Marjoe is a 1972 American documentary film produced and directed by Howard Smith and Sarah Kernochan about the life of evangelistMarjoe Gortner. It won the 1972 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
Marjoe was a precocious child preacher with extraordinary talents, who was immensely popular in the American South. His parents earned large sums of money off him up until the point he outgrew his novelty. Marjoe rejoined the ministry as a young adult solely as a means of earning a living, and not as a believer; he spent the next several years using his fame and status as an evangelist to defraud a small fortune out of individuals both through tent revivals and televangelism.
Eventually, Gortner suffered a crisis of conscience and decided to renounce his ways, offering the documentary film crew unrestricted access to him during his final revival tour. The film contains scenes from genuine revival meetings showing Gortner preaching and praying for people, interspersed with footage of Gortner admitting on camera that he was a non-believer and revealing the tactics used by himself and other evangelists to manipulate people.
Part documentary, part expose, this film follows one-time child evangelist Marjoe Gortner on the “church tent” Revivalist circuit, commenting on the showmanship of Evangelism and “the religion business”, prior to the start of “televangelism”.Marjoe,