Also known as "The Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican", The Scarlet and the Black tells the true story of a Holy Office notary who, during Nazi occupation of Rome, covertly ran an underground railroad for Jews, anti-Fascists, and escaped Allied POWs. 1983, CBS [made for TV]. Directed by Jerry London. Defying a Nazi colonel (Christopher Plummer), Vatican Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty (Gregory Peck) hides thousands of escaped POWs in occupied Rome.


This film is a classic portrait of courage and creativity in extremely dangerous circumstances. Great to watch with kids who enjoy exciting real-life heroes.


Team Virtue



Creative problem solving


Acting upon good & resolute beliefs, despite danger


Unwavering endurance


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Read the book that tells the true story of the "Scarlet and the Black"

Excerpt from the book description: "It has all the hallmarks of a best-selling fictional thriller: espionage, conspiracy, a struggle against evil powers, undercover work by dark of night... but it's all true. The Scarlet and the Black tells the astonishing and heroic true story of Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, the man dubbed "The Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican" during World War II. Born in Killarney, Ireland, Hugh O’Flaherty was an avid athlete— becoming a formidable boxer, handball player, hurler, and golfer. From an early age, however, he knew his calling was to the priesthood. After his ordination, he served first as an Apostolic Delegate in Egypt, Haiti, Santo Domingo, and Czechoslovakia, then in Rome at the Holy Office (now the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith). It was here in Rome that his greatest work began. After the surrender of Italy in 1943, Rome came under the command of Nazi Colonel Herbert Kappler of the dreaded SS, who began the deportation of Italian Jews to Auschwitz. Kappler was a notorious hater of the Jews, persecuting them at every turn. As a top man in the Vatican Holy Office, Msgr. O’Flaherty sprang into action, organizing a sophisticated team that included men and women of many nationalities, religions, and political views. There was one goal— to save Jews and POWs from the Nazi machine. Despite Kappler’s numerous attempts to assassinate him, O’Flaherty persisted, and his efforts saved thousands of Jews and POWs." Read More

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Fellowship and Fairy Dust: Movie Review

Get a sense of why there's so much to enjoy in this film about a heroic priest in disguise. Read More

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DecentFilms: The Scarlet and the Black

Excerpt from the film review: "Riveting and edifying, this WWII drama stars Gregory Peck as Msgr. Hugh O’Flaherty, a plain-speaking, straight-dealing Irish priest who boldly aids enemies of the Third Reich under the watchful eye of Christopher Plummer’s Nazi Lt. Col. Herbert Kappler. Their cat-and-mouse game is thrilling and great fun, and culminates in a startling showdown in a very significant setting." Read More

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