Black Narcissus

Critics Consensus

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100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 31

88%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,250
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Black Narcissus Photos

Movie Info

In this unusual, visually stunning, and dramatically compelling film, Anglican nuns attempt to establish a school and hospital in the Himalayas in buildings that formerly housed a harem. But the sisters find the sensual atmosphere unsettling, and eventually sexual attraction to the ruling general's ruggedly handsome agent leads to tragedy.

Cast

Deborah Kerr
as Sister Clodagh
Sabú
as Dilip Rai
David Farrar
as Mr. Dean
Flora Robson
as Sister Philippa
Esmond Knight
as Gen. Toda Rai
Kathleen Byron
as Sister Ruth
Jenny Laird
as Sister Honey
Judith Furse
as Sister Briony
Mary Hallatt
as Angu Ayah
Eddie Whaley Jr.
as Joseph Anthony
May Hallatt
as Angu Ayah
Eddie Whaley Jr.
as Joseph Anthony
Nancy Roberts
as Mother Dorothea
Ley On
as Phuba
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News & Interviews for Black Narcissus

Critic Reviews for Black Narcissus

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (31)

  • This is a landmark of Hollywood-on-Thames trompe-l'oeil.

    August 3, 2015 | Full Review…
  • There's something truly unearthly about this place of howling winds, yawning chasms and atmosphere thick with temptation. Sanctity, it will be proven, is no match for sin.

    January 1, 2013 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

    Keith Uhlich

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Run, don't walk to see this 1947 classic from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

    March 23, 2010 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • Powell's equally extravagant visual style transforms it into a landscape of the mind -- grand and terrible in its thorough abstraction.

    March 23, 2010 | Full Review…
  • Production has gained much through being in color. The production and camerawork atone for minor lapses in the story, Jack Cardiff's photography being outstanding.

    March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Theatre this Michael Powell film most certainly is, as stressed by the gothic melodrama of the story and the acting, the studio setting with its beautiful backdrops and vivid colours and the most deliberate of characters and events.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Dave Calhoun

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Black Narcissus

  • Oct 02, 2016
    Gloriously colourful (almost lurid, and at times almost gothic), this 1947 classic is teeming with sexual and racial subtext and has stunning set design.
    Daniel P Super Reviewer
  • Feb 12, 2016
    The sumptuous visuals blend seamlessly with the plot's themes of sexual repression and desire. How Kathleen Byron didn't become an instant star after her wild and unpredictable performance in this film is something of a mystery to me.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 27, 2013
    It's pretty to look at and builds to an admittedly tense climax, the way to get to that point is chock full of unengaging, meandering melodrama, and Black Narcissus ultimately collapses under the weight of such monotony.
    Isaac H Super Reviewer
  • Jan 30, 2013
    Ahead of its time in depicting the descent of nuns into the carnal within a strange and isolated environment. It probably was treated as a forbidden film at the time. The strong imagery still makes an impact today.
    John B Super Reviewer

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