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Back in 1989, Paulist Pictures produced Romero, a low-budget biopic that tells that story of Salvadoran Archbishop Óscar Romero. This incredible film follows the fascinating life of Romero, a man who rose through the ranks to become the Archbishop of San Salvador. While initially elected so he could keep his mouth shut and go with the flow, Romero ended up speaking out against the corruption in the government, amazing people with his incredible stand for what he believed. The film follows the whole life of Romero, from his appointment as Archbishop all the way to his eventual death where he made a final stand for what he believed.
With a runtime of 102 minutes, this 1989 film features Raúl Juliá, Richard Jordan, Ana Alicia, Harold Gould, Eddie Velez, and Tony Plana. It was produced by Paulist Pictures and was distributed by Warner Brothers. With a very modest budget of $10,000, they were able to create a stunning film chronicling the life of an incredible man. This incredible story features a man who stood up for what he believed and spoke out against a tyrannical government. Even when he was threatened with persecution and even death, he stood up for what he knew to be right, eventually paying the ultimate sacrifice. Romero is a fascinating film that tells a powerful true story.
Although the film adds a few fictitious character to flesh out the plot, the content of the film is absolutely true. Romero was a man in real life who truly was elected to the position of Archbishop. And in the end, he really did die for his beliefs while holding a forbidden mass. His story has inspired many to follow in his footsteps and he has encouraged many others to fight back and fight for religious freedom. Romero serves to tell his story to a new generation.
Romero is the very first feature film to have been created by Paulist Pictures, an offshoot video production company from the Paulist Fathers, a society of Roman Catholic priests. This has been documented as the first major film produced by a Catholic company. Paulist Pictures later went on to produce a long-running television show known as Insight. This movie was originally seen at the 1989 Toronto International Film Festival. The film was created by Australian filmmaker John Duigan, was produced by Paulist Pictures founder Father Ellwood Kieser, and was composed by Gabriel Yared, who would later go on to win several BAFTAs and an Oscar.
Romero is an independent film biopic based on the life of Óscar Romero, a man famous for becoming the Archbishop of El Salvador. The beginning of the movie takes us to the year 1977 during a Salvadoran presidential election. While normally, presidential elections would be monumental occasions for a country, but unfortunately, this was a fraudulent election. Purposefully designed to get a certain candidate into office, this spun El Salvador into a state of public unrest. Unrest reached a record high in the country, causing people to worry about the future of their nation.
This became the beginning of a guerilla uprising, a group of people determined to put a stop to this new corrupt system of government. As they tried to fight back for religious freedom and basic human rights, the government began sending in death squads; armies of men to torture, imprison, or kill anyone who spoke out against the nation. The military was also able to stop average citizens from getting to the polls. Men and women would come in from all over the country to vote, arriving to polling stations in buses. Romero depicts the military as blocking these buses and therefore preventing the people from voting or having a say in how the election turned out. This led to more unrest, but it seemed that the government was determined to win and continue on in their corruption.
In the midst of all of this, the Vatican decided to give the position of Archbishop of San Salvador to Óscar Romero, a quiet man of faith who they hoped would stay out of the skirmish. They had hoped that with his quiet and conservative personality, he would try to do his job quietly and stay out of the way. The last thing they wanted was for their archbishop to begin speaking out and raise questions or concerns. However, they didn’t realize that he had a very strong relationship with Father Grande, an outspoken and liberal thinker who helped Romero to be willing to speak out. In the beginning Romero found himself afraid of the government’s tyranny and so he stayed out of the way. But over time, as he got more into his position and role, he found himself unable to remain silent.
The turning point comes when his mentor, Father Grande, is assassinated for his outspoken nature. Eventually withdrawing his support from the government, Romero began to take a stand against the corrupt government, bringing other priests around the country together to work together and fight back. Things began to escalate when the slogan “Be a Patriot – Kill a Priest” started getting passed around. Romero knew that things were getting worse, and he was a wanted man. Refusing to give in, though, he continued to do what he could to take a stand and save those who had been imprisoned. Eventually, he was holding mass (a forbidden event at the time), when he was assassinated for following his beliefs and convictions. Romero’s life is an inspiration to never back down and to always fight for your faith, even if it means losing your life in the process.
Romero is a fascinating and enjoyable biopic that gives an in-depth look at the life of an incredible archbishop. If you are interested in his story and want to know more about it, or are simply curious to add to your historical knowledge, Romero is a must watch. His powerful story is one that will inspire you to take a stand for what you believe in – no matter the cost.
Romero, he started a revolution without guns, without an army, without fear. Because one man's courage can be the most powerful weapon of all.