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The Nun's Story (1959)

Not Rated | | Drama | 18 July 1959 (USA)
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.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (book) (as Kathryn C. Hulme)
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Nominated for 8 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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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)
...
Sister Eleanor
...
Mother Marcella (School of Medicine)
...
Mother Didyma (War-time Hospital)
...
Sister Pauline (medical student)
Patricia Bosworth ...
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. Hubert 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:

congo | nun | belgium | convent | nurse | See All (59) »

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

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the assistant directors on this film was Sergio Leone. Despite his very limited command of English (though fluent in French), his experience and reputation on previous American productions made him one of the highest paid assistant directors. See more »

Goofs

When the patient in the Congo hospital is being attended by several people, the voice of the actor playing the patient is obviously dubbed over by actor Dean Jagger, who plays Sister Luke's father in the film. 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

Spoofed in Bedazzled (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Voi Che Sapete
from "The Marriage of Figaro"
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (as W. A. Mozart)
Played by Gabi and her father on the piano, and recurring throughout the film's score.
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Inner Conflict
17 December 2003 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

I think that this film contains one of Audrey Hepburn's strongest performances. The movie, however, is not for everyone. The movie has no gloss, no "this is purely for entertainment" message. This movie requires that you think and really watch the movie, otherwise the meaning is lost and thus, you will not like the movie. Others have said that this movie is "slow and boring", but watch the movie yourself. You will see the brilliance of Audrey Hepburn's performance as she portrays Sister Luke's struggle to live for herself and for God. This is a great movie! Please do not be discouraged by the implied "seriousness" of it!


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