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The Magdalene Sisters (2002)

R | | Drama | 29 August 2003 (USA)
1:20 | Trailer

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Three young Irish women struggle to maintain their spirits while they endure dehumanizing abuse as inmates of a Magdalene Sisters Asylum.



Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 18 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Britta Smith ...
Frances Healy ...
Sister Jude
Eithne McGuinness ...
Sister Clementine
Sister Augusta (as Phyllis McMahon)
Rebecca Walsh ...
Brendan (as Chris Simpson)
Sean Colgan ...
Daniel Costello ...
Father Fitzroy


A thoroughly mind-provoking film about 3 young women who, under tragic circumstances, see themselves cast away to a Magdalene Asylum for young women in 1964. One of many like institutions, the asylums are run like prisons and young girls are forced to do workhouse laundry and hard labor. The asylum, one of many that existed in theocratic Catholic Ireland, is for supposedly 'fallen' women. Here, young girls are imprisoned indefinitely and endure agonizing punishments and a long, harsh working system which leaves them physically drained and mentally damaged. As the girls bond together, it soon becomes clear that the only way out of the Magdalene convent is to escape, but with twisted Sister Bridget running the wing, any chances seem limited... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The triumphant story of three women who found the courage to defy a century of injustice. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence/cruelty, nudity, sexual content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

29 August 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die unbarmherzigen Schwestern  »


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£88,315 (United Kingdom), 1 November 2002, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$84,553, 3 August 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,890,878, 23 November 2003

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$15,722,258, 6 November 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Peter Mullan has said that the film was initially made because victims of Magdalene Asylums had no closure. They hadn't received any recognition, compensation, or apology. Many remained lifelong devout Catholics. See more »


When Margaret's brother shows up to take his sister home, he not only knows his way around the facility, but knows exactly which room everyone is in, despite having never set foot in the place. See more »


[first lines]
Margaret: Well, what is it you're wanting to show me? Come on, Kevin, what's the secret?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Thanks to ... Andy and Marco at Edit-Hire Post Production Services ... all at the Glasgow Film Theatre ... Lee at Lynx ... all the gardeners ... the people of Dumfries ... and all at VFG. See more »


References Once Upon a Time in America (1984) See more »


Amazing Grace
Written by John Newton
See more »

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User Reviews

Great moving drama
2 February 2005 | by See all my reviews

This film will move you that is for sure. It is amazing to think such atrocities went on in the name of God. Well I guess it isn't really but this film lets you experience the single mindedness and hypocrisies of people who hold such fanatical beliefs. The film takes you on a journey through the eyes of helpless young women. These women are victims of the church and all its cruelty. We see how their spirits are affected by such unjust behavior. You will feel and cry along with them. You will hope along with them. It is amazing that anyone in these kind of circumstances could ever find any hope.

Peter Mullan had done a superb job at writing and directing. He even plays a small part in the film.

The script is very well structured. It builds it dramatic tension nicely. The performances all round are very strong.

I am sure you will enjoy this outstanding drama.

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