Molokai: The Story of Fr. Damien (1999)

A biopic of St. Damien, a Belgian priest who sought to ease the suffering and raise the dignity of leprosy patients living at the Kalaupapa Leprosy Settlement on the Hawaiian island of Molokai in 1873. The film features David Wenham as Damien as well as other familiar faces such as Sam Neill, Derek Jacobi, Alice Krige, Peter O'Toole, Kris Kristofferson and Tom Wilkinson.

Synopsis from IMDb:
Exile to Molokai was the means with which leprosy was dealt with in the Hawaiian Islands during the late 1800s. Molokai was an untamed isle located between the islands of Oahu and Maui. Abandoned for all extents and purposes, the lepers attempted to scrape out a living in their squalor without outside aid or care. Enter the courageous Father Damien. He was the first priest to go to Molokai. And even though his bishop strictly warned him that "he must not touch anyone," Father Damien risked his life and health to reach out to the suffering.

Gradually, Father Damien was able to gain the trust of the lepers. Additionally, and more importantly, his cries for additional help were heard and heeded by others. The success of his appeals was unbelievably dismaying to superiors who were more interested respect and riches than reaching out to the suffering.

Eventually, as expected Father Damien was also afflicted. This, however, only seemed to provide him with an even greater drive to ameliorate the conditions of his now "fellow" lepers. After collapsing during Mass, he was carried to the very hospital that he himself had established where he died.

David Wenham as Father Damien
Kate Ceberano as Princess Liliuokalani
Jan Decleir as Bishop Köckerman
Chris Haywood as Clayton Strawn
Derek Jacobi as Father Leonor Fouesnel
Keanu Kapuni-Szasz as Malulani
Alice Krige as Mother Marianne Cope
Kris Kristofferson as Rudolph Meyer
Leo McKern as Bishop Maigret
Sam Neill as Prime Minister Walter Murray Gibson
Peter O'Toole as William Williamson
Dirk Roofthooft as Father Louis Lambert Conrardy
Tom Wilkinson as Brother Joseph Dutton
Aden Young as Dr. Kalewis



  1. i had no idea there was/is a film version of Molokai! Thanks for bringing it to my attention. And, Sam Neill is in it! Bonus!

  2. This movie looks excellent! Thanks for the tip!

  3. Been years since I watched this one, but it's in my DVD shelf (I collect Sam Neill films). :) The story of how I got the DVD is quite funny, actually. I ordered it, and when it arrived ... it was the wrong DVD. Expected: Serious period drama based on reality about a priest on a leprocy colony. Got: pornography. (Just imagine the disappointment if the person it was intended for got my order instead!) Had it been a film I didn't mind, I might've kept it and just re-ordered Molokai, which would've been cheaper than returning it from Sweden turned out to be. Oh well, you live and learn!

  4. bookfool and phylly,
    I'm looking forward to watching this one too!

    what a mixup! Definitely not a similar movie :)



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