here.

I'm oblined.

...before he casts you down

into the burning pit of hell...

like stones into a lake of fire.

Like stones. You're all like stones.

But Jesus died to redeem ya.

Can you understand that Jesus

was so soul hungry that, for each soul... -

Are you fixin'

to work the farm, Haze?

Uh, no. No, I ain't.

What you gonna do?

I'm gonna do some things... -

I'm gonna do some things

I ain't never done before.

Hardly anyone

left around here anymore.

Everybody done left or... died.

- Can you cash this army check for me?

- Sure.

Was you wounded, Haze?

Yes, I was.

How come you wasn't wearin'

no Purple Heart?

Well, I got one, but... -

I didn't want people to know

where I was wounded.


Well, there's no place

quite like home, is there?

Are you going home?

I'm goin' to the city... - Taulkinham.

I don't know nobody in Taulkinham.

I'm gonna do some things there.

I know Georne Sparks in Taulkinham.

I'm gonna do some things

I ain't never done before.


Well, time does fly, don't it?

I haven't seen my sister's children

in about five years now.

I don't know

if I'd know 'em if I saw 'em.

There's Roy and Jimmy Jay

and John Wesley.

Oh, they call me "Mama doll"...

and they call my husband "Papa doll.' '

I reckon you think you been redeemed.

Why... - Why, yes.

Life is an inspiration,

don't you think?

Sixty Buckley Road.

- You ain't no friend of hers, are you?

- I never saw her before.

She don't usually have no preacher

for company.

I ain't a preacher.

I only seen her name on...

in a toilet.

Well, you look like a preacher.

Your hat looks like a preacher's hat.

It ain't. It's... - It's just a hat.

Well, it ain't only the hat.

It's the look on your face somewheres.

Look a-here, I ain't no preacher.

Now I understand it ain't anybody perfect

on this green earth... -

not preachers, not nobody.

And you can tell folks better

how terrible sin is...

if you know

from your own experience.

Listen, get this.

There ain't but one thing

that I want you to understand...

and that's that I don't believe

in anything.

- Nothin' at all?

- Nothin'.

Well, that's the problem

with you preachers.

You've all got too damn good

to believe in anything.

You huntin' somethin'?

- Somethin' on your mind?

- The usual business.

Make yourself at home.

Uh, the thing that I mean

to have you know is... -

is that I ain't no goddamn preacher.

That's okay, son. Mama don't mind

if you ain't no preacher...

as long as you got four dollars.

Okay, folks, gather round.

Look at this miracle peeler here, folks.

I'm gonna give away a half a dozen... -

a half a dozen peeled potatoes...

to the first one that buys

one of these here miracle machines.

Who's gonna be first now?

Okay, folks, who's gonna be number one?

What about you back there? You can't

afford to pass up a bargain like this.

- What's your name, boy?

- Name? Enoch Emory.

Oh-ho. A boy with a pretty name like that

oughta have one of these machines.

Okay, folks, let's go.

Who'll be the first one here?

Who'll be the first one

to get one of these?

- Jesus calls.

- Help a blind preacher.

- Help a blind... Thank you, Jesus.

- He's talkin' to you. He's talkin' to you.

Help a blind preacher and his daughter

spread the word of Jesus here.

- Who'll be first now? - Give up a dollar.

I'm gonna start preachin'here.

What the hell do you think

you're doin'? I got this crowd together.

- Who the hell do you think you are?

- I'm gonna start preachin' if you don't give up a dollar here.

- What the hell do you think you're doin'?

I got these people together. - Jesus calls.

Help a blind, unemployed preacher.

I need it worse than you all do.

Help a blind, unemployed preacher here.

These goddamn communist foreigners!

I got this crowd together!

Pay no attention to him, folks.

Who'll be number one?

Who'll be the first one

to buy one of these?

- I seen you.

- Folks, step up here.

No use savin'your money

when your soul ain't saved.

$ 1.50. $ 1.50.

Come on. Give up a dollar for Jesus.

A dollar for Jesus.

Is it too much to ask

for a dollar for Jesus?

Give me one of those.

I got a dollar.

just add 50 cents to that dollar

and you got yourself a deal, okay?

Okay, folks,

who's gonna be the first one?

- Any more quarters? Any more dollars?

- Don't crowd in, folks.

- Help a blind preacher.

- Okay, folks, who'll be first?

- Come on, Papa.

- Help a blind preacher here.

Free potatoes to the first one buyin'

one of these here miracles.

Who's gonna be the first one to buy

one of these here machi... Thank you, sir.

There goes the first sale, folks.

Next sale.

Who'll be the next one to buy

one of these here miracles?

See? All they wanna do

is knock you down.

I ain't never been

in such a unfriendly place before.

There's too many people

on the streets.

- How long you been here?

- Two days.

I been here two months.

I work at the zoo.

- I didn't catch your name good.

- Hazel Motes.

Hazel Motes. You look like you might

be follerin' them hicks.

Stop! Don't you see that... -

Now, what do you think that thing

is up there for?

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Benedict Fitzgerald

Benedict Fitzgerald (born 1949) is an American screenwriter who co-wrote the screenplay for The Passion of the Christ with Mel Gibson. His other writing credits include a television screenplay of Moby-Dick in 1998 (uncredited) and Wise Blood in 1979. His latest project is Mary, Mother of the Christ, which is in pre-production by MGM. Benedict is the son of Sally and poet/critic Robert Fitzgerald. When he was a child, one of his baby sitters was novelist Flannery O'Connor. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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