MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 3,519 this week

The Nun's Story (1959)

 -  Drama  -  18 July 1959 (USA)
7.6
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 5,668 users  
Reviews: 80 user | 22 critic

In 1930, in Belgium, Gabrielle van der Mal is the stubborn daughter of the prominent surgeon Dr. Pascin Van Der Mal that decides to leave her the upper-class family to enter to a convent, ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (book)
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb: What to Watch - Guardians of the Galaxy

In the latest episode of IMDb: What to Watch, Keith Simanton talks with director James Gunn and actors Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Vin Diesel about their movie Guardians of the Galaxy.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 27 titles
created 11 Jan 2011
 
a list of 35 images
created 06 Oct 2011
 
list image
a list of 28 titles
created 08 Nov 2011
 
a list of 33 titles
created 09 Jul 2013
 
a list of 36 titles
created 6 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "The Nun's Story" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Nun's Story (1959)

The Nun's Story (1959) on IMDb 7.6/10

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

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Nun's Story.

User Polls

Nominated for 8 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A troublemaking student at a girls' school accuses two teachers of being lesbians.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, James Garner
Crossing Over (2009)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Crossing Over is a multi-character canvas about immigrants of different nationalities struggling to achieve legal status in Los Angeles. The film deals with the border, document fraud, the ... See full summary »

Director: Wayne Kramer
Stars: Harrison Ford, Ashley Judd, Ray Liotta
A Single Man (2009)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An English professor, one year after the sudden death of his boyfriend, is unable to cope with his typical days in 1960s Los Angeles.

Director: Tom Ford
Stars: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Brick, an alcoholic ex-football player, drinks his days away and resists the affections of his wife, Maggie. His reunion with his father, Big Daddy, who is dying of cancer, jogs a host of memories and revelations for both father and son.

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Burl Ives
Elmer Gantry (1960)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A fast-talking traveling salesman with a charming, loquacious manner convinces a sincere evangelist that he can be an effective preacher for her cause.

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Jean Simmons, Arthur Kennedy
All About Eve (1950)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

An ingenue insinuates herself in to the company of an established but aging stage actress and her circle of theater friends.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Stars: Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders
Boogie Nights (1997)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The story of a young man's adventures in the Californian pornography industry of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Disturbed Blanche DuBois moves in with her sister in New Orleans and is tormented by her brutish brother-in-law while her reality crumbles around her.

Director: Elia Kazan
Stars: Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

Upon admittance to a mental institution, a brash rebel rallies the patients to take on the oppressive head nurse.

Director: Milos Forman
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Michael Berryman
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A drama centered on the efforts of John and Aileen Crowley to find a researcher who might have a cure for their two children's rare genetic disorder.

Director: Tom Vaughan
Stars: Brendan Fraser, Keri Russell, Harrison Ford
Precious II (2009)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In New York City's Harlem circa 1987, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.

Director: Lee Daniels
Stars: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique, Paula Patton
An Education (2009)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A coming-of-age story about a teenage girl in 1960s suburban London, and how her life changes with the arrival of a playboy nearly twice her age.

Director: Lone Scherfig
Stars: Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Rev. Mother Emmanuel (Belgium) (as Dame Edith Evans)
...
Mother Mathilde (Africa) (as Dame Peggy Ashcroft)
...
Dr. Van Der Mal
...
Sister Margharita (Mistress of Postulants)
...
Mother Christophe (Sanatorium)
Patricia Collinge ...
Sister William (convent teacher)
Rosalie Crutchley ...
Sister Eleanor
...
Mother Marcella (School of Medicine)
...
Mother Didyma (War-time Hospital)
Margaret Phillips ...
Sister Pauline (medical student)
...
Simone (postulant who changed her mind)
...
Stephen Murray ...
Chaplain (Father Andre)
Edit

Storyline

In 1930, in Belgium, Gabrielle van der Mal is the stubborn daughter of the prominent surgeon Dr. Pascin Van Der Mal that decides to leave her the upper-class family to enter to a convent, expecting to work as nun in Congo with tropical diseases. She says good-bye to her sisters Louise and Marie; to her brother Pierre; and to her beloved father, and subjects herself to the stringent rules of the retrograde institution, including interior silent and excessive humbleness and humiliation. After a long period working in a mental institution, Gaby is finally assigned to go to Congo, where she works with the Atheist and cynical, but brilliant, Dr. Fortunati. Sister Luke proves to be very efficient nurse and assistant, and Dr. Fortunati miraculous heals her tuberculosis. Years later, she is ordered to return to Belgium and when her motherland is invaded by the Germans, she learns that her beloved father was murdered by the enemy while he was helping wounded members of the resistance. Sister ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

nun | belgium | convent | religious | nurse | See more »

Taglines:

The most gripping and dramatic personal story of this decade is on the screen! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 July 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Historia de una monja  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

A real priest was cast as Father Andre the chaplain but his acting left much to be desired so Stephen Murray was cast at short notice. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where they are making their vows, the priest blesses each one in Latin. The formula should be "et Spiritus Sancti" and not "et Spiritus Sanctus." See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: "He that shall lose his life for me shall find it. If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast and give to the poor, and come follow me." Each sister shall understand that on entering the convent, she has made the sacrifice of her life to God.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Golden Girls: Beauty and the Beast (1991) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Audrey Hepburn Glows as Sister Luke
8 September 2006 | by (Alexandria, VA) – See all my reviews

An intense conflict between spirituality and humanity lies at the core of Fred Zinneman's excellent adaptation of Katherine Hulme's "The Nun's Story." Young Gabrielle enters the convent and, as Sister Luke, strives to attain the difficult qualities of sisterhood, but at the same time her talents and skills at medicine and research pull her in another direction. Gabrielle is taught that a nun not only takes vows of chastity and poverty, but must also be obedient and humble. Although not overtly discussed, Sister Luke's decision to enter the convent may have been connected to a romantic affair, the only evidence of which are a ring, a photograph, and a comment from her father. Although Sister Luke tries to obey the rules of silence and obedience, she is the daughter of a prominent physician, and she harbors ambitions to work in medicine and serve in the Congo. The conflict between the two competing ambitions reaches a crisis point when a sister superior suggests to her that she fail her medical examinations in order to show humility.

Audrey Hepburn imbues Sister Luke with a radiance and glow that illuminates the screen. In what is arguably her finest performance, Hepburn displays the subtle shades of conflict and doubt that creep into her persona as she struggles between her roles as a Bride of Christ and a practical nurse to the sick and dying. Reportedly, Hepburn's interest in helping the needy of Africa began during the location shooting for this film.

A galaxy of fine actresses shine as the sisters with whom Sister Luke interacts. Such luminaries as Edith Evans, Peggy Ashcroft, Mildred Dunnock, Barbara O'Neil, and Beatrice Straight offer their own special glow as patient and understanding nuns. Colleen Dewhurst has only a couple of memorable scenes as a hospital inmate, but, with few lines of dialog, she creates an enduring character. Peter Finch and Dean Jagger are solid and effective as, respectively, Dr. Fortunati, who works with Sister Luke in the Congo, and as Gabrielle's disappointed father.

While "The Nun's Story" is comparatively long, the fascinating detail of the young nun's years as a novice, medical student, asylum aide, missionary, and hospital nurse in Belgium and the Congo during the 1930's is engrossing and tastefully filmed by Fred Zinneman. With beautiful cinematography by Franz Planer and a spare, but lovely, score by Franz Waxman, "The Nun's Story" is one of the most religious movies ever filmed. Few films have ever so successfully explored the demands of a spiritual life and the conflict those demands can create in someone with strong human needs. With Audrey Hepburn at her zenith, "The Nun's Story" was among the finest films of the 1950's and still remains a rewarding emotional experience.


15 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Question about the baths...? gay_geisha
Ever wanted to be a nun? NumberOnePhantomFan
Was the sanitarium stabbing ever in the film? sandfleas2008
Where was she going to? imdbmovie
scene where postulants look like brides lewis-51
Audrey Hepburn's Greatest Performance? csu16387
Discuss The Nun's Story (1959) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?