7.6/10
8,701
92 user 28 critic

The Nun's Story (1959)

Not Rated | | Drama | 18 July 1959 (USA)
Trailer
3:12 | Trailer
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:

Fred Zinnemann

Writers:

Robert Anderson (screenplay), Kathryn Hulme (book) (as Kathryn C. Hulme)
Reviews
Nominated for 8 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A troublemaking student at a girls' school accuses two teachers of being lesbians.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, James Garner
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The sprightly young assistant of a Hollywood screenwriter helps him over his writer's block by acting out his fantasies of possible plots.

Director: Richard Quine
Stars: William Holden, Audrey Hepburn, Grégoire Aslan
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A couple in the south of France non-sequentially spin down the highways of infidelity in their troubled ten-year marriage.

Director: Stanley Donen
Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney, Eleanor Bron
Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A woman who must steal a statue from a Paris museum to help conceal her father's art forgeries is assisted by a man.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Peter O'Toole, Eli Wallach
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A recently blinded woman is terrorized by a trio of thugs while they search for a heroin-stuffed doll they believe is in her apartment.

Director: Terence Young
Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna
Funny Face (1957)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An impromptu fashion shoot at a book store brings about a new fashion model discovery in the shop clerk.

Director: Stanley Donen
Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Kay Thompson
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A middle-aged playboy becomes fascinated by the daughter of a private detective who has been hired to entrap him with the wife of a client.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Gary Cooper, Audrey Hepburn, Maurice Chevalier
Sabrina (1954)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A playboy becomes interested in the daughter of his family's chauffeur, but it's his more serious brother who would be the better man for her.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A young man in the jungles of Venezuela meets a strange girl of the forest and falls in love with her.

Director: Mel Ferrer
Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Anthony Perkins, Lee J. Cobb
Charade (1963)
Comedy | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Romance and suspense ensue in Paris as a woman is pursued by several men who want a fortune her murdered husband had stolen. Whom can she trust?

Director: Stanley Donen
Stars: Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau
Roman Holiday (1953)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A bored and sheltered princess escapes her guardians and falls in love with an American newsman in Rome.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Eddie Albert
War and Peace (1956)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Napoleon's (Herbert Lom's) tumultuous relations with Russia including his disastrous 1812 invasion serve as the backdrop for the tangled personal lives of two aristocratic families.

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Henry Fonda, Mel Ferrer
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Audrey Hepburn ... Sister Luke (Gabrielle van der Mal)
Peter Finch ... Dr. Fortunati
Edith Evans ... Rev. Mother Emmanuel (Belgium) (as Dame Edith Evans)
Peggy Ashcroft ... Mother Mathilde (Africa) (as Dame Peggy Ashcroft)
Dean Jagger ... Dr. Van Der Mal
Mildred Dunnock ... Sister Margharita (Mistress of Postulants)
Beatrice Straight ... Mother Christophe (Sanatorium)
Patricia Collinge ... Sister William (convent teacher)
Rosalie Crutchley ... Sister Eleanor
Ruth White ... Mother Marcella (School of Medicine)
Barbara O'Neil ... Mother Didyma (War-time Hospital)
Margaret Phillips ... Sister Pauline (medical student)
Patricia Bosworth Patricia Bosworth ... Simone (postulant who changed her mind)
Colleen Dewhurst ... Archangel Gabriel (Sanatorium)
Stephen Murray ... Chaplain (Father Andre)
Edit

Storyline

In 1930, in Belgium, Gabrielle van der Mal is the stubborn daughter of the prominent surgeon Dr. Hubert 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

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 »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 July 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Historia de una monja See more »

Filming Locations:

Belgium See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

After acquiring the rights to Kathryn Hulme's bestselling novel, Fred Zinnemann found that no one in Hollywood had any enthusiasm towards turning it into a film, citing it as being devoid of action. All that changed when Audrey Hepburn expressed a desire to take the lead role. Suddenly, a bidding war ensued which was won by Warner Brothers and netted them not only one of the most acclaimed films of the year but also their biggest financial hit for 1959. 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.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in All in the Family: A Night at the PTA (1979) 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.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
A Very High-Quality Film
17 November 2009 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

I was amazed how a long, fairly slow film like this could capture and keep my attention all the way through.....but it did. This is really a quality film, as those who have seen it for years, will attest. It's so well done, in all phases, that when the two-and-a-half hours are up, you just marvel and what you've witnessed.

Anyone who has tried to live a perfect life, to please God and never offend Him with sins of any nature, knows it is impossible. It is a noble pursuit, but an exercise in futility that can lead to utter frustration. That is the dilemma we witness here in this film through the life of a well-meaning and sweet-as-can-be Belgian lady: "Gabrielle van der Mal" who is renamed "Sister Luke" after completing her training as a nun in the 1930s. Audrey Hepburn is superb as this woman, who has the greatest of spiritual intentions and a heart not only for God but to be a great nurse and follow in her father's footsteps, a famous physician in his country.

Can't she be both? The answer, of course, is "yes," but that's not the answer she receives periodically at the convent, or interprets because she's so tough on herself, and it causes great inner conflict.

Hepburn doesn't have tons of dialog in here and doesn't require it. The different looks on her face during this long story, especially when there is disappointment, are priceless. They are so subtle, but so telling. I am one who would vote for this film as Audrey's best performance, which is saying a lot.


26 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 92 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed