Black Narcissus (1947)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  December 1947 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.0/10 from 14,975 users  
Reviews: 127 user | 105 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.


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

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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 Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 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
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    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
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
Drama | Mystery | War
    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
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
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
Fantasy | Music | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A humble orphan suddenly becomes a gentleman with the help of an unknown benefactor.

Director: David Lean
Stars: John Mills, Valerie Hobson, Tony Wager
The Innocents (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A young governess for two children becomes convinced that the house and grounds are haunted.

Director: Jack Clayton
Stars: Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde, Megs Jenkins
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
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Powerful but unethical Broadway columnist J.J. Hunsecker coerces unscrupulous press agent Sidney Falco into breaking up his sister's romance with a jazz musician.

Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrison


Complete credited cast:
Jenny Laird ...
Judith Furse ...
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 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) »


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 »




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?


Jack Cardiff said that the lighting and color palette of this film was inspired by the works of 17th-century Dutch painter Vermeer. See more »


An Australian kookaburra is heard laughing in a bamboo forest in the Himalayan foothills. See more »


Mother Dorothea: [At their Order's office in Calcutta] Sister Clodagh, we may proceed with our plans at Mopu. It will be called "Saint Faith."
Sister Clodagh: [Mechanically repeating the Reverend Mother's words] "Saint Faith."
Mother Dorothea: And YOU have been appointed to take charge of Saint Faith.
Sister Clodagh: I, Reverend Mother?
Mother Dorothea: You... You will be the youngest Sister Superior in our order.
Sister Clodagh: Thank you, Reverend Mother.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Referenced in The Simpsons: Angry Dad: The Movie (2011) See more »


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

A Hypnotic and Dazzling Film
24 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This spellbinding movie from that spellbinding film-making team (Powell and Pressburger) is another entry in the long line of literary and film stories that revolve around British restraint and repression unraveling under the force of mysterious foreign cultures (usually Eastern and frequently Indian), and it's one of the best.

A group of nuns travel to the Himalayas to do missionary work among the natives, but instead find themselves coming under the mystical spell of the place and people around them. Deborah Kerr is stunning as the head nun, who's determined to maintain order and British civility at all costs. I still can't decide whether this or "The Innocents" (1961) gave her her best role. At the other extreme is Kathleen Byron's Sister Ruth, who renounces her vows, paints her lips bright red, and engages in a fierce battle of wills with Kerr. What follows is a film that is surprisingly sexual, erotic and wild.

Powell and Pressburger are experts at using color. Instead of employing their Technicolor to simply make their film look pretty, the color almost becomes a character in itself, creating a feverish, hyper-realistic glow to the film. Legendary cameraman Jack Cardiff is responsible for the sterling and Oscar-winning cinematography. Equally stunning is the art direction, which created very realistic mountains out of papier-mache.

A simply sensational film, one that holds up completely and could be watched again and again. This and "Out of the Past" vie in my esteem for best film released in 1947.

Grade: A+

33 of 37 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
Blacking up andrewbanks
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
Greatest Technicolor film? BumpyRide
Discuss Black Narcissus (1947) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: