Wise Blood (1979) - Rotten Tomatoes

Wise Blood (1979)



Critic Consensus: Director John Huston and author Flannery O'Connor prove a formidable creative match in Wise Blood, a gothic satire anchored by Brad Dourif's vinegary performance.

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Movie Info

Set in the Deep South during the postwar era, Wise Blood stars Brad Dourif as an aimless veteran, who decides to become a Bible-thumping preacher (for a questionable concern called "The Church Wihout Christ") principally because he hasn't anything better lined up. Dourif links up with a veteran of the hellfire-and-brimstone circuit, who for business purposes pretends to be blind. The older man persuades Dourif to blind himself for real so that he can truly "see the light" (yes, the movie is that weird). Director Huston, himself, appears as Dourif's grandfather. Adapted from the one-of-a-kind novel by Flannery O'Connor, Wise Blood was a noble experiment but a box-office failure-though, to be fair, Huston never set out to make a blockbuster from O'Connor's offbeat tale.

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Brad Dourif
as Hazel Motes
Ned Beatty
as Hoover Shoates
John Huston
as Grandfather
Dan Shor
as Enoch Emery
Amy Wright
as Sabbath Lily
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Critic Reviews for Wise Blood

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (6)

Flannery O'Connor's incisive sense of person and place is brilliantly captured in this 1979 film adaptation of her highly regarded first novel, which plays out as a broad comedy set within a timeless purgatory.

August 3, 2020 | Rating: 5/6 | Full Review…

This time, Huston has found material that was all but guaranteed to fuel the battiest recesses of his imagination.

September 19, 2014 | Full Review…

John Huston, with uncluttered direction and expert handling of actors, has fashioned a disturbing tale of the fringe side of overzealous religious preachers in the deep South.

July 6, 2010 | Full Review…

This adaptation of Flannery O'Connor's novel is John Huston's best film for many years.

January 26, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

One of John Huston's most original, most stunning movies.

May 20, 2003

Along with The Man Who Would Be King and The Dead, this is arguably John Huston's best literary adaptation, and conceivably his very best film.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Wise Blood


Decidely more tragicomic and surrealist than ever before. Another show about the love that John Huston always professed to losers.

Pierluigi Puccini
Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer


A very strange and thoughtful 70s drama with dark and comedic twists. Directed by John Huston and starring Brad Dourif, the film tackles a lot of themes and adapts to a variety of tones throughout, making for an experience both ambitious and scattershot. The final fourth of the film is particularly difficult to grasp. But despite being uneven and repellant at time, in Huston's hands the film always remains entertaining and interesting. It's worth the effort for Dourif outstanding performance alone. Huston in his more outlandish form.

Michael S
Michael S

Super Reviewer

Very strange, but entertaining, but odd and well acted, but weird and worth watching.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

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