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Agnes of God (1985)

Jane Fonda , Anne Bancroft , Norman Jewison  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jane Fonda, Anne Bancroft, Meg Tilly, Anne Pitoniak, Winston Rekert
  • Directors: Norman Jewison
  • Writers: John Pielmeier
  • Producers: Norman Jewison, Bonnie Palef, Charles Milhaupt, Patrick J. Palmer
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Georgian, Chinese, Thai
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment / Mill Creek
  • DVD Release Date: May 21, 2002
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000063ING
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,845 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Agnes of God" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

An isolated convent becomes the setting for murder in this suspenseful tale of spiritual passion and pride. Jane Fonda, Ann Bancroft and Meg Tilly star in Norman Jewison's riveting adaptation of the hit Broadway drama. When the infant of a young nun, Agnes (Tilly), is found strangled, a court-appointed psychiatrist, Martha Livingston (Fonda), must decide if the devout but troubled girl is fit to stand trial. In her quest for truth, Martha goes head to head with the intractable Mother Superior (Bancroft), who assures her that Agnes has no memory of the pregnancy. But the probe uncovers mysterious aspects of Agnes' personality, which lead to a shattering climax. Is AGNES OF GOD a hystericalyoung woman or is her ordeal divinely inspired?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film about a young nun who gets pregnant July 12, 2002
Agnes of God has a very tight script, plot and cinematography. It is gripping from end to end. The film is not about religion but about the inter-personal and intra-personal conflicts of a psychiatrist, the mother superior of a community of nuns and one of her young nuns.
Set in Montreal, the movie opens with a very young, pretty nun being discovered unconscious and splattered with a lot of blood. A dead newborn baby is also discovered in the room.
Presumably, unknown to anyone, the nun, Sister Agnes (Meg Tilly), had been pregnant, and she strangled the baby immediately upon its birth. She is charged with manslaughter.
A psychiatrist, Dr. Martha Livingston (Jane Fonda), is summoned by the court to make a diagnosis of the woman. Initially Dr. Livingston resisted the assignment, because she said, it was an open and shut case. The community of nuns is cloistered, and for Dr. Livingston to do her job, she must penetrate the world of the cloister. She is not at all congenial or sympathetic towards the nuns. It turns out she has her own emotional ax to flail against the church.
Mother Miriam Ruth (Anne Bankcroft), the mother superior of the convent, is equally hostile to Dr. Livingston. She is adamantly opposed to having a psychiatrist diagnose Sister Agnes, but she has no choice since it is a legal matter. She is faced with the dilemma of sending her young charge go to jail or the nuthouse. Later on, it comes out that the prioress has been keeping a few secrets of her own related to the issue.
Everyone denies knowing the girl was pregnant. No one has any idea how it happened. Its obvious the postulate/novice is suffering from a serious psychiatric illness, or several. She has the social and emotional development of a naïve grade school child.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
This is an interesting film that raises the questions as to whether miracles still exist in the modern world. The movie and play were criticized by some as being an attack on Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. Catholics have a good reason to be wary of broadsides from popular culture but sometimes these condemnations take the form of a knee jerk reaction. I for one found the movie a good debate about religion and spirituality and I found the movie to be highly moving and faith affirming.

The story concerns a young novitiate in a secluded convent in Canada who becomes pregnant and whose baby is killed.

The government is put in a difficult position since even though Canada has a large Catholic population a crime has been committed which must be investigated.

Jane Fonda, in one of her best roles, plays the neurotic psychiatrist Martha Livingstone