Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Lilies of the Field (1963)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Lilies of the Field (1963)

In director Ralph Nelson's drama - adapted by James Poe from a novel by William E. Barrett:

  • the opening scene of handyman/carpenter and ex-GI Homer Smith (Oscar-winning Sidney Poitier) arriving at a farm in the Arizona desert asking for water for his station wagon: ("My car's thirsty. Can I please have some water?") and being recruited by East German, Austrian and Hungarian immigrant nuns ("God is good. He has sent me a big, strong man")
  • the scenes of them, especially Mother Superior Maria Marthe (Lilia Skala), coaxing him to stay more than a few hours and help them to fix things: the fence, the roof - and to build a chapel (pronounced 'shappel')
  • his confrontations with the character of the stern and harsh but good-hearted Mother Superior - in particular to get paid for his work, as they spouted conflicting Bible quotes, such as: (Homer: "And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his hire." Mother Maria: "Cast in thy lot amongst us, let us all have one purse..." and "Why take thee thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin. Yet I say unto you, not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these")
Building the Chapel - Finishing Up with the Church Steeple
  • after completing the building of the chapel, the last scene when Homer taught English to the German nuns by way of the spiritual song "Amen" (they sang the refrain as he led), and then slipped out the door (while still singing), to depart in his packed station wagon to drive off quietly into the night (with "Amen" as "The End")
Teaching the Nuns to Sing "Amen" and Then Departing

Arizona Desert - Water Needed for Homer's Station Wagon

Mother Superior: "God is good. He has sent me a big strong man"

Plans for a Chapel

Confronting Mother Superior Maria


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