IMDb > The Magdalene Sisters (2002)
The Magdalene Sisters
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The Magdalene Sisters (2002) More at IMDbPro »

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The Magdalene Sisters -- A stirring, must-see motion picture critics called one of the best films of the year, THE MAGDALENE SISTERS is the triumphant story of three extraordinary women whose courage to defy a century of injustice would inspire a nation!
The Magdalene Sisters -- Trailer
The Magdalene Sisters -- US Home Video Trailer from Buena Vista Home Entertainment


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Down 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Peter Mullan (written by)
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Release Date:
29 August 2003 (USA) See more »
In a place that defied belief their only hope was each other. See more »
Three young Irish women struggle to maintain their spirits while they endure dehumanizing abuse as inmates of a Magdalene Sisters Asylum. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for BAFTA Film Award. Another 18 wins & 13 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A Horrific and Gripping Recounting of True Evil See more (188 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Geraldine McEwan ... Sister Bridget

Anne-Marie Duff ... Margaret

Nora-Jane Noone ... Bernadette

Dorothy Duffy ... Rose / Patricia

Eileen Walsh ... Crispina

Mary Murray ... Una
Britta Smith ... Katy

Frances Healy ... Sister Jude
Eithne McGuinness ... Sister Clementine
Phyllis MacMahon ... Sister Augusta (as Phyllis McMahon)
Rebecca Walsh ... Josephine

Eamonn Owens ... Eamonn
Chris Patrick-Simpson ... Brendan (as Chris Simpson)
Sean Colgan ... Seamus
Daniel Costello ... Father Fitzroy
Kate Christie ... Dormitory Girls
Alison Goldie ... Dormitory Girls
Jemma Heath ... Dormitory Girls
Anita Hyslop ... Dormitory Girls
Marianne McGill ... Dormitory Girls
Leonna McGilligan ... Dormitory Girls
Claire McKenzie ... Dormitory Girls
Claire Murray ... Dormitory Girls
Lynsey Robson ... Dormitory Girls
Mariann Taylor ... Dormitory Girls
Julie Austin ... Theresa
Deirdre Davis ... Margaret's Mother
Ian Hanmore ... Margaret's Father
Pol McAdam ... Band Member at Wedding
Sean McDonagh ... Kevin
Sean Mackin ... Priest at Wedding
David Muldrew ... Band Member at Wedding
Ciaran Owens ... Young Eamonn
Kevin Shields ... Band Member at Wedding
Ashley Conroy ... Sonia

Pauline Goldsmith ... Mrs Barton
Leanne Henderson ... Amy
Stephen Mallon ... Orphanage Boy 1
Jim Murray ... Orphanage Boy 2
Christopher Sheridan ... Orphanage Boy 3
Maureen Allan ... Rose's Mother
Laurie Ventry ... Father Doonigan
Jim Walsh ... Rose's Father
Fran Brennan ... Garda Sergeant
Gemma Burns ... Ruby
Daniel Emerson ... Crispina's Son - 2
Tracy Kearney ... Crispina's Sister

Stephen McCole ... Young Man in Car
Gareth Milne ... Psychiatric Nurse

Peter Mullan ... Mr O'Connor
Julie Wilson Nimmo ... Girl with Baby (as Julie Nimmo)
Nick Powell ... Psychiatric Nurse
Allan Sharpe ... Archbishop
Callum Smith ... Crispina's Son - 1
Flynn Turner ... Crispina's Son - 3 (as Fynn Turner)
Margaret McGowan ... Chaperones
Helen Game ... Chaperones
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Leo Horsfield ... Groom (uncredited)

Directed by
Peter Mullan 
Writing credits
Peter Mullan (written by)

