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Plot:

At a Catholic public school, Benjamin Stanfield is tired of being the teacher’s pet and decides to play a practical joke on his form master Father Goddard. In confession, Stanfield tells Goddard that he has accidentally murdered his friend Blakey and buried him in the forest. When Goddard investigates the matter, he finds a buried scarecrow. Goddard is outraged, but, due to the seal of confession, he knows he cannot expel Stanfield. Shortly after, Stanfield once again enters the confession booth, telling Goddard that what before was a practical joke, he has now made happen. In disbelief, Goddard once again goes to the forest to investigate the matter. This time, he discovers Blakey’s dead body. The plot soon thickens as Stanfield’s fellow student Arthur Dyson mysteriously disappears…

Also Known As: Опрощение, Feloldozás, Absolution West, Absolvição, L'Assoluzione, Syndernas förlåtelse, Bünbocsánat, Anthony Shaffer's Absolution, Oproštenje, Synninpäästö, I afesi, Rozgrzeszenie, Absolución, Murder by Confession, Absolution, Отпущение грехов Soviet

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  • randy-moreno
    randy moreno

    Father Goddard (Richard Burton) teaches Latin at St. Anthony’s boys school. Benjei Stanfield (Dominic Guard) is among his favorite students. However, he has failed to connect with Arthur Dyson in a positive way. Dyson wears a leg brace. He is picked on because he is bothersome. He looks to Father Goddard and Benjei for close friendship, but gets rejected.Meanwhile Blakely, a hippie biker (Billy Connolly) camps out in the woods nearby and has befriend Benjei who sneaks out at night to see him. Blakely’s basic life philosophy contradicts the church and he places the idea in Benjei’s head of feeding Father Goddard a false confession of a serious nature, one that would cause him to go crazy because he has to keep the secret: “A priest may not break the seal of confession” for any reason. Oh let the head games begin.This is an older film I had not seen before. I loved the twist. Part of a 70’s fifty film DVD pact.Guide: No swearing, sex, or nudity.

  • bronislava-birznieks
    bronislava birznieks

    You never knew during his later years whether Richard Burton was going to just walk through his part with a faraway look in his eyes and simply collect his cheque or pull his finger out and actually give a performance worthy on his reputation; and this is one of those occasions when he’s actually rather good.A sort of cross between Hitchcock’s ‘I Confess’ and Sidney Lumet’s ‘Child’s Play’, in which the unlikable central character is mischievously manipulated as in scriptwriter Anthony Shaffer’s earlier classics ‘Sleuth’ and ‘The Wicker Man’, it becomes more confusing and less interesting as it progresses. Basically a two-hander for much of its duration, Billy Connolly, Andrew Keir and Brian Glover, along with most of the rest of the supporting cast are given remarkably little to do, adding even more to the disjointed feel of the thing (consolidated of course by its fitful release record over the decade that followed).

  • ljudmila-heinrich
    ljudmila heinrich

    Disappointing thriller. Writer Anthony Schaeffer is obviously talented, having penned such classics of the genre as SLEUTH and THE WICKER MAN, but this film, alas, does not belong in their company. ABSOLUTION is intriguing for an hour or so, until it takes a turn for the predictable (and thus for the tedious) from which the story never recovers. It is absurdly easy to guess who the real villain is by the 2/3 mark.Added to which, the plot would have us believe that said villain is able to predict with almost clairvoyant certainty what other characters will do – and fail to do – in the situations he’s set in motion. And at a certain point this becomes preposterous.Finally, while the movie is well-acted, all of the characters, including Burton’s, are insufferable.So, an easy-to-spot a villain, unbelievable plot twists, and characters you despise. Only a solid first hour and fine performances save it from a lower rating. My score: 6.

  • morgana-valentini
    morgana valentini

    I don’t think anyone can really like this movie. It doesn’t do things in a different strange way which is good. But the movie is just so boring, and you are waiting for it to be over. The acting really isn’t that bad, but you don’t care about that when your watching it. I give it a 1 1/2 out of 5.

