Nuns on the Run

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Nuns on the Run
Nuns on the run poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jonathan Lynn
Produced by Michael White
Written by Jonathan Lynn
Music by Yello
Hidden Faces
Frank Fitzpatrick (Music Supervisor)
George Harrison
Cinematography Michael Garfath
Edited by David Martin
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
16 March 1990
Running time
89 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office $10,959,015

Nuns on the Run (or Nuns on the Run: The Story of an Immaculate Deception) is a 1990 British comedy film starring Eric Idle and Robbie Coltrane, also featuring Camille Coduri and Janet Suzman. The film was written and directed by Jonathan Lynn and produced by HandMade Films. Many of the outdoor scenes were shot in Chiswick. The soundtrack was composed and performed by Yello and also features George Harrison's song "Blow Away".


After their boss is killed during a bank heist, London gangsters Brian Hope (Idle) and Charlie McManus (Coltrane) desire to lead more peaceful lives in Brazil, disapproving of their new younger and more brash boss, Casey (Patterson). While planning to rob a local Triad gang of their ill-gotten drug money, Brian meets and falls in love with a waitress, Faith (Coduri). During the robbery, Brian and Charlie betray their crew, steal the money and flee, but are forced to abandon their car when it runs out of petrol and seek refuge in a nearby nunnery during the ensuing gunfight. Faith, who had tried to warn Brian beforehand, is shot in the wrist, while one of the triads is shot and hospitalised. Casey places a bounty on Brian and Charlie's heads.

Disguising themselves as nuns, Brian and Charlie introduce themselves to the Sister Superior, Liz, as Sisters Inviolata and Euphemia, respectively. Faith, having witnessed the gunfight and Brian and Charlie fleeing into the nunnery, follows them and poses as a mature student to get inside. Her gunshot wound is exposed and she is taken to the infirmary. Brian pays her a secret visit and claims he is married in order to end their relationship for her safety. When Faith intends to go to church and confess, Charlie distracts the priest, Father Seamus, while Brian poses as him. Faith admits she still loves Brian, but Brian convinces Faith to keep silent. On her way out, she is abducted by the Triads and interrogated. She directs them to Casey and they set her free, but bumps into a lamppost and hits her head on the road, ending up in the hospital, where one Triad has infiltrated the staff as a janitor. Brian and Charlie acquire tickets to Brazil, despite Brian's desire to take Faith with them.

Brian decides to tell Faith the truth, but discovers she has not returned to the nunnery. They go to her apartment and only barely escape their former fellow gangsters. They sneak back into the nunnery and manage to slip into their spare habits after accidentally waking up an eccentric nun, Sister Mary. In conversation, Brian learns that Faith is in the hospital, with her father and brother who are protecting her from the gang. He visits her, but she is heartbroken, believing that Brian no longer loves her. They attempt to flee for the airport the next morning, but are caught and exposed by Sister Mary. In desperation, they steal a truck and head for the airport, pursued by their comrades and Sisters Liz and Mary. Morley and Abbott follow them. Brian forces Charlie to go to the hospital, where Brian tells Faith the truth while Charlie stalls the gangsters. They manage to escape the hospital with Faith and Casey is arrested, though one briefcase of money is lost during the chase. Sister Liz and Sister Mary find the lost case of drug money and decide to use it to fund a drug rehabilitation clinic.

Brian, Charlie and Faith reach the airport and checkin, when an airport policeman warns the attendant about Brian and Charlie. They board the flight disguised as attendants and successfully escape the UK for Brazil.


  • Eric Idle as Brian Hope/Sister Euphemia of the Five Wounds.
  • Robbie Coltrane as Charlie McManus/Sister Inviolata of the Immaculate Conception.
  • Janet Suzman as Sister Liz, the Sister Superior of the nunnery.
  • Camille Coduri as Faith Thomas.
  • Robert Patterson as Mr. "Case" Casey.
  • Doris Hare as Sister Mary of the Sacred Heart.
  • Lila Kaye as Sister Mary of the Annunciation.
  • Tom Hickey as Father Seamus, the somewhat lecherous priest of the nunnery.
  • Robert Morgan as Morley, one of Casey's henchmen.
  • Winston Dennis as Abbott, one of Casey's henchmen and the bouncer of his health club.
  • Gary Tang as Ronnie Chang, the head of the Triads.
  • David Forman as Henry Ho.
  • Ozzie Yue as Ernie Wong, the most senior of the Triads.

As an in-joke, Brian Hope and Charlie McManus are credited as playing the flight attendants.


The movie received mixed reviews from critics, and was criticised in the United States for its lack of depth and excessive use of nuns for humour. Nuns on the Run currently holds a 47% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Roger Ebert asked, "Why do filmmakers so often insist that nuns are funny? I'll bet there are some psychological reasons buried around here somewhere."[1] Ebert and Gene Siskel had also ridiculed Fox's advertising campaign for the film; in retaliation, Fox's president of marketing, Bob Harper, announced that they would be barred from press screenings of future films released by the company, though he backed down later that year under pressure from the Chicago Film Critics Association (of which neither Siskel nor Ebert was a member).[2] Michael Wilmington of the Los Angeles Times noted that as far as drag comedies go, the film "has some bawdy class--but only because of its casting."[3]

Vincent Canby wrote in The New York Times that "Nuns on the Run is a great leveler. It makes everyone in the audience feel a rascally 8 years old, the age at which whoopee cushions (when they work) seem the greatest invention since firecrackers."[4] Owen Gleiberman wrote in one of Entertainment Weekly's first issues that the film "isn't a madcap-hysterical, end-of-the-empire drag farce; it doesn't hash over what Monty Python did definitively over 20 years ago. It's a cleverly directed caper comedy about two crooks on the lam, and it has its fair share of chuckles."[5]

Box office[edit]

The film was successful in the US on limited release, making $658,835 in first screenings at 76 theatres.[6] Nuns on the Run grossed $10,959,015 US dollars, according to Box Office Mojo.

Home media[edit]

The distribution rights for Nuns on the Run was initially held by Anchor Bay Entertainment for DVD release in the United Kingdom. The original DVD was made available on 8 April 2002.[7] A second printing was released on 10 October 2005 under their sub label 'Bay View',[8] while a third and final release came from Anchor Bay, alongside Time Bandits in a 'Double Disc Box Set' on 6 February 2006.[9] After which, the then Optimum Releasing (now StudioCanal UK) released the film on the 4 January 2010.[10] Arrow Films currently hold distribution rights to the film as all previous releases are now out-of-print. Arrow released Nuns on the Run to DVD on 27 June 2016.[11]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]