main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Film: The Saint

The Saint is a 1997 film based on the character of Simon Templar created by Leslie Charteris. The film stars Val Kilmer, Elisabeth Shue, and Rade Šerbedžija. It was directed by Phillip Noyce and written by Jonathan Hensleigh and Wesley Strick.

In the movie, Templar is caught trying to steal a microchip from Ivan Tretiak, an ex-communist-turned-billionaire who dominates the gas and oil market in Moscow. Tretiak hires Templar to steal the formula for cold fusion from an American scientist named Dr. Emma Russell in exchange for the $8 million needed for him to reach $50 million, the amount Templar needs in order to retire from thievery for life. Assuming the identity of Thomas More, Templar locates Dr. Russell and attempts to get close enough to steal the formula, but things get very complicated shortly after he realizes he is falling for her...

In this version, Kilmer's character does not claim to be the Simon Templar created by Charteris. He is, in fact, an orphan who chooses his name, Simon Templar — the first name from Simon Magus, and the last name from his childhood heroes, the Knights Templar. He refers to himself as Templar only during a flashback sequence at the start of the film.

It should be noted that a) fans of the Saint loathe this movie and b) Leslie Charteris is never mentioned in the credits. Ironically, despite the noted dissonance between this film and the rest of the franchise, it was produced by the same producer who oversaw the 1960s Roger Moore TV series and 1978 Ian Ogilvy revival, and Moore himself provided a voiceover cameo. Even more ironic, for the novelisation of the movie, Burl Barer, a noted Simon Templar historian, was commissioned to write the book, and he took the opportunity to add elements of traditional Saint continuity to the book; around the same time, perhaps to absolve himself of the sin of being connected to this film, he wrote a "traditional" Saint novel, Capture the Saint, which was the first new Saint novel in 13 years.

The Saint provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adrenaline Makeover: Emma
  • Beeping Computers
  • The Cameo: At the end of the movie the voice of Roger Moore is heard.
  • Car Cushion: Used as a means of escape.
  • Character Name Alias: All of Templar's aliases are the names of Catholic saints.
  • Comic Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Not adapted from a comic book, but in all other ways plays the trope straight.
  • Corporal Punishment: In the flashback, the priest in charge of the orphanage repeatedly canes Simon while he's bent double in an attempt to get him to divulge his name. He doesn't even cry out.
  • Denied Food as Punishment: As a boy, when Simon refused to answer to the religiously themed name given to him by the priests at his orphanage even after being whipped, they declared that not only would he not be fed until he acknowledged his name, none of the other boys would be fed either. Simon held out until the priests left, then picked the lock to the pantry.
  • Diplomatic Impunity: Emma ends up making a dead sprint for the US Embassy, with Tretiak close behind her. He gets the gate slammed in his face by a Marine who tells him to take a hike.
  • Engineered Public Confession: used in reverse. Simon Templar convinces the Russian president to confess to a fraudelent cold fusion project. After the president confesses in response to Ivan Tretiak’s accusations, the cold fusion machine works and destroy’s Tretiak’s credibility. [1]
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: Simon and Emma.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Well, it took about a week. She was mad at him so they had to take things slow.
  • Go-to Alias: Simon Templar liked to use the alias "Sebastian Tombs".
  • Hollywood Nerd: Emma, who becomes less nerdy the more time she spends in Templar's company.
  • Hot Scientist: Dr. Emma Russell.
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: Emma, almost word for word.
  • Information Wants to Be Free: Emma has invented cold fusion, thus solving the world's energy problems. Naturally, many folks want this information quashed.
  • Intimate Healing: Emma saving Simon from hypothermia after he is forced to hide from bad guys in a nearly-frozen river and afterwards they both must hole up in an unheated house.
  • Lost In A Crowd
  • Lovable Rogue: Simon Templar.
  • Lzherusskie: Rade Šerbedžija.
  • Master of Disguise: Simon, natch.
  • Not Staying for Breakfast: When Simon bails on Emma (after romancing her, staying the night, and stealing her formula for cold fusion) he leaves behind a bunch of notes reading "I'm sorry".
  • Parental Abandonment: Simon is an orphan.
  • Patron Saint: The eponymous Saint discusses (inaccurately, but we'll let it slide) what it takes to be made a Catholic Saint, and he kinda-sorta manages the "Three Miracles" part, at least.
  • Technical Pacifist: Oddly, the original Saint had no such code (and indeed, periodically shot people).
  • Themed Aliases: All of Simon Templar's aliases are the names of Catholic saints.

The SaintFranchise/The Saint    
SabrinaCreator/ParamountSaturday Night Fever
Romy And Michele's High School ReunionFilms of the 1990sSelena

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy