Theatrical Release Poster
Directed by Rupert Wainwright
Produced by Frank Mancuso Jr.
Tom Lazarus
Written by Tom Lazarus
Rick Ramag
Starring Patricia Arquette
Gabriel Byrne
Jonathan Pryce
Nia Long
Rade Šerbedžija
Music by Billy Corgan
Elia Cmiral
Cinematography Jeffrey M. Kimball
Editing by Michael R. Miller
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) September 10, 1999
Running time 109 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Stigmata is a 1999 film directed by Rupert Wainwright and starring Patricia Arquette and Gabriel Byrne.


The film follows the conflict between Frankie (Patricia Arquette), an atheist Pittsburgh hairdresser who exhibits true stigmata, and Father Andrew Kiernan (Gabriel Byrne), a former scientist and ordained Jesuit priest who, as part of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, investigates miracles for the Vatican. Kiernan soon discovers that the stigmata stems from the spirit of Father Paulo Alameida, who was excommunicated for his discovery of a lost Gospel challenging the very foundations of Catholicism by suggesting that Jesus Christ did not want churches built to worship God. When a powerful Vatican cleric, Cardinal Daniel Houseman (Jonathan Pryce), attempts to have Frankie silenced, she and Kiernan go on the run. The movie does not suggest that Jesus Christ did not want churches built for worship; but rather, it suggests that truly believing in your heart and helping others around you is more important than going through the motions of attending a church. The controversial topic is, instead, that Vatican leaders hide modern-day prophecies and mystic experiences in order to keep people from believing. The foundational belief being that evil people have infiltrated the church hierarchy over the years, excommunicating faithful priests for trying to find the truth in modern miracles. The priest and the stigmatic never enter into a sexual relationship; the plot entails that the atheist stigmatic has sexual feelings for the priest, but the priest continuously denies her. The priest character lays in bed with her after a violent, painful, mystical experience because he cares about comforting her. They are fully clothed, and when the Vatican officials find them this way, they later use it against him.

The movie is loosely based on the discovery of the Gospel of Thomas and a verse therein (77: Jesus said: I am the light that is over them all. I am the All; the All has come forth from me, and the All has attained unto me. Split a piece of wood and I am there. Raise up the stone, an ye shall find me there.) ; a document which the Vatican and most other Christians have declared as being the product of a heretical Gnostic group.


The film was controversial for its characterization of Vatican senior clergy as ruthlessly attempting to kill an innocent woman. Also controversial was the blossoming romance between the two main characters - one of whom is a priest. Another factor was the special effects, which appeared to make the manifestation of The Holy Stigmata border on demonic possession. Even the pictorial image on the promotional one sheet owes much to the one used for the film The Exorcist, a film about possession by the Devil.

Box office

Stigmata premiered at the box office in the number one position, earning $18.3 million in its first weekend, becoming the first film in five weekends to outgross The Sixth Sense at the box office.In the United States, Stigmata earned $50,046,268. Overseas the film earned $39,400,000 for a total worldwide gross $89,446,268, and on a budget of $29 million, this is considered a modest box office success.[1].

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