193 user 156 critic

The Magdalene Sisters (2002)

R | | Drama | 29 August 2003 (USA)
Three young Irish women struggle to maintain their spirits while they endure dehumanizing abuse as inmates of a Magdalene Sisters Asylum.



Watch Now

From $1.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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 ...
Chris Patrick-Simpson ...
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


In a place that defied belief their only hope was each other. 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

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film shows the asylum experimenting with washing machines. The widespread adaptation of the household appliance would become a significant factor to the asylums' economic viability being fatally undermined and led to their ultimate closure. See more »


In the beginning, a man plays a Taylor acoustic guitar. Taylor Guitars was established in 1974. 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 »


Referenced in Jack Taylor: The Magdalen Martyrs (2011) See more »


God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Traditional Christmas carol
Sung off-screen by an unidentified man (possibly Ford Kiernan) with chorus
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

From my experience with nuns - a somewhat restrained film
8 December 2010 | by See all my reviews

The Magdelene Sisters is a good portrayal of the very real behaviour of nuns. I am English and emigrated to Canada with my family. I attended a catholic school which was run by these social misfits, and from my very first day, I was persecuted for the following crimes: I had a short hair cut, my hand writing was not neat, I did not know the words to the Canadian national anthem, I had an English accent, I was good at drawing, I failed to smile at the right time during assembly, I slipped on some ice in the school grounds and hurt myself. etc., etc., etc. I was hit countless times during my few months there - before I left the horrible place. I was constantly referred to as "the green horn Englishman",mocked and imitated because of my accent, and belittled because I didn't know the Canadian national anthem, which we were required to sing every morning before lessons began - (I'd only been in the country weeks - I soon learned it). I was kept behind after school regularly because my handwriting was "unacceptable", causing me to miss my bus home (I had a long way to travel). I was once hit across the back of my head with the words "you write like a boy, you talk like a boy - you even look like a boy". I was eight years old. My sister, who was ten, received remarkably similar treatment. I was terrified to tell my parents because I thought they would speak to the nuns and I would be worse off. Instead they thankfully took my sister and me out of school after she admitted what was going on. I have nothing but contempt for these people. I feel that anything which exposes them as they really are can only be of value to society, above all, for the protection of children.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 193 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

What Is Katee Sackhoff Watching?

Katee Sackhoff shares her Watchlist and love for the CW drama "Reign" with "The IMDb Show." Plus, we take a look at the top 10 TV Shows of 2017.

Watch now