In 1917, three children reported that the Virgin Mary appeared to them near the village of Fatima in Portugal and commanded them to return to the spot on the 13th day of each month. Despite the efforts of the Portuguese government and the Catholic church, huge throngs of the faithful would gather and on October 13 the sun was seen to lurch toward the Earth and several in the crowd reported miraculous cures. These events are depicted more or less accurately here, although being a Hollywood product, the film takes certain liberties with the characters. However, the film does work on an entertainment level. Whitney, Jackson, and Ogg are the children who see the apparition, and Roland is their adult friend, a dropout from the church who counsels the children to keep their visions to themselves because he knows the troubles the church and government will give them. The swarms of pilgrims who descended on Fatima during the "Holy Year" of 1951 inspired Warner Bros. to produce the film. Max Steiner's musical direction earned an Oscar nomination.