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Black Narcissus (1947)

Not Rated | | Drama | December 1947 (USA)
2:34 | Trailer

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After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension - both with the natives and also within their own group - as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings.


(adapted from the novel by), | 1 more credit »
Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Jenny Laird ...
The Old General
The Young General
Mr. Dean
May Hallatt ...
Angu Ayah
Eddie Whaley Jr. ...
Joseph Anthony
Shaun Noble ...
Nancy Roberts ...
Mother Dorothea
Ley On ...


Sister Clodagh, currently posted at the Convent of the Order of the Servants of Mary in Calcutta, has just been appointed the Sister Superior of the St. Faith convent, making her the youngest sister superior in the order. The appointment is despite the reservations of the Reverend Mother who believes Sister Clodagh not ready for such an assignment, especially because of its isolated location. The convent will be a new one located in the mountainside Palace of Mopu in the Himalayas, and is only possible through the donation by General Todo Rai of Mopu - "The Old General" - of the palace, where the Old General's father formerly kept his concubine. On the Old General's directive, the convent is to provide schooling to the children and young women, and general dispensary services to all native residents who live in the valley below the palace. Accompanying Sister Clodagh will be four of the other nuns, each chosen for a specific reason: Sister Briony for her strength, Sister Phillipa who ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A story of exquisite yearning in a strange and beautiful land. Towering over the screen...as the mountains that saw it happen. See more »




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

December 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Narciso negro  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


£280,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The embroidery being done by Sister Clodagh is of St Francis of Assisi. See more »


Near the beginning the bell for the future school and infirmary is rung. As the bell swings forward towards the viewer it partially disappears behind some scenery that depicts landscape which is supposed to be behind the bell. See more »


Mother Dorothea: -
[With Sister Clodagh: looking at photos of the palace at Mopu]
Mother Dorothea: The house is nine thousand feet up - very cold, but good air. General Toda Rai, who has invited us to Mopu, has promised us every help. He was a little afraid when he learned that we are bound to our order only by yearly vows. I explained this rule to him.
Sister Clodagh: Yes, Reverend Mother.
Mother Dorothea: For more than a century, to serve voluntarily has been one of the glories of our Order.
Sister Clodagh: And our greatest strength.
Mother Dorothea: Exactly. He understands now. Is there ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits:- Convent of the Order of the Servants Calcutta See more »


Referenced in Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You (2011) See more »


Lullay My Liking
Old Edwardian Carol
Music by Sir Richard Terry
New music by Brian Easdale
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User Reviews

Brooding atmosphere of its own...gorgeous color photography...
6 May 2001 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

Deborah Kerr is designated to establish a convent in the Himalayas at a remote cliffside dwelling, a palace of dubious origin. She takes her assignment seriously and faces strange customs and unfamiliar peoples as well as a harsh climate. There are inner struggles as well, and Kerr is excellent at revealing these. Huge closeups reveal what her character is supposedly thinking as she peers at others, often in unspoken disapproval of their actions, particularly David Farrar, Jean Simmons (as an Indian girl), and Kathleen Byron--who gives the film's most urgent performance as the distraught nun with worldly pleasures on her mind. Kerr gives a faultless performance, the mainstay of the film, since most of the story is seen from her viewpoint.

The striking color photography and set decoration were rightfully awarded Oscars. A haunting, powerful study of the effects of loneliness and isolation on a group of nuns--and what happens when one of them goes beserk. The struggle between the two nuns at the bell tower is one of the most gripping climaxes ever. A richly detailed British film with a windswept atmosphere all its own.

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