The Miracle Woman (1931)

The Miracle Woman


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Movie Info

Barbara Stanwyck turns out a fine performance as a charismatic, fiery female evangelist who finds herself exploited by greedy promoters who have secretly led her to believe that she has the power of healing. She is a pastor's daughter and first gets her start by strongly deriding the self-righteous, hypocritical congregation that cast her father out from their church and thereby caused him to die of shame and depression. During her impromptu sermon, sly promoter Sam Hardy overhears and sees in … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Jo Swerling, Dorothy Howell
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 3, 1997



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Critic Reviews for The Miracle Woman

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (4)

Full Review… | July 22, 2008
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 28, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A surprisingly darker film than most of those for 'feel good' filmmaker Frank Capra.

Full Review… | August 1, 2014
Ozus' World Movie Reviews


Full Review… | December 29, 2013

Audience Reviews for The Miracle Woman


a cynical capra film inspired by notorious evangelist aimee semple macpherson. a very young barbara stanwyck is great in one of her best early roles. it's similar in tone and plot to elmer gantry, another great film about religious hucksters based on macpherson, who lost most of her flock after faking her own kidnapping in 1926. you can tell this is precode as someone gets the bird lol

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer


Barbara Stanwyck gives a powerful performance in the title role. Frank Capra does a fine job directing. It's a good story, with a great pace and characters that are very well developed.

James Higgins

I surprisingly enjoyed this movie. It's a very well done complete movie with a very well written female lead. Stanwyck plays a woman angry at God and the Church for tossing her Minister father to the curb when he was sick and voices it. In her grief she ends up becoming the 30's version of a televangelist claiming to heal the sick. One day a young man who was blinded in an aviation accident is about to commit suicide... when he overhears one of her sermon's and stops himself. They meet and fall in love in a very sweet and believable way that feels very natural and sincere. She finally breaks away from the con routine and the two lovers get engaged and she finally finds peace as a Salvation Army girl.

This is one of Capra's preachy ones but it's much more subtle and interesting and naturalistic than his later ones were. I completely buy Stanwyck's transformation, motivation, and demeanor. The boyfriend even gets a great arc in finding joy in life despite his handicap and his maid is delightful as the comic relief.

A really great film if you can track it down. Early Capra really was quite good at make culturally unsympathetic characters really sympathetic.

Stephanie Merchant

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