Nuns on the Run
|Nuns on the Run|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jonathan Lynn|
|Produced by||Michael White|
|Written by||Jonathan Lynn|
Frank Fitzpatrick (Music Supervisor)
|Edited by||David Martin|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|16 March 1990|
Nuns on the Run 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, White City and Kings Cross. The soundtrack was composed and performed by Yello and also features George Harrison's song "Blow Away" in addition to Steve Winwood’s "Roll With It".
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 fellow gangsters, Abbott and Morley, 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 by Abbott, while one of the triads is shot and hospitalised. After this, 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 from Abbott and Morley, who had been sent to retrieve her by Casey. 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 Sisters Liz and Mary, Morley and Abbott, and eventually Casey and the Triads. 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 check-in, 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 Abbott, one of Casey's henchmen
- Winston Dennis as Morley, 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. Robert Patterson's performance as Mr. Casey was also widely panned. 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." 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). 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".
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." 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."
The distribution rights for Nuns on the Run were initially held by Anchor Bay Entertainment for DVD release in the United Kingdom. The original DVD was made available on 8 April 2002. A second printing was released on 10 October 2005 under its subsidiary 'Bay View', while a third and final release came from Anchor Bay, alongside Time Bandits in a 'Double Disc Box Set' on 6 February 2006. After which, the then Optimum Releasing (now StudioCanal UK) released the film on 4 January 2010. 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.
- "Nuns on the Run". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
- Gire, Dann (26 January 2008). "Chicago's Critics in the Fox hole". Chicago Film Critics Association. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
- "MOVIE REVIEW : 'Nuns on the Run': A Comedic and Risque Change of Habit". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
- "Review/Film;Hoods With a Habit, in 'Nuns on the Run'". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
- "Nuns on the Run". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
- Broeske, Pat H. (20 March 1990). "WEEKEND BOX OFFICE : 'Red October' Doing Fine in March". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
- "Nuns on the Run ". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
- "Nuns on the Run  [DVD]". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
- "Nuns On The Run/Time Bandits [DVD]". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
- "Nuns on the Run [DVD]". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
- "Nuns on the Run [DVD]". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
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