  • dhaaliivaal-cetnaa
    dhaaliivaal cetnaa

    Not only is Absolution a hard movie to find, but it also very slow moving. The acting is great and the story is great, but the director could have tried something to liven it up. All script writing books will tell you to put the first action and get the ball rolling about ten to fifteen minutes into the film, whereas in the case of Absoution, you go about halfway through the movie and realize the plot started half an hour before.Absolution focuses on two students in a catholic school, one named Benji (Dominic Guard) and one Dyson (David Bradley). Benji is the golden boy of the school who is good at everything from sports to class, Dyson on the other hand is crippled and not too good at anything. When Father Goddard (Richard Burton) hears Benji’s confession that he killed a homeless drifter named Blakey (Billy Connoly) then investigates only to find a buried scarecrow he doesn’t take the next report of Blakey’s murder very seriously, but this time discovers Blakey’s corpse. When Goddard receives another confession that Benji has killed Dyson, he drives himself mad looking for the body until finally killing Benji, only to discover that Dyson, jealous of Benji’s abilities and the favoritism shown to Dyson by Goddard, had been impersonating Benji in the confessions.also I believe that Richard Burton’s performance was great but you can’t overlook Billy Connoly who is a great comedian and great actor of any genre.

  • marcel-blaha
    marcel blaha

    As a teaching priest in a British boy’s academy, Richard Burton finds himself up against some calculating minds in this depressing drama. The judgments of his old school religion turns one of his prized pupils against him, claiming in confession sins of the flesh and taking it a step too far as a further part of his revenge. This is basically a variation of “The Children’s Hour” with boys instead of girls, as well as a bit of “The History Boys” and various other educational stories where a teacher thought of as a mentor finds themselves in a moral crisis beyond their comprehension. By the time this hits its dramatic high point, the audience is numb from trying to comprehend what it’s all about. While Burton is fine and the young actors all believable, it’s the way the story progresses that turns it upside down to make it extremely frustrating to try and follow, let alone believe. There’s a passive/aggressive crippled student who goes out of his way to make the situation worse, all seemingly out of revenge towards Burton for favoring the more popular boys. The lack of real motivation makes this feel forced, a twisting path in the woods that seems to be out to attack the sacrament of absolution rather than to explain its purpose. Having had only a preview showing after completion, it was released officially years after Burton’s death, sparing him the embarrassment of its quick failure.

  • marianne-fredriksen
    marianne fredriksen

    Richard Burton plays a priest in Absolution. I know, his real-life persona was very un-priest-like, but that’s why it’s called acting! I mean, Frank Sinatra played a very convincing priest in The Miracle of the Bells, and he was just as un-saintly as Richard Burton in real life. Anyway, Burton gives a great performance as a man of the cloth. He’s conflicted and pained, and when he even hears about a sin, you can see him struggling not to take it as a personal insult. He’s a teacher and mentor in a boys’ Catholic school, and during one of his lessons, the boys ask about the rules during confession. If someone confesses to a crime, will the priest turn him into the police? Burton answers, almost directly into the camera for the audience’s benefit, that the priest is bound to silence and can’t call the police if he’s told of a crime. Then, surprise! One of his students confesses a murder.Granted, if this movie had been made today, it would be a lot more gruesome, and probably have a few more twists and turns. But it was made in 1978, and so if you watch it, keep that in mind. There are a couple of violent scenes, but nothing overly graphic. And I thought it was thrilling, with enough twists and turns to keep me on the edge of my seat. It’s a lot of fun to watch a manipulative, snot-nosed student take Burton to the brink of insanity!

  • bradley-elberts
    bradley elberts

    Penned by Anthony Shaffer, who also wrote the screenplay for the amazing film, ‘The Wicker Man’, ‘Absolution’ had a similar feel to it. The pacing was intentionally slow, but mysterious, making the end all the more powerful and memorable. It worked very well in ‘The Wicker Man’. Here, however, the twist was pretty lame and illogical, and it almost seemed comical. Without giving anything away, I’ll just say that I felt as someone in the writing room threw this ending out, and it only made it in the movie because no one could think of something better. As a payoff I found it to be slightly insulting. I focus so much of my attention on the ending because the whole movie is in the last five minutes. Every other part of the movie is fine. Solid acting, a script that set up the ending beautifully, and Billy Connolly was a great casting choice, but all that lost when the writer hit a block. Since the whole movie was in the ending, I would have to say this is one to stay away from, unless you’re a Billy Connolly fan, in which case just watch the bits where he’s in. Rating: 21/40

