Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1980s Absolution (1981)

Absolution (1981)

Father Goddard (Richard Burton), an austere schoolmaster-priest at a Roman Catholic boarding school in England, considers standout student Benjie Stanfield (Dominic Guard) to be an ideal candidate for the priesthood. But Stanfield’s friendship with local hippy, Blakey (Billy Connolly,) leads to murder.

His confession to Father Goddard that he’s killed Blakey – and his tormenting of Goddard based on the rule that the priest cannot reveal anything shared in confession – drives the priest insane and he goes into the woods to dig up the corpse.

Lashings of Catholic guilt pervade this totally bonkers potboiler, and it might never have been released had it not been for the star presence of Burton (looking much the worse for wear after years of alcoholism), the film’s only point of interest.

The inevitable twist ending might strike some viewers as a bit of a stretch, and, indeed, the final scene – which features an Agatha Christie-style explanation for various mysterious events – is laborious.

Father Goddard
Richard Burton
Benjie Stanfield
Dominic Guard
Billy Connolly
Andrew Keir
Arthur Dyson
David Bradley
Brigadier Walsh
Willoughby Gray
Father Hibbert
Preston Lockwood
Father Clarence
Brook Williams
Father Matthews
James Ottaway
Mrs Hoskins
Hilda Fenemore
Sharon Duce
Miss Froggatt
Hilary Mason
Robert Addie
Trevor Martin

Anthony Page