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Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun (1977)
"Die Liebesbriefe einer portugiesischen Nonne" (original title)

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16-year-old Maria is forced into Serra D'Aires convent, secretly run by Satanists. Her confessor is in collusion with the Mother Superior. Maria is tortured, forced into sex with men, women... See full summary »


(as Jess Franco)


(love letters), , 1 more credit »
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Title: Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun (1977)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Susan Hemingway ...
Maria Rosalea Coutinho
William Berger ...
Father Vicente
Herbert Fux ...
Ana Zanatti ...
Mother Alma, the Grand Priestess
Aida Vargas ...
Joanna, a Nun (as Aida Kargas)
Vítor Mendes ...
António Fernando Queiroz de Melo, the Mayor
Aida Gouveia ...
Antónia, a Nun (as Isa Schneider)
Herman José ...
Manuel Gonçalves, the Prince (as Hermann Krippahl)
José Viana ...
The Grand Inquisitor (as Jose Viana)
Patricia Da Silva ...
Maria's Mother
Victor de Sousa ...
Inquisitor's Aid
Nicolau Breyner ...
Prince's Aid
Clara Marabuto ...
Josefina, a nun
Esther Studer ...
Nun at ritual
Dagmar Bürger ...
Nun at ritual


16-year-old Maria is forced into Serra D'Aires convent, secretly run by Satanists. Her confessor is in collusion with the Mother Superior. Maria is tortured, forced into sex with men, women, and the horned Devil, and told that it's all a bad dream. She writes a letter to God, and a Knight rescues her, only to fall into the hands of the Inquisition, put on the rack, and condemned to death like Joan of Arc. Written by Artemis-9

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

10 March 1977 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Love Letters from a Portuguese Nun  »

Box Office


ESP 36,890,043 (Spain)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(DVD) | (director's cut)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film was complete in 1975, but it went through a number of censorship bans (the first on 3 March 1976), appeals, rejections, and editing for release in different markets in 1977 and 1978. See more »


References The Devils (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

A terrible disappointment!
1 August 2010 | by (Spain) – See all my reviews

What led me to watch this film was the deceptive link it affects to have with the mysterious and hitherto debated origin of a series of letters written by a Portuguese nun from Beja in the Alentejo region, Mariana Acoforado, to her French lover Marquis De Chamilly. The original letters have been lost but they circulated in translations into several languages and were even published anonymously in Paris in 1669. Mariana's letters became synonymous with ardent love and passion, qualities attributed to Portuguese women for a certain time in those European countries where the letters were being read, with morbid curiosity no doubt. But the title is the only thing Jess Franco, the film's director, manages to salvage from what is otherwise a fascinating and mysterious relationship between a military man of aristocratic origins and the daughter of a well-to-do Portuguese gentleman who was placed in a convent at the early age of 11; her father's intentions were to assure her safety during the turbulent years of the Portuguese Restoration Wars (1663-68). This sad story of seduction and abandonment has its fruit in a literary genre of the letter. Franco's film could not possibly have strayed any further from the original tale of love gone wrong. Had the film industry existed during the time of the Reformation, the film would have been an excellent pamphlet of anti-Catholic propaganda. The film is a German production which somehow corroborates my suspicions that it could well be aimed at perpetuating a number of clichés concerning convents. We don't have secret tunnels connecting convents to the priest's residences; according to one of the clichés, skeletons of babies had due to illicit intercourse between priests and nuns littered these tunnels hidden from the eyes of the God-fearing populace. However, Franco's film presents us with an evil priest/confessor at a convent who obliges through lies to have a 15-year old girl, Maria Rosalea, put into the custody of nuns who turn out to be lesbian devil-worshipers whose plans for the little girl are mating her to the very devil himself during a nocturnal ceremony at which the rest of the community of nuns, dressed or rather undressed in cutaway habits receive the devil with frantic baring of their breasts while obscenely rubbing themselves with their wooden crucifixes and smacking their lips in sexual anticipation, avid to take the poor victim's place should Satan so require of them. As this does not happen they turn to one another for sexual solace. The priest had already been seen masturbating while listening to Mariana's confession. Later he forces her to give him head. He doesn't actually dare deflower her as her virginity is destined as an offering for the prince of darkness. Just in case anyone is wondering, the Inquisition makes its inevitable appearance in a confusion of events. While winding its ludicrous way towards the end the film suddenly changes genre. What seems destined to become a tragic ending with our innocent Mariana burnt at the stake, undergoes an unexpected turnabout and our heroine is saved by none other than the prince; a fit ending to a fairy tale. Had I not decided from the outset of the film that I would write a few lines for IMDb, I would not have been able to watch it till the end. If not the worst movie I've ever seen, it certainly occupies a very high place in the list.

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