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The Big Fisherman is a 1959 American film directed by Frank Borzage about the later life of Peter, one of the closest disciples of Jesus.

The film is adapted from a novel written by Lloyd C. Douglas. The novel is closely related to Douglas' previous book, The Robe, which was also adapted as a movie.

The Robe ends with "the Big Fisherman" as a nickname for Peter; Jesus called him "the fisher of men" and "the Rock". The story traces Peter's journey from self-sufficient fisherman to his dependency on a risen Christ. It also presents another story of redemption and forgiveness, as he takes in a young runaway Arab girl, Fara. She has come to take vengeance on her father, Herod Antipas, for his treatment of her mother. She is followed by Voldi, an Arab prince who wishes to marry her and take her back home. As they both learn of Jesus, it changes their lives.


The film was shot in Super Panavision 70 (the first film so credited) by Lee Garmes. The original music score was composed by Albert Hay Malotte, an American composer who is best known for his musical setting of The Lord's Prayer, composed in 1935, and introduced on radio that year by John Charles Thomas.

Though originally rejected by Walt Disney because of its religious tone, the film was supported by Roy Disney, and was distributed by Buena Vista, making it one of the few religious films ever associated with the Disney Company.

It was shot on location in the San Fernando Valley in California. Portions were also shot at La Quinta, California.

It also features one of Howard Keel's few non-singing performances prior to his ongoing role as Clayton in the television series Dallas. Keel had risen to fame in MGM film musicals, starring in Annie Get Your Gun, the 1951 Show Boat, and Kiss Me Kate, among others.


  • Howard Keel – Simon Peter
  • Susan Kohner – Fara
  • John Saxon – Voldi
  • Martha Hyer – Herodias
  • Herbert Lom – Herod Antipas
  • Ray Stricklyn – Deran
  • Marian Seldes – Arnon
  • Alexander Scourby – David Ben-Zadok
  • Beulah Bondi – Hannah
  • Jay Barney – John the Baptist
  • Charlotte Fletcher – Rennah
  • Mark Dana – Zendi
  • Rhodes Reason – Andrew
  • Henry Brandon – Menicus
  • Brian G. Hutton – John
  • Tom Troupe – James
  • Marianne Stewart – Ione
  • Jonathan Harris – Lysias
  • Leonard Mudie – Ilderan
  • James Griffith – The Begger
  • Peter Adams – Herod Phillip
  • Michael Mark – Innkeeper
  • Joe di Reda – Arab Assassin
  • Stuart Randall – King Aretas
  • Herbert Rudley – Tiberius
  • Phillip Pine – Lucius
  • Francis McDonald – Scribe Spokesman
  • Leonard Strong – Zebedee
  • Jo Gilbert
  • Don Turner


  • Renié – Costume Designer
  • Frank Borzage – Director
  • Paul Weatherwax – Editor
  • Albert Hay Malotte – Composer (Music Score)
  • Joseph E. Gershenson – Musical Direction/Supervision
  • Bud Westmore – Makeup
  • Frank Westmore – Makeup
  • John De Cuir – Production Designer
  • Lee Garmes – Cinematographer
  • Rowland V. Lee – Producer
  • Julia Heron – Set Designer
  • Howard Estabrook – Screenwriter
  • Rowland V. Lee – Screenwriter
  • Lloyd C. Douglas – Book Author


The film was nominated for three Academy Awards:

  • Lee Garmes for Cinematography
  • Renié for Best Costume Design
  • John DeCuir and Julia Heron for Best Art Direction (color)

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia page The Big Fisherman. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. Text from Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.