Synopsis: It's 1964, St. Nicholas in the Bronx. A charismatic priest, Father Flynn, is trying to upend the school's strict customs, which have long been fiercely guarded by Sister Aloysius Beauvier, the iron-gloved Principal who believes in the power of fear-based discipline. The winds of political change are sweeping through the community, and indeed, the school has just accepted its first black student, Donald Miller. But when Sister James, a hopeful innocent, shares with Sister Aloysius her guilt-inducing suspicion that Father Flynn is paying too much personal attention to Donald, Sister Aloysius sets off on a personal crusade to unearth the truth and to expunge Flynn from the school. Now, without a shard of proof besides her moral certainty, Sister Aloysius locks into a battle of wills with Father Flynn which threatens to tear apart the community with irrevocable consequences.
Genre: Drama, Mystery
Production: Miramax
  Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 26 wins & 88 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
104 min

Jimmy, come on.

You're serving today.

Christeeeen! Where's my pants?

On the bed. If they had teeth,

they would've bit you.

If my pants had teeth...


Jimmy! Go to the store,

buy me the newspaper and cigarettes.

Can't. Serving mass. I'm an alter boy.

- Hey, Kevin!

- Hey, Jimmy!

- There you are.

- Overslept.

Well, you made it. I'll do the

cruets if you light the charcoal.

You think I'm fat?

You're alright. What? Clothes don't fit?

No, they fit.

You're gonna be going to the bakery

after mass.

- I am? Why don't you go?

- I'm gonna be making breakfast.

- I can make breakfast.

- When have you ever?

Funny man.

Good morning, Father.

Good morning, Father.

Be seated.

What do you do when you're not sure?

That's the topic of my sermon today.

Last year, when President Kennedy

was assassinated,

who among us did not experience

the most profound disorientation?


Which way?

What now?

What do I say to my kids?

What do I tell myself?

It was a time of people sitting together,

bound together

by a common feeling of hopelessness.

But think of that!

Your BOND with your fellow

being was your Despair.

It was a public experience.

It was awful, but we were in it together.

How much worse is it then

for the lone man, the lone woman,

stricken by a private calamity?

"No one knows I'm sick."

"No one knows I've lost

my last real friend."

"No one knows I've done something wrong."

Imagine the isolation.

Now you see the world

as through a window.

On one side of the glass:

happy, untroubled people,

and on the other side: you.

- God Bless you, Sister.

- Thank you.

I want to tell you a story.

A cargo ship sank one night.

It caught fire and went down.

And only this one sailor survived.

He found a lifeboat, rigged a sail...

and being of a nautical discipline...

turned his eyes to the Heavens

and read the stars.

He set a course for his home,

and exhausted, fell asleep.

Clouds rolled in.

And for the next twenty nights,

he could no longer see the stars.

He thought he was on course,

but there was no way to be certain.

And as the days rolled on,

and the sailor wasted away,

he began to have doubts.

Had he set his course right?

Was he still going on towards his home?

Or was he horribly lost and doomed

to a terrible death?

No way to know.

The message of the constellations---

had he imagined it because of his

desperate circumstance?

Or had he seen truth once...

Straighten. Up.

and now had to hold on to it

without further reassurance?

There are those of you in church today

who know exactly the crisis of faith

I describe.

And I want to say to you:

Doubt can be a bond as powerful

and sustaining as certainty.

When you are lost, you are not alone.

In the name of the Father, the Son,

and the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Please rise.

- Hey, Father.

- Hey, Champ.

That was some sermon.

Did it mean something to you?

I want to do that. I want to be a priest.

You'd be a good one, I'm sure.


Take a look.


She's dancin'. Kinda neat.

- Yeah.

- Here. You try.

That's for you. Take it.

- Thank you, Father.

- You're welcome.

Like Noah's Ark, girls. Two by two.

Morning, Sister James.

Good morning, Father Flynn.

Beautiful day.

Not too bad.

How are the criminals doing today?

- Not bad, Father.

- Good, Father.

- Morning, Champ.

- Morning, Father Flynn.

You wash those hands today,

Mister London?

I washed em, Father.

I don't know. They're a different

color than your neck.

- Good morning.

- Good morning, Father.

- Sister, are we having the test today?

- Tomorrow, William.

- Is it long division?

- Among other things.

- Sister.

- Good morning, Sister.

- How much of it will be long division?

- Boy!

William London. Come up here!

Come smartly now. Don't make me wait.

- What did he do?

- He touched Sister James.

The dragon is hungry!

You don't touch a nun.

Take out your history books, please.

Turn to page 683.

Yes, Ralph.

- I forgot my history book.

- You can look on with Raymond.

Mr. London?

Do you have your history book?

- No, Sister.

- Share with Mr. Malloy, please.

Do I have to? His breath stinks!

I'm sure Mr. Malloy's breath

is just fine.

Be seated.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the 32nd

president of The United States.

That barrette out of your hair,

Miss Horan.

Yes, Sister.

Morning, Sister James. Continue.

Franklin D. Roosevelt,

together with Abraham Lincoln

and John Fitzgerald Kennedy,

was perhaps our greatest president.

When he assumed office, 13,000,000

people in this country were unemployed.

They'd lost hope. And President

Roosevelt said to these people:

"The only thing we have to fear

is fear itself."

What did he mean by that? James?

I think he was trying to say there's

nothing really wrong, you know?

So don't get so emotional.


Maybe he was saying

that the world is good

and we need only work together

to overcome our problems.

What's this, Mr. Conroy?

I don't know, Sister.

You don't know

you have a wire coming out of your ear?

- No.

- Huh?


No, Sister. I didn't.

You come with me, boy.


Who knows what the New Deal was?

I love this song.

This past Sunday.

What do you think that sermon was about?

- Sister James.

- Huh?

What was Father Flynn's sermon about?

Well, Doubt.

He was talking about Doubt?


Excuse me, Sister?

Well, sermons come from somewhere,

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John Patrick Shanley

John Patrick Shanley is an American playwright, screenwriter, and theatre and film director. His play Doubt: A Parable won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as the 2005 Tony Award for Best Play. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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