O Pagador de Promessas
Original poster in Portuguese
Directed byAnselmo Duarte
Written byAnselmo Duarte
Based onO Pagador de Promessas
by Dias Gomes
Produced byOswaldo Massaini
StarringLeonardo Villar
Glória Menezes
Norma Bengell
Dionísio Azevedo
CinematographyH. E. Fowle
Edited byCarlos Coimbra
Music byGabriel Migliori
Distributed byCinedistri
Release date
  • August 6, 1962 (1962-08-06)[1]
Running time
91 minutes

O Pagador de Promessas (Portuguese pronunciation: [u paɡaˈdoʁ dʒi pɾoˈmɛsɐs], Keeper of Promises[2]) is a 1962 Brazilian drama film written and directed by Anselmo Duarte, based on the famous stage play of the same name by Dias Gomes. Shot in Salvador, Bahia, it stars Leonardo Villar.[1]

It won the Palme d'Or at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival,[3] becoming the first film by a Brazilian director to achieve that feat. A year later, it also became the first Brazilian and South American film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


Zé do Burro (Leonardo Villar) is a landowner from Nordeste. His best friend is a donkey. When his donkey falls terminally ill, Zé promises to a Candomblé orisha, Iansan, that if his donkey recovers, he will give away his land to the poor and carry a cross all the way from his farm to the Saint Bárbara Church in Salvador, Bahia, where he will offer the cross to the local priest. Upon the recovery of his donkey, Zé leaves on his journey, covering a distance of 7 léguas (46 km; 29 miles). The movie begins as Zé, followed by his wife Rosa (Glória Menezes), arrives outside the church. The local priest (Dionísio Azevedo) refuses to accept the cross once he hears about Zé's "pagan" pledge and the reasons behind it. Everyone attempts to manipulate the innocent and naive Zé. For example, the local Candomblé worshippers want to use him as a leader against the discrimination they suffer from the Roman Catholic Church. The sensationalist newspapers transform his promise to give away his land into a "communist" call for land reform (which remains a highly controversial issue in Brazil). When Zé is shot by the police to prevent his entry into the church, the Candomblé worshippers place his dead body on the cross and force their way into the church.

Main cast

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

Cannes Film Festival

Cartagena Film Festival

San Francisco International Film Festival[5]

See also


  1. ^ a b "O Pagador de Promessas" (in Portuguese). Cinemateca Brasileira. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  2. ^ The title translates literally as The Payer of Promises, but the film has been known by several other names in the English-speaking world, such as Keeper of Promises, The Given Word and The Promise.
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: O Pagador de Promessas". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-02-23.
  4. ^ "The 35th Academy Awards (1963) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
  5. ^ "Keeper of Promises". sffs.org. Retrieved December 11, 2014.