MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 1,431 this week

Black Narcissus (1947)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  December 1947 (USA)
8.0
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.0/10 from 14,186 users  
Reviews: 129 user | 103 critic

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.

Writers:

(adapted from the novel by), , 1 more credit »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

IMDb Picks: April

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in April.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

yes
a list of 26 titles
created 28 Sep 2010
 
a list of 25 titles
created 03 Nov 2011
 
a list of 42 titles
created 26 Jun 2013
 
list image
a list of 29 titles
created 25 Sep 2013
 
a list of 30 titles
created 6 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Black Narcissus" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Black Narcissus (1947)

Black Narcissus (1947) on IMDb 8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Black Narcissus.

User Polls

Won 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Red Shoes (1948)
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A young ballet dancer is torn between the man she loves and her pursuit to become a prima ballerina.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Anton Walbrook, Marius Goring, Moira Shearer
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

From the Boer War through World War II, a soldier rises through the ranks in the British military.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Roger Livesey, Deborah Kerr, Anton Walbrook
Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A British wartime aviator who cheats death must argue for his life before a celestial court.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: David Niven, Kim Hunter, Robert Coote
Peeping Tom (1960)
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A young man murders women, using a movie camera to film their dying expressions of terror.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Karlheinz Böhm, Anna Massey, Moira Shearer
Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A 'Land Girl', an American GI, and a British soldier find themselves together in a small Kent town on the road to Canterbury. The town is being plagued by a mysterious "glue-man", who pours... See full summary »

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Eric Portman, Sheila Sim, Dennis Price
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Joan Webster is an ambitious and stubborn middle-class English woman determined to move forward since her childhood. She meets her father in a fancy restaurant to tell him that she will ... See full summary »

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Wendy Hiller, Roger Livesey, George Carney
49th Parallel (1941)
Drama | War | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A WW2 U-boat crew is stranded in northern Canada. To avoid internment, they must make their way to the border and get into the still-neutral USA.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Leslie Howard, Laurence Olivier, Richard George
Hour of Glory (1949)
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

As the Germans drop explosive booby-traps on 1943 England, the embittered expert who'll have to disarm them fights a private battle with alcohol.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: David Farrar, Jack Hawkins, Kathleen Byron
Night Ambush (1957)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Led by British officers, partisans on Crete plan to kidnap the island's German commander and smuggle him to Cairo to embarrass the occupiers.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Marius Goring, David Oxley
Gone to Earth (1950)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A beautiful, superstitious, animal-loving Gypsy is hotly desired by a fox-hunting squire...even after she marries a clergyman.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Jennifer Jones, David Farrar, Cyril Cusack
Fantasy | Music | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A melancholy poet reflects on three women he loved and lost in the past: a mechanical performing doll, a Venetian courtesan, and the consumptive daughter of a celebrated composer.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Moira Shearer, Robert Rounseville, Ludmilla Tchérina
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Meeting a stranger in a railway station, a woman is tempted to cheat on her husband.

Director: David Lean
Stars: Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, Stanley Holloway
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Flora Robson ...
Jenny Laird ...
Judith Furse ...
...
...
The Old General
...
The Young General
...
Mr. Dean
...
Kanchi
May Hallatt ...
Angu Ayah
Eddie Whaley Jr. ...
Joseph Anthony
Shaun Noble ...
Con
Nancy Roberts ...
Mother Dorothea
Ley On ...
Phuba
Edit

Storyline

Sister Clodah is dispatched with four other nuns to establish a new convent far in the Himalayas. It's a difficult journey and their new house is a ramshackle old building on the edge of a cliff that had been abandoned by a religious Brotherhood many years before. They soon establish a school and an infirmary though the local General's agent, Mr. Dean, warns them against treating the deathly ill as they would no doubt be blamed if the patient doesn't recover. The location, the culture and the mountain air all begin to have a strange effect on the Sisters. Sister Clodagh, who is also on her first assignment as Sister Superior, begins to remember a romance she had as a young woman before entering the sisterhood. Another however, becomes obsessed with Mr. Dean, which leads to tragedy. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

nun | convent | cliff | doubt | mountain | See All (206) »

Taglines:

A Story to Storm Your Heart! Drama at the top of the world ... where winds of the exotic past sweep men and women to strange and fascinating adventure... See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

December 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Narciso negro  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

£280,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

For the scenes depicting the villagers, Michael Powell and his team had a ready supply of extras. As Powell wrote, "...when the war was just over, there was an immense floating population of Asians around London Docks, and we had no difficulty in building up a list of extras for the crowd scenes: Malays, Indians, Gurkhas, Nepalese, Hindus, Pakistanis, hundreds of them. We formed groups of different castes and races, and each group had a leader." See more »

Goofs

During a shot of the Himalayan mountains, stagehands can be seen standing and walking about behind the scrim on which the mountains are painted. See more »

Quotes

Sister Ruth: Sister, the schoolroom is overflowing with children. We've nothing unpacked yet. No one understands the language. There are too many of them anyway, and they all smell!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in A Matter of Michael & Emeric (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Lullay My Liking
Old Edwardian Carol
Music by Sir Richard Terry
New music by Brian Easdale
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Beautiful and Powerful
2 February 2001 | by (Pittsburgh, PA USA) – See all my reviews

The idea of one individual's inner conflicts within an organized religious group is not necessarily a new concept in story telling. Depending on the talents of the artists involved, and usually the stellar performance of one individual, the results can be quite good, and at times extraordinary.

Now, take that premise and reverse it. What happens when you have an entire group of individuals, who, for some reason beyond their understanding, begin to question their faith, vows, and purpose in life? You have the film Black Narcissus.

A group of Anglican nuns led by Deborah Kerr as Sister Clodah are sent to the Himalaya Mountains to create a school and hospital from an abandoned palace. The palace was once called "The House of Women" and is rather ornately decorated with erotic art. In the opening scenes, we are told that an order of Brothers had attempted to do the same thing as the Sisters, but failed.

Sister Clodah obviously enjoys the fact that she has been chosen, and also enjoys being in charge. Not long after the nun's arrival their "straight-laced" behavior begins to loosen, their discipline becomes more lax, and the foundation of their self-image begins to change.

Deborah Kerr is wonderful as Sister Clodah. There's more to her character than immediately meets the eye. David Farrar as Mr. Dean, Flora Robson as Sister Philippa, Sabu as The Young General, and Jean Simmons as Kanchi are a superb acting ensemble. However it is Kathleen Byron as the emotionally disturbed Sister Ruth that you will remember the most after viewing this film.

The extraordinary performances in this film are complimented visually with the flawless cinematography by Jack Cardiff. This is one of the most beautifully composed color films I have ever seen. I did not know that this film was shot entirely in a studio until after I had seen it several times. Some of the matte shots are extremely realistic, and others look more like beautiful paintings. All this serves to reinforce the struggle between illusion and reality, and also passion and chastity.

Brian Easdale's musical score is extremely effective, and his use of a wordless chorus is fascinating -- whether they are singing an Irish folk-like song or an Indian chant. In the climactic scene, there is over 10 minutes of film time when not a single word is spoken; just the chorus and orchestra.

Black Narcissus brings home the point that we are all sometimes far too ambitious, vulnerable, obstinate, passionate, and alas, human.


48 of 53 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Films that have the same look and feel smdpi-mail-com
Sister Ruth's mental condition erlend2
Sister Ruth removes book from table in face-off scene jumpy5
The real psychotic in this film was... shankmaker
a pity ho-aaron
Greatest Technicolor film? BumpyRide
Discuss Black Narcissus (1947) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?