Runner Stumbles
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Director Stanley Kramer ended his career with this absorbing drama, adapted from the play by Milan Stitt and based on a real-life event from 1927. Dick Van Dyke stars as Father Rivard, an intellectual priest in a small, impoverished mining town in the state of Washington. A lonely man with low self-esteem, Rivard is depressed by the arduous and dreary lives of his flock, until the arrival of Sister Rita (Kathleen Quinlan), a bright, spirited young nun who joins his parish to teach at its school. Rita appreciates Rivard on a level that few others in the community can, and soon the priest falls… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 44%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Throughout, the film is paced by fine performances, especially Van Dyke as Father Rivard, Quinlan as Sister Rita and Maureen Stapleton as Van Dyke's housekeeper."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"In its relentlessly old-fashioned way, The Runner Stumbles has a sort of dramatic persistence: It's not great, but it's there."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"The Runner Stumbles is an exceptionally fine film about the exigencies of a religious calling and a critique of the legalism within Christianity."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"Deadly earnestness over Van Dyke's tortured celibacy becomes risible long before the Perry Mason conclusion and a final scene of indescribable bathos."
‑ , Time Out
"A compelling and memorable drama, via Stanley Kramer."
‑ Phil Hall, Film Snobbery
"Mr. Van Dyke's performance, though extremely sympathetic, is hard to assess. He worries and suffers, but the film finds nothing vital in his ordeal."
‑ Janet Maslin, New York Times
"The main problem with the film is that inherent to most play adaptations: it's too talky and static, with most of the responsibility for story development left to explanatory dialog."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
More reviews for Runner Stumbles on Rotten Tomatoes