7.6/10
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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:
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Rev. Mother Emmanuel (Belgium) (as Dame Edith Evans)
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Mother Mathilde (Africa) (as Dame Peggy Ashcroft)
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Dr. Van Der Mal
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Sister Margharita (Mistress of Postulants)
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Mother Christophe (Sanatorium)
Patricia Collinge ...
Sister William (convent teacher)
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Sister Eleanor
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Mother Marcella (School of Medicine)
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Mother Didyma (War-time Hospital)
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Sister Pauline (medical student)
Patricia Bosworth ...
Simone (postulant who changed her mind)
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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:

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

An often-reported legend surrounding this movie is the story that Audrey Hepburn demanded a bidet be provided for her on location in the Congo. Hepburn always denied this, wondering how such an extravagance could even be hooked up in the Congo. 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.
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Connections

Referenced in The Audrey Hepburn Story (2000) 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

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User Reviews

Superb in all respects
19 September 2004 | by (Waynesboro, PA) – See all my reviews

"The Nun's Story" is the best movie dealing with religion that I have ever seen. The movie has what is possibly Audrey Hepburn's greatest performance;

anyone who thinks she was only a fashion model is well advised to see this film. I first saw it in a theatre, in 1959. I went in about five minutes before the end--and the theatre was completely sold out. At the end of the movie, no one moved--everyone remained seated for about thirty seconds. Then the audience got up and filed out--without a single sound. I stayed through to see the ending again. The audience behavior was the same. I have never seen an audience reaction like this.

Hepburn should have received an Oscar for this performance, as well as another for "Two for the Road," for which she wasn't even nominated. She has been sadly underrated and undervalued as an actress. Her high placement in many Best Actress Ever polls has been entirely justified and very pleasing.


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