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Merton: A Film Biography
A film by Paul Wilkes & Audrey Glynn

57 minutes + 58 minute bonus film, documentary, color, English, 1984

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In his lifetime, Thomas Merton was hailed as a prophet and censured for his outspoken social criticism. For nearly 27 years he was a monk of the austere Trappist order, where he became an eloquent spiritual writer and mystic as well as an anti-war advocate and witness to peace.

Merton: A Film Biography provides the first comprehensive look at this remarkable 20th century religious philosopher who wrote, in addition to his immensely popular autobiography The Seven Storey Mountain, over 60 books on some of the most pressing social issues of our time.

This acclaimed film examines Merton's life and work through insightful interviews with those who knew him, including the Dalai Lama, poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, publisher Robert Giroux, musician Joan Baez, monks he lived with and friends with whom he shared his deepest emotions.

Interwoven with the interviews are passages from Merton's writing and scenes from significant places of his life, such as his birthplace in Prades, France; the Gethsemani monastery in Kentucky; and his final journey to the East, including Bangkok, Thailand, where he died.

Merton offers an engaging profile of a man whose presence in the world touched millions of people and whose words and thoughts continue to have profound impact and relevance today.


"An extraordinary, warm and intimate close-up." - National Catholic Reporter

"A brilliant and creative masterpiece! I doubt one could find a more profitable hour with equal beauty, interest, and inspiration." - M. Basil Pennington

Recommended Reading

The Intimate Merton: His Life from His Journals by Thomas Merton

Living With Wisdom: A Life of Thomas Merton by Jim Forest

Soul Searching: The Journey of Thomas Merton ed. Morgan C. Atkinson & Jonathan Montaldo


The Thomas Merton Center

Abbey of Gethsemani

Merton was named one of the 10 best films about holy men and women by America Magazine.
Read the review here.

Disc Features

●  Bonus film: Remembering Thomas Merton by the Thomas Merton Society (58 minutes)

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