Produced by
Ed Guiney .... executive producer
Frances Higson .... producer
Paddy Higson .... line producer
Andrea Occhipinti .... executive producer: Eyescreen
Rod Stoneman .... executive producer: The Irish Film Board
Paul Trijbits .... executive producer
Alan J. Wands .... co-producer (as Alan J. 'Willy' Wands)
Original Music by
Craig Armstrong 
Cinematography by
Nigel Willoughby (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Colin Monie 
Casting by
Lenny Mullan 
Production Design by
Mark Leese 
Art Direction by
Caroline Grebbell 
Jean Kerr 
Costume Design by
Trisha Biggar 
Makeup Department
Candice Banks .... additional makeup artist
Carol Chambers .... additional makeup artist
Kate Elliot-Muir .... additional makeup artist (as Kate Elliot Muir)
Sindy Hely .... additional makeup artist
Dianne Jamieson .... makeup designer
Sylvie Francoise Kurz .... additional makeup artist
Fiona Maynard .... makeup artist
Catherine Muir .... additional makeup artist
Carole Reid .... makeup work experience
Karen Scott .... makeup trainee
Catherine Shirley .... additional makeup artist
Meg Speirs .... additional makeup artist
Stephanie Wedge .... makeup artist
Tracey Wells .... makeup artist
Production Management
Janet Riddoch .... production manager (as Janet S. Riddoch)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jill Dempsey .... second second assistant director: crowd
David Gilchrist .... first assistant director
Tommy Gormley .... additional first assistant director
Elaine Mackenzie .... third assistant director (as Elaine MacKenzie)
Michael Queen .... second assistant director
Susan Radcliffe .... trainee assistant director
Katie Rennie .... trainee assistant director
Art Department
Evelyn Barbour .... additional cash buyer
Mat Bergel .... stand-by props
Sandy Borthwick .... chargehand
Sandy Borthwick .... painter
Phil Bowen .... construction manager
Duncan Burns .... stagehand
Tristan Carlisle-Kitz .... stand-by props
Paul Cowan .... laborer
Stewart Cunningham .... dressing props
Sam Curren .... additional painter
Laura Donnelly .... assistant art director
Bobby Gee .... stand-by painter
Angus Gentleman .... additional props
Ewan Gillespie .... additional carpenter
Alec Graham .... additional carpenter
Jane Harvie .... apprentice painter
Emma Henderson .... cash buyer
Christopher Higson .... supervising carpenter (as Chris Higson)
John Hughes .... painter
Piero Jamieson .... additional props
Scott Keery .... props master
William Maxwell .... carpenter
Duncan McDevitt .... dressing props
Elaine McLenachan .... production buyer
Dennis Murphy .... carpenter
Alan Reid .... storyboard artist
Alex Robertson .... stand-by carpenter
David Weatherstone .... additional props
Rhona Wilson .... dressing props
Dawn Youll .... apprentice plasterer
Sound Department
Alan Collins .... sound facility manager: ardmore sound
Tony Cook .... boom operator
Felicity Cottrell .... foley artist
Debbie Dingwall .... additional boom operator
David Donaldson .... sound engineer
David Donaldson .... sound programming
Robert Farr .... adr re-recordist
Robert Farr .... foley re-recordist
John Fitzgerald .... sound re-recording mixer
Kahl Henderson .... dialogue editor
Tom Johnson .... sound re-recording mixer
Gayle Learmonth .... sound trainee
Douglas MacDougall .... supervising sound editor
Sandy Miller .... additional boom operator
Colin Nicolson .... sound recordist
Chris Sinclair .... foley editor
Ruth Sullivan .... foley artist
Special Effects by
Steve Breheney .... special effects supervisor (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Giles Livesey .... digital film colorist (uncredited)
Gareth Milne .... stunt performer
Nick Powell .... stunt coordinator
Camera and Electrical Department
David Bourke .... best boy
James Bourke .... rigging electricians mate
Charlie Crawford .... unit photographer
Bonnie Dempsey .... clapper loader
Andrew Ford .... camera operator: "b" camera
Alick Fraser .... focus puller: "b" camera
Tom Gates .... gaffer
Chris Gilbertson .... additional electrician
Katharine Higgs .... camera trainee
Alan Maxwell .... focus puller: "b" camera
Mickey May .... electrician
Drew Meldon .... key grip
Paul Murphy .... additional electrician
Sam Osborne .... focus puller
Ross Pearson .... stand-by rigger
Tim Proctor .... grip: "b" camera
Glenda Rome .... clapper loader: "b" camera
Jamie Summers .... electrician
Tony Wilcock .... rigging gaffer (as Tony Wilcocks)
Lorna Will .... camera operator: "b" camera
Casting Department
Victoria Beattie .... additional casting assistant (as Vicky Beattie)
Kara Johnston .... casting assistant
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Lee Dickson .... costume junior
Frank Gallacher .... additional costume assistant
Irene Godfrey .... costume assistant
Arnalie Harper Gow .... additional costume assistant (as Amalie Harper Gow)
Anne Matheson .... additional costume assistant
Tracy McGregor .... additional costume assistant
Michael Mooney .... costume supervisor
Marnie Ormiston .... key costumer
Claire Pettifer .... costume assistant
Ailsa Rendell .... additional costume junior
Alex Watherston .... additional costume assistant
