The Nun's Story

  • PG
  • Fred Zinnemann (1959)
  • US
  • 145 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
5 out of 5

Kathryn C Hulme's popular novel here makes a magnificent vehicle for the luminous Audrey Hepburn, who plays a young Belgian girl battling with her conscience and wondering if she is truly cut out for her religious calling. Hepburn is a marvel, whether flirting with passion in the Congo (in the guise of Peter Finch, who's terrific as an agnostic doctor) or discovering that some nuns (Dames Edith Evans and Peggy Ashcroft) are only human after all. This is arguably director Fred Zinnemann's finest movie; it gained eight nominations, but no Oscars, in the year of Ben-Hur. Unjust, really, as you watch Franz Planer's superb photography, listen to Franz Waxman's haunting score and wonder to what greater heights popular cinema can aspire.

Plot Summary

Drama starring Audrey Hepburn and Peter Finch. After entering a convent, a young Belgian girl finds the principle of unquestioning obedience hard to observe.

Cast and crew


Sister Luke / Gabrielle Van Der Mal
Audrey Hepburn
Dr Fortunati
Peter Finch
Mother Emmanuel
Edith Evans
Mother Mathilde
Peggy Ashcroft
Dr Van Der Mal
Dean Jagger
Sister Margharita / Mistress of Postulance
Mildred Dunnock
Mother Christophe
Beatrice Straight
Sister William
Patricia Collinge
Sister Eleanor
Rosalie Crutchley
Mother Marcella
Ruth White
Archangel Gabriel
Colleen Dewhurst
Dr Goovaerts
Lionel Jeffries


Fred Zinnemann

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Warner Bros Pictures Ltd
Available on video and DVD
Certificate PG