Black Narcissus

Black Narcissus

Michael Powell (1947)

U Certificate


Our Score
Winner of Oscars for art direction and cinematography, this adaptation of Rumer Godden's simmering novel by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger is one of the most striking examples of studio-controlled artifice in film history. Jack Cardiff's incredibly lush colour images not only enhance the beauty of the stylised Himalayan scenery, but also bring a certain grandeur to the melodramatic events at a remote mountain mission where the visit of English agent David Farrar causes passions to run dangerously out of control among the nuns. Kathleen Byron's eye-rolling jealousy awakens the occasionally sleepy plot and her scene with Deborah Kerr on the bell tower is a true classic. Sabu as a wealthy local general and Jean Simmons as the nubile native girl who attracts his attention provide a little eastern spice.


British nuns establish a school and hospital on a remote mountainside in the Himalayas, where the nursing sisters face isolation as well as native mistrust. However, it is the presence of a male land agent that takes a final toll on their peace of mind. Oscar-winning drama from directorial team Powell and Pressburger. With Deborah Kerr, David Farrar, Kathleen Byron, Flora Robson and Jean Simmons.

Cast & Crew

Sister Clodagh Deborah Kerr
Dilip Rai, the Young General Sabu
Mr Dean David Farrar
Sister Philippa Flora Robson
The Old General Esmond Knight
Kanchi Jean Simmons
Sister Ruth Kathleen Byron
Blanche, Sister Honey Jenny Laird
Sister Briony Judith Furse
Angu Ayah May Hallatt
Con Shaun Noble
Mother Dorothea Nancy Roberts
Director Michael Powell
Director Emeric Pressburger
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: BFIAvailable on: video, DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 5 Aug 2005