Editorial Department
Giles Burgess .... first assistant film editor
Yvonne McDonald .... negative checker
Sonya Scott .... post-production secretary
Music Department
Craig Armstrong .... conductor
Craig Armstrong .... music arranger
Matt Dunkley .... additional orchestrator
Matt Dunkley .... conductor: Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Emma Ford .... music supervisor
Geoff Foster .... orchestra recordist
Geoff Foster .... score recordist
Royal Scottish National Orchestra .... orchestra
Transportation Department
Darren Bell .... facilities driver: Aeroshoot
Colin Crosbie .... unit driver
Gary Forsyth .... driver: camera truck
Graham Gordon .... driver: props
Graham Harrison .... facilities driver: Aeroshoot
David Love .... facilities driver: Aeroshoot
Gareth Reeve .... unit driver
Gordon Shillinglaw .... unit driver
Charlie Simpson .... facilities driver: Aeroshoot
Philip Twinberrow .... unit driver
Other crew
Helle Absalonsen .... working crew: Digital Film Lab
Vicci Allen .... working crew: Digital Film Lab (as Vicci Allan)
Beth Armstrong .... unit nurse
Mike Bolam .... location scout
Laurence Byrne .... trainee accountant
Susan Cairney .... unit nurse
Sarah Carswell .... production trainee
Gillian Clyde .... business affairs: Film Council's New Cinema Fund
John Cooney .... security: Atlas Security (as John Cooney)
Eric D'Souza .... working crew: Digital Film Lab (as Eric d'Souza)
Mark Devlin .... production coordinator
Brendan Diver .... caterer: Thistle Catering
Larry Eydmann .... health and safety advisor
Emma Ford .... assistant: Craig Armstrong
Helen Game .... chaperone
Cara Gavigan .... location scout (as Kara Gavigan)
David Havard .... insurance: AON
Carol-Anne Henderson .... pre-production assistant
Michael Higson .... location scout
John Hinchliffe .... working crew: Digital Film Lab (as John Hinschliffe)
Vince Holden .... production finance: Film Council's New Cinema Fund
Steve Humphries .... director: "Sex in a Cold Climate" which inspired this movie
Steve Humphries .... producer: "Sex in a Cold Climate" which inspired this movie
Christine Hunter .... unit nurse
Jacqueline Hurt .... lawyer: Olswang
Stephen Kane .... religious advisor
Jim Kerr .... developed with the financial assistance of
John Kirkham .... unit nurse
Robbie Kirkpatrick .... location assistant
Kris Kolodziejski .... working crew: Digital Film Lab
Susie Liggat .... physical production executive: Film Council's New Cinema Fund
Giles Livesey .... working crew: Digital Film Lab
Andrew Lowe .... business affairs: Temple Films
Barbara Lynch .... production secretary
Phyllis MacMahon .... religious advisor (as Phyllis McMahon)
Lucy Marr .... assistant accountant
Mark McBride .... production runner
Jill McCullough .... voice coach: Geraldine McEwan
Kenny McGhee .... unit nurse (as Kenny McGee)
Margaret McGowan .... chaperone
John McKain .... production accountant
Bronagh Murphy .... trainee script supervisor
Jim O'Donnell .... unit nurse
Michael Osborne .... additional runner
Frederico Piacentini .... caterer: Thistle Catering
Pat Rambaut .... script supervisor
Les Reilly .... caterer: Thistle Catering
Malcolm Ritchie .... financial executive: PFP Films
Andreas Rostock .... working crew: Digital Film Lab
Jessica Rundle .... pre-production assistant
Scott Russell .... caterer: Thistle Catering
Sam Smith .... working crew: Digital Film Lab
Richard Starkey .... unit nurse
Beverley Syme .... location manager
Alex Usborne .... production executive: Film Council's New Cinema Fund
Susan Waddell .... lawyer: Olswang
Jenny Williams .... pre-production assistant
Neil Ballantyne .... thanks: Summerlee Heritage Centre
John Booth .... thanks
David Brown .... thanks
Sonia Butterworth .... thanks
Leonard Crooks .... special thanks: Glasgow Film Office (as Lenny Crooks)
Belle Doyle .... thanks
Andrew Eaton .... thanks
Mike Fagan .... thanks
Jim Guthrie .... thanks
Graham Hawkins .... thanks
Jeffrey Honneiker .... thanks
Mags Horspool .... thanks (as Mags Horsepool)
Matt Hume .... thanks: Summerlee Heritage Centre
Mary Keane .... thanks
Darren Longthorne .... thanks
Ray Marston .... thanks (as Ray Marsden)
Eddie McGee .... thanks
Tracey McGee .... thanks
Celine McHugh .... thanks
Robert McNeilly .... thanks
Alexander Murray .... thanks
Irene Napier .... thanks
Claire Paterson .... thanks
Eddie Robinson .... thanks
Bob Robison .... thanks
Jane Roche .... thanks
Carole Sheridan .... thanks
Ian Somerville .... thanks
Bill Summers .... thanks
Ann Swan .... thanks
Katrin Swan .... thanks
Mairi Swan .... thanks
Paddy Swan .... thanks
Claire Wiles .... thanks: VFG
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for violence/cruelty, nudity, sexual content and language
114 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Vanessa Redgrave was cast as Sister Bridget but dropped out due to her mother Rachel Kempson's ill health. She was replaced by Geraldine McEwan.See more »
Anachronisms: The guitar the man plays at the beginning of the film is a Taylor acoustic guitar. Taylor Guitars was not established until 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 »
Movie Connections:
Amazing GraceSee more »


