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The Nun's Story (1959)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  18 July 1959 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 6,417 users  
Reviews: 81 user | 24 critic

After leaving a wealthy Belgian family to become a nun, Sister Luke struggles with her devotion to her vows during crisis, disappointment, and World War II.

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(screenplay), (book) (as Kathryn C. Hulme)
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Title: The Nun's Story (1959)

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

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

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Director: Jean Boyer
Stars: Ray Ventura, Henri Génès, Georges Lannes
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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)
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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 All (56) »

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 »
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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  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was one of Audrey Hepburn's favorite of her films. It was also one of her most financially successful. 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 Laverne & Shirley: A Nun's Story (1976) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Memorable, Worthwhile Classic
3 November 2004 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

This memorable, worthwhile classic features Audrey Hepburn, who does very well in a rather atypical role, plus an involved, interesting story that contains quite a bit of thoughtful material. Fred Zinnemann tells the story well, effectively highlighting many good dramatic moments, and maintaining the balance among the many rather weighty themes of the movie. Because of the challenge involved in keeping the story interesting and even-handed, it's really more of an achievement than some of Zinnemann's better-known films.

The atmosphere is consistently believable, from the convent scenes to the mission settings to the hospital settings. Sometimes scenic, sometimes grim, they provide a fine backdrop for the story and characters.

Hepburn is very effective in a role that allows her to work with a good range of dramatic material and a good variety of other characters. Many of the other characters are interesting in themselves, and the supporting cast features some fine talent even in some of the smaller roles. The parade of other persons in and out of Sister Luke's life works very effectively, both in developing her character and in depicting what her chosen lifestyle is like.

The story is completely serious, yet never overly heavy, and it treats the characters and their beliefs respectfully - quite a rarity in films that deal with subjects like religion, war, and relations between different cultures. Perhaps the nature of the material will not seem interesting to many viewers - especially those jaded by a continual diet of the comic book-quality characters in present-day movies - but it is a most thoughtfully made and worthwhile film.


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Recent Posts
Ever wanted to be a nun? NumberOnePhantomFan
Question about the baths...? gay_geisha
Where was she going to? imdbmovie
Was the sanitarium stabbing ever in the film? sandfleas2008
Becoming a nun today... trish722
An interesting retrospective on being a nun Figaro14
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