A mix of comedy and drama ensues as Father F tries to rein in his young assistant, while O'Malley hatches various plans to get the church back from in the red, and more importantly, impact the lives of their flock. One of these plans is to form a boys' choir from the local gang of urchins who, left to their own devices, roam the streets and get into trouble with the law. O'Malley befriends them and convinces them to give the choir a try. This unfortunately leads to Father F's breaking point,as we see in a humorous scene when, as he's praying in the sanctuary, the sacred silence is broken by the boys bellowing out "Three Blind Mice" in the church basement. This is the final straw, and Father Fitzgibbons goes to the Bishop to ask him to transfer Father O'Malley. He is shocked to find that O'Malley was actually sent to take over at St Dominic's and get it back on it's feet, but out of kindness posed as his assistant so that Father F could remain nominally in charge. The rest of the movie deals with Father Fitzgibbon coming to terms with this. He slowly learns to appreciate and trust O'Malley, and when disaster strikes, they face it together as a united front.
Barry Fitzgerald is brilliant in this role, and he and Bing Crosby have great chemistry on screen. It's no surprise that Fitzgerald was nominated for two Oscars for it, winning Best Supporting Actor. The film won seven Academy Awards in total, including Crosby as Best Actor, and Best Song, 'Swinging On A Star' (Fitzgerald later accidentally decapitated his Oscar with a golf club). It also spawned a sequel, The Bells Of St Mary, which stars Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman, but sadly, not Fitzgerald.
Going My Way is a truly funny and heartwarming film, with great music, great characters, and a great message. It's well worth your time, St Patrick's or any other day of the year.