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182 out of 191 people found the following review useful.
A Horrific and Gripping Recounting of True Evil, 9 August 2003

"The Magdalene Sisters" is not, as some have claimed, a one-dimensional anti-Catholic film exploiting what are arguably especially gruesome atrocities. It is a fact-based drama about three teenage girls who found themselves in 1964 sentenced to work in a laundry run by an Irish religious order for an indefinite term and under conditions that made most audience members shudder.

In three brief vignettes before the main title, the girls are introduced. One is brutally raped by a cousin at a wedding while priests perform traditional Irish songs. Immediately telling a woman, instead of support she becomes the subject of a hasty conspiracy to spirit the rapist from the wedding and to place her in the Magdalene asylum.

A second girl gives birth to a baby - in the not long ago past, illegitimacy was the label. She is pressured by a priest to surrender the baby boy and then she, too, is hustled off to the asylum.

The third victim is in an orphanage where she gets under the director's skin for no other offense than she is pretty and boys from the neighborhood crowd a fence to call down to her. Transfer to the asylum follows.

The Magdalene laundries made money for the order running them and the asylum to which the three girls were committed is, in this film, a moral charnel house. Sister Bridget, the head nun, interviews the girls while fingering, with almost erotic delight, rolls of money. Her desk sports a photo of President Kennedy but a picture of Ilse Koch would have been a more suitable iconographic representation of her character. She is a sadist, first class.

What follows is almost unrelieved tedium for the girls interspersed with brutal physical chastisement and agonizing sexual humiliation inflicted by perverted nuns. Sexual orientation isn't my issue, it's the awful victimization of helpless young girls.

Through the fine acting of the cast the complexity of relationships and the nature of choices become engrossing. To accommodate or to resist. To comply or to engage in sabotage, even in small ways as a declaration of non-surrender. Sabotage is possible but can an inexperienced and angry teen foresee the consequences of a minor act of resistance? An anticipated humorous defiance may well have tragic results.

The film centers on the three girls as well as several other asylum inmates ranging from a young woman descending slowly into irreversible madness and an elderly crone who believes her lifetime of servitude guarantees entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven. This tortured soul is the nuns' "capo," the inmate without whose help the asylum's strictures can't be enforced. Comparison to the Gulag camps and the Nazi concentration camps is apropos.

"The Magdalene Sisters" doesn't portray all the girls as angels but it does show the nuns and the occasional male clergy as evil exploiters and sadistic hypocrites. Is that fair? The end credits report that some 30,000 women were involuntarily placed in Magdalene asylums until the last one closed in 1996. Were all inmates so tortured and beaten? I don't know but these three girls certainly have had THEIR experience recorded for a population that appears to have turned a blind eye to what should have been a national scandal decades earlier. Their life after the asylum is reported in the end credits. All paid a price for a stolen adolescence.

The asylum in this film is pure evil, religious doctrine run amuck in the quest for money through cheap labor and in the riotous unleashing of perversity. English judges for centuries have often used a word rarely found in American case law to describe persons and events: the word is wicked. This film projects an unending parade of wicked people performing wicked acts. It doesn't condemn Catholicism, it indicts the operation by the church in Ireland of one type of soul and body destroying evil. The Church can no more defend the Magdalene asylums than it can the predatory pedophiles in the priesthood. That's the simple reality.

Audience members loudly gasped and a number cried during the showing. This isn't a film for the fainthearted or those who want their illusions about a bucolic and verdant Ireland filled with dancing and music unaffected by the reality of a genuine tragedy now coming to light.


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