Approved for 12+

Paul’s Promise

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 – a story that continues to make a huge impact on the community to this day.

Negative Rating
Positive Rating

Dove Review

Paul’s Promise takes place in 1967 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Paul Holdenfield (Ryan O’Quinn) works as a firefighter. He has a troubled past, works in a racist environment and is not present for his family. While the movie focuses on the transformation of Paul, most of the story is centered around Paul’s mother, Minnie (Linda Purl).

Minnie is a strong Christian who loves Paul. When she is diagnosed with cancer, you see her struggle with the reality that her work on earth is not done yet. She prays fervently for Paul to go to church and develop a relationship with Christ.

The story focuses on the dynamic of Paul and Minnie while also following what is happening in Paul’s life at the time. Racial tensions are incredibly high in the community. At work, Paul and his wife (Shari Rigby) are struggling, and Paul is also struggling with himself and the man he is versus the man he should be.

Ultimately we see how Paul has a heart transformation in all areas of his life. He repairs relationships with his childhood best friend (Josef Cannon), reestablishes his role in his family, and helps shift the narrative at work. Paul’s Promise is a touching story about a mother’s love and the power of redemption.

We do want to mention a trigger warning for racial and domestic violence in flashback scenes.

Dove Take

This incredible true story teaches us that redemption is possible even in the most unlikely of stories. Paul Holderfield’s heart transformation changed not only his family, but also his community.

Dove Rating Details


Christian film focused on the power of prayer. Minnie prays for Paul throughout the film.


Themes of forgiveness, redemption, and love prevailing over hate. “We all get lost sometimes. What is important is what we do when we find our way back.” Faith-based messages about the power of prayer and how God’s love and involvement are ever present.


Not present.


Racist attitudes are expressed using the words “coloreds,” “negro,” and “cracker.” Other language includes “crap” and “hell.”


White children throw stones and chase a Black child with the intent to harm. A racist yells hateful things at a Black man. Arson attacks. Frequent verbal references to domestic abuse, reinforced by flashbacks to a man yelling at his crying wife.


Frequent smoking, including at a hospital. Main character drinks to excess frequently, which is a recurring topic of conversation and concern. A few scenes show him making an active choice to stop drinking.


Not present.



More Information