Paul’s Promise review: A powerful story of forgiveness and redemption



There was a time that I would spend hours watching TV and movies, but these days I don’t get to do as much of that. I try and take some time each week with my kids and take in some entertainment with them, but other than that, I don’t watch much. The last movie I saw at the theater was Top Gun: Maverick, which was awesome! This time, I was fortunate enough to get a screener of Paul’s Promise.

Paul’s Promise is a faith-based film that tells the story of Paul Holderfield. The movie is strong in its Christian message, which may turn some people away. It is what it is, and that is sad if someone overlooks the film because of it. But looking beyond the Christian message, there is a powerful forgiveness, healing, and redemption story. The story of Paul Holderfield is a unique and touching, and I am glad the filmmakers decided to tell it. You can find a theater near you playing this movie on the Paul’s Promise website.

Paul’s Promise Trailer

Paul’s Promise Cast

  • Ryan O’Quinn: Paul Holderfield
  • Linda Purl: Minnie Holderfield
  • Shari Rigby: Barbara Holderfield
  • Josef Cannon: Jimmy Lipkin
  • Bianca LaVerne Jones: Mary Lipkin
  • Tank Jones: Tank Lipkin
  • Suzanne R. Neff: Billie Jean
  • Nancy Stafford: Judy
  • Babe McGuire: Gertrude
  • Steve Sladaritz: Pastor Van Gorder
  • David Gibson: Dr. Yoder
  • Madison Meade: Nurse Jenny
  • Dean Cain: Captain John Ratliffe


Set in the peak of the 1960s Civil Rights movement, Paul’s Promise is the inspiring true story of Paul Holderfield, former racist firefighter-turned-pastor who started one of the first integrated churches in the American South. It’s one man’s journey to hope and healing during a troubled time in our Nation’s history that resulted in one man’s decision to serve God and stand up to injustice – a story that continues to make a significant impact on the community to this day.

Paul’s Promise chronicles Paul Holderfield, Sr.’s life, who is raised poor and knows what it’s like to go to bed hungry and hear his mother pray at night for food for her children. In the 1950s, during the Little Rock Central High School crisis, Holderfield is a North Little Rock fireman who remembers turning his back on a Black man, hoping he will not recognize him, but he does. His childhood best friend Jimmy Lipkin approaches Paul for a handshake, but Holderfield puts his hands in his back pockets and refuses to shake Lipkin’s hand. Later convicted by his actions, Holderfield tells his wife Barbara that he will never again treat a human being that way.

Ultimately, Holderfield starts Friendly Chapel and F.L.A.M.E. (Feeding and Loving All Men Equally) to help others and spends the rest of his life giving back to anyone in need. Fully dedicated to meeting people’s needs, Holderfield builds an organization that serves others for 30+ years, meeting the nutritional (through a soup kitchen/food pantry), emotional, physical (clothing, shelter), spiritual, and health needs of others 24/7, 365 days a year. His life’s work continues to this day through his extended family.


Pauls Promise Movie min


The main character, Paul Holderfield, is played by Ryan O’Quinn, with Linda Purl playing Holderfield’s mother, Minnie, and Josef Cannon playing the role of Jimmy Lipkin. Dean Cain is also cast in this film as Captain John Ratliffe, but his role is a minor supporting one.

Paul’s Promise is held up by the talents of five actors in this film, all performing fantastically. Ryan O’Quinn’s portrayal of Paul Holderfield was intense and emotion-filled. You could feel Paul’s struggle with alcohol and his fear of becoming his father through O’Quinn.

Linda Purl was fantastic as Minnie Holderfield; her performance made you feel like she was your momma, not just Paul’s. She brought sincerity, wisdom, honor, and courage to Minnie, bringing her to life on the screen. Her performance, paired with O’Quinn’s, held the film together with a tight bond.

Josef Cannon as Jimmy Lipkin was something special. Lipkin brought the struggles of the racist ’60s right in your face; and all of the hurt, pain, and injustice that came with it. Bianca LaVerne Jones as Jimmy’s wife, Mary Lipkin, was equally amazing to watch.

Finally, Shari Rigby as Paul’s wife, Barbara Holderfield, played the role of the struggling and hurt wife of an alcoholic very well.

The cast of Paul’s Promise was fantastic across the board, but the actors who played the main characters drove the film for me. Fantastic performances. It would have been nice to have seen Dean Cain take a more prominent role, as I have enjoyed his performances in the past. His limited screen time in this film was good, though.


Paul’s Promise is undoubtedly not a big-budget Hollywood film, but it doesn’t have to be. The filmmakers did a fantastic job with the budget that they had. It didn’t look or feel like a low-budget movie, and the script was excellent.

The filmmakers did an excellent job of keeping the flow of the story moving along. The way they explained and set up each character, story, and backstory was fluid and seamless.

The pacing was good, and there weren’t any moments where I felt like I was tuning out. I didn’t see anything that felt out of place or unnecessary.

Overall, the film was well-written, produced, and cast. I thoroughly enjoyed the quality and production of this film.

Wrap Up

Paul’s Promise is in theaters now. There were no theaters near me to watch this, so I am grateful to Uptone Pictures for providing a screener for me to do this review.

I’m sure that there will be many who will dismiss this film due to its Christian message, and that’s fine. I found it to be a moving and convicting story. Perhaps it moved me as it reminded me of my father. Seeing Minnie Holderfield in her final moments brought back both sad and joyful memories of my experience.

I think we could all use the movie’s strong message of faith, friendship, courage, honor, and doing the right thing right now. With so much division among friends and family, maybe it’s time to turn that story around. Even if you disagree with some of it, Paul’s Promise is an encouraging and dynamic film worth watching. At least, I think so.


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