  • mrs-catherine-clark
    mrs catherine clark

    (There are Spoilers) Very disturbing film about a Catholic boarding school that may very well offend some viewers in its depiction of the schools Latin teacher Father Goddard, Richard Burton. It’s not what Father Goddard does but how he’s manipulated and later drove to the brink of madness and suicide that’s so disturbing. All this while Father Goddard is trying to help one of his students Benji Stanfield, Dominic Guard, who had gone astray from the schools teachings to the point of murder.Being looked upon as his best pupil Father Goddard has Benji set up, to all the students in his Latin class, as an example of what a good and intelligent young man should be. This has the nerdy and crippled Arthur Dyson, David Bradley, always try to hang out with Benji in order that some of his popularity with both the administrators and students in the school would rub off on himself. Benji tolerates the odd-ball Dyson up to a point but gets a bit turned off by his always, through no fault of his own, screwing things up for him in his fumbling and butterfingered ways.It’s when Benji doing his morning run, which the lame legged Dyson couldn’t participate in, runs into this easy rider type hippie Blakey, Billy Connolly, that he starts to change for the worst. Blakey putting ideas into Benji’s head about drugs and sex, together with his hippie girlfriend Louella(Sharon Duce), that has Father Goodard put his foot down and forbid Benji never to see Blakey again. Benji trying to mend fences with Father Goodard asks him to receives his confession which the Father reluctantly does and gets all the steamy and unholy details of his relationships with both Blakey and Louella.Father Goddard not being able to really do anything since the things that Benji confessed to him are between him and Benji, and God, tries in a round about sort of way to get the young man back on the right track. Benji who was getting fed up with the restrictions of his Catholic faith, in how it keeps him from doing the things that he really wants to do, starts to play games with the concerned Father Goddard. Benji goes out and committing a number of horrendous acts that included the murder of his good friend Blakey, who was about to leave him. Confessing those acts, or crimes, to Father Goddard Benji knows full well that he couldn’t tell the police or even have him expelled from the school.Playing Father Goddard for a fool Benji starts to enjoy his driving the very serious and strict man almost insane. Running to where Benji told him that he buried the murdered Blakely Father Goddard only finds out that the whole story about murdering him was a joke. Later Benji again confesses that this time around he really did in fact murder Balkey and when the now almost hysterical Father Goddard goes to the place where Benji told him that Blakey was buried he indeed finds the man dead and buried! The movie then takes a sudden U-turn when it comes out, with yet another confession on Benji’s part, that the lame and dejected Dyson was also a victim of Benji’s insanity. These revelations drives Father Goddard over the top which is exactly what Benji was planning to do to him right from the start. Bringing Father Goddard to the brink of condemning himself, in the Catholic tradition, to eternal damnation or, in the eyes of the law, a life behind bars in either a prison or mental institution.The movie has a very out of left field surprise ending where we see what was really behind all this manipulating of poor Father Goddards mind. This act of revenge and jealousy that went as far as driving the man to not only lose his faith and sanity but his life as well. Father Goddard demise came about by him innocently going along with those who were using him and his good will, in helping them, for their own sick selfish and ungodly purposes.

  • aksel-laursen-steffensen
    aksel laursen steffensen

    After a drifter moves in the woods at an all male catholic school, things take a turn for the worse. Benjie is a teachers pet, but this drifter starts to make him realize that life has more to offer than rules and regulations. Another kid Arthur is keeping Benjies secrets about the fact hes always running away and hanging out with this drifter. After being told that in confession nothing said to the priest can be repeated Benjie starts taking advantage of that. He lies about sexual encounters with the drifter and later lies about killing the drifter playing a huge joke on the head priest. Soon the priest sees the true evil in this young man and the fact his sworn secrecy of the clothe is preventing him from acting on it is driving him insane. The more we learn, the more the twists unfold to find the sins of the father are stronger than his prayers.This was my second time watching this and I think it is truly a great movie. It was intense and shows how even the sweetest acting kiss up teachers pet can be evil and mean and it shows how an innocent nerd can sometimes be malicious as well. It has so many great characters in it and is just fun to watch.The direction was great and I love the music. This story was great and it had some great scenes some were extremely bloody and gory and worthy of any horror fan. The acting was great. Richard Burton played his part so well and the kids Dominic Guard as Benjie and Dai Bradley as Dyson were superb. I think Billy Connely and his funny Scotish charm stole the show though, this was his film debut too.great drama/ suspense with some great gore in a scene. I recommend it highly 6/10 stars

  • katerina-kseroture
    katerina kseroture

    In the last decade of his life Richard Burton was doing just about anything put in front of him for money. He felt, probably rightly so, that he had nothing to prove as an actor. So why not build up a nest egg, especially with all the heavy duty alimony he was laying out. It’s the only reason I could think of he did Absolution.Burton plays a priest at a British Catholic school where he’s got some really sadistic kids on his hands. After a class in which he carefully explains the religious implications of the confessional and the restrictions it places upon a priest hearing confession, Father Burton hears some confessions that positively drive him to the brink and he singles out one youth as responsible for it all. Drives Father Dick quite bonkers.It’s pretty bad, it’s the sort of stuff that the producers of American slasher films would do with a little more gore. It didn’t enhance Burton’s reputation and I wouldn’t waste my time.

  • step-an-aregyan
    step an aregyan

    Yes, I guess the movie is hard to sit through till the end but as I was watching it all by myself minus distractions I think the movie is good. Richard Burton’s acting can be coolly incandescent (Huh? Cool but incandescent? Yes, that is really what I meant) although he leaned towards theatrical dialog and body acting especially towards the few minutes of the film, otherwise, I liked the movie for its storytelling. Perhaps you may really find it boring if your idea of a movie is three-million polygons of hair and fur rendered with subsurface scattering algorithms. Ack!But I really love the claustrophobic feeling of an all-boys catholic school the movie is trying to capture. I can relate to the interminably boring sessions of sitting thru your Latin textbook translations (Spanish in our case) and endless hours of conjugating all those verbs (AMOS, AMAS, AMAMOS, AMAIS). But what really bothers me is the parochial drift of the plot. It is so narrow that at the end you get the feeling that you are watching a made-for-TV movie. But, hey, this is Richard Burton. They could have given the movie a little more room to breathe. I think they have overdone this claustrophobic statement a bit too far in this movie. But, overall, this is tolerable and better than most movies out there.

  • ake-olofsson
    ake olofsson

    Angry looking, twitchy Richard Burton stars as a priest at an all boys school. He’s all for slapping down the disabled, annoying pupil while praising the sycophantic, sneaky pupil (I’ve forgotten their names already). Meanwhile, Billy Connolly of all people turns up as a drifter and after being told to bolt by Burton, sets up camp on the school grounds and begins to turn the sneaky pupil’s head onto drink and drugs and living free. Vexed by Connolly’s free spirit and nimble banjo plucking, Burton sets out to get rid of the Glaswegian hippy and get his pupil to return where every adolescent boy belongs: in a school run by Catholic priests. Brian Glover appears as a policeman that gives out a good old seventies police kicking for good measure. However, the tables turn as the young pupil confesses that he’s murdered somebody, but is he telling the truth or is it just all mind games to drive old rummy Burton out of his mind?This film is deadly, deadly slow, but quite on purpose. It’s yet another one of these seventies movies where the plot zigs and zags and somehow retains a dark atmosphere that modern films somehow can’t quite emulate. There’s very little by way of action, but one burst of violence took me by surprise in it’s brutality (a nasty axe to the face scene). Burton looks genuinely annoyed at everything, and as this was Billy Connolly back when he was funny, he’s enjoyable too. This is not a film for insomniacs but good for those with a bit of patience.

  • troy-andrews
    troy andrews

    “Absolution” is a film that has somehow faded into the public domain. So, if you are interested in seeing it, you can download it for free from archive.org. Often IMDb links to this site but in this case, oddly, it has not.The film is set at a Catholic boarding school. An incredibly humorless priest, Father Goddard (Richard Burton) teaches Latin at the school and in most of his dealings with the students, he’s a nasty and cold man. He’s so cold that he naturally breeds contempt in some of his students. And, this coldness and inflexibility will eventually be his undoing.In the course of his work, Father Goddard has also managed to alienate a stranger–a drifter and a bit of a rogue (Billy Connelly). Instead of showing the love of God, Goddard is cold and dismissive of the man. However, because he does treat this man so poorly as well as students, one of the boys finds a kindred spirit in this drifter. They become friends and the boy starts sneaking out at night to spend time with the guy. Where does all this lead? Well, certainly NOT where you’d expect it to go!!! The film turns out to be a dandy suspense film–and one that kept me guessing many times. It’s very interesting and worth seeing though I have one reservation. While the teens playing the students were pretty good actors, occasionally Burton seemed to overact. I know, he’s well respected by many, but here he did seem to overdo it just a bit. By the way, another part that didn’t come off well was the violent scene involving a shovel to the head. However, I would say that although it looked fake, I am happy it wasn’t more graphic!

  • karen-miller
    karen miller

    I came upon this movie after it had already begun. I couldn’t find the programme listing – so was completely ‘at sea’ as to the genre and mode for a time. Now, having read others’ comments I can offer a different slant. My ‘start’ was around the time when two priests were talking, and referring to (Dyson?) needing extra care as he was vulnerable – and shortly after Benji pressuring Fr Goddard to hear his confession in the priest’s study (usually a no-no) regarding his meetings with the seriously weird Billy Connolly character and his voluptuous lady. For a time I felt there was a Hitchcock-like parody running – the sound-track music seeming to be bordering on comic-horror. Viewing with today’s (2009) sensibilities had me wondering if we were going to be traveling to the dire domain of sexual abuse so much a feature of recent RC ‘outings’ in real life, and for me for a time then added to serious tension. Of course there was no such sub-plot; Goddard was a ‘true-blue’ pre-Vatican II priest – a desperate “keep me constant Lord – keep me constant!” his prayer in times of dire temptation to stgrike back at his tormentor/s.I had never heard of this film – but was lured to stick with it because of Richard Burton – granite-like and deeply troubled from the first take. The plot twists were rather tortuous, and I didn’t pick up the impersonation going on in the confessional, so was greatly caught up in the last plot movements.I agree with commentators that some of the filming tricks struck exactly the right note. The sequences in the woods were seriously spooky with their blurred shadowy nuances of being followed.The colouration plan was obviously meant to be monochromatic with only ‘splash’ instances of colour? i.e. inside the school and the character’s hair and skin tones are quite black/white – with the priestly stole singularly purple, and outside of course, green was truly green.I rate this movie much more highly than most. At the very least it is of distinctive genre, keeps you viewing (past the small hours) and displays the legendary Burton still able to strut his thespian stuff with the best of them.

  • horvath-szalai-eszter
    horvath szalai eszter

    This movie is somewhat hard to watch because it is slow-paced and low-budget, but the great acting by Richard Burton and the others make up for this. More importantly, it brings up a unique set of issues that other movies do not, at least not in one single movie. The effects of Father Goddard’s favoritism towards apple-polishing Benji at the expense of the more intelligent Dyson. The homoerotic dynamics between Goddard/Benji, Blakey/Benji, Goddard/Dyson, and basically everyone, and the sadism of Benji towards the masochist Dyson (who ultimately is more clever). The biggest issue, more important now than ever, is how crimes can be hidden within the Catholic church which sees itself as above the law and above family/friendship, and well- meaning priests will perpetuate this, because they are inculcated that this is their highest duty. This simple yet extremely intelligent movie shows how the Catholic church can be rendered impotent to protect people because (in theory) its priests are sworn to secrecy, and may not appeal to secular police.

  • gronskis-petras
    gronskis petras

    The beginning is slightly boring but as you get into the film it twists and turns many times giving a great ending. Burton being one of the best actors of all time, gave a brilliant performance. From the tag line and the description of the film, I didn’t think it was going to be a good as it was. The ending was unexpected, so i believe it to be very well written, very well cast and very well directed. This is a must for any Burton fan. I give it a rating of 3 out of 5

  • nusa-resnik
    nusa resnik

    Anthony Shaffer’s scripts are nearly always identifiable by the way they stay cleverly one step ahead of the viewer. In his original scripts, such as The Wicker Man and Sleuth, Shaffer skilfully hides shocking and memorable twists right up to the films’ conclusion. Also in his adapted scripts – such as Frenzy and Death On The Nile – Shaffer manages to generate lots of mystery and suspense before delivering his trademark surprise-solutions. However, in Absolution, a 1978 film scripted by Shaffer and directed by Anthony Page, the twists are somewhat overdone. Indeed, the film becomes positively excessive in its determination to lead the viewer up various blind alleys, in pursuit of countless red herrings. Slowly but surely credibility is strained, until it collapses altogether at the film’s preposterous climax. This is a shame, as the film has an intriguing concept and contains some good performances.At a particularly strict Catholic boarding school, a pupil named Ben Stanfield (Dominic Guard) grows fed up with his reputation as the teacher’s pet of priest Father Goddard (Richard Burton). In a moment of outrageous mischief, he speaks to Father Goddard in the confession box and confesses to him that he has murdered a fellow pupil named Arthur Dyson (Dai Bradley). Goddard is understandably distraught to learn of this, more so because he is bound by duty to keep secret all confessions that are made to him. Later Goddard goes to the place where Ben claims to have buried the corpse, but discovers when he digs it up that it is merely a scarecrow and that he has been the victim of a nasty prank. The plot thickens when Ben again tells Father Goddard that he has murdered his fellow student, but this time a real body turns up. The mental strain on Goddard is immense. On one hand, he knows who the killer is, but on the other he can do nothing because his religion says that whatever is passed in confidence in a confession box must remain forever secret. Mad with despair, Goddard takes desperate measures to put a stop to these evil pranks, only to learn too late that all is not what it seems….Burton’s performance as the priest is pretty good. One must admit that the film is far-fetched and reaches a delirious, hysterical tone by the end, but throughout Burton manages to give a believable and absorbing performance. The pacing is quite good too, with a deliberately slow build-up that lures the viewer into a false sense of security before the genuinely nasty stuff gets underway. In some ways it seems churlish to criticise Shaffer’s script for its twists, because they do at least keep the audience guessing, and few will predict what is coming next. But the thing that makes most of Shaffer’s earlier works so effective is that the twists fit in to the overall narrative with eerie plausibility, whereas in this one they seem extremely contrived and over-the-top. I certainly don’t agree with some reviewers who suggest that the film is an unmitigated disaster, and the fact that U.S distributors shelved the film for 10 years is very unfair in light of some of the absolute rubbish they release straight away. Absolution is a mid-quality audience teaser, not plausible enough to have any long-lasting resonance but tangled enough to keep its audience guessing.

  • toth-gyulane-molnar-jazmin
    toth gyulane molnar jazmin

    By this time in Richard Burton’s career, his level of acting wildly varied from film to film. Fortunately, in “Absolution” he gives a good performance. He is very believable as a humorless figure who sometimes acts very cruelly in the so-called belief that it is doing his students good. But he is not the only good thing about the movie. The script has a story that doesn’t contain any slow spots, and slowly raises the tension as things progress. There is also a twist near the very end that will surprise some viewers, though I must admit I had a little idea that not only were things not quite what they seemed, but also that a character who appeared sporadically up to that point would have to have some play in the end since otherwise he didn’t seem to have any purpose in the movie. But despite this glaring clue, the movie is well worth a look.

  • dr-deger-yildirim-mansiz
    dr deger yildirim mansiz

    I got this film in the 50-pack Drive-in Collection. I had forgotten all about this movie.. I popped it in and about 1/3 of the way into the film I remembered seeing this one a few years ago. WOW what a pleasant blast from the past. So glad they included this forgotten gem in the collection! Yes this film is good – it’s my kind of a mystery-thriller. Although the film is not a horror film, it does get creepy – very creepy. Fans of classic horror movies should enjoy this film along with fans of mystery thrillers. Just an excellent film! The film does start slow… but it is worth it in the end. There is a reason for this seemingly slow start – it will make sense in the end.Great late night flick. One that you will not want to miss anything so have your drink and food ready! 9.5/10

  • ashley-stein
    ashley stein

    It’s a gripping thriller, and Richard Burton is utterly convincing in the kind of role he was born to play (a rigid priest/teacher, but with traces of humanity underneath). But the constant flow of twists results in constant shifts in the characterizations, until the whole thing becomes too far-fetched for its own good. Nonetheless, it certainly didn’t deserve its gross mistreatment by the American distributors, who released it ten years after it was made. (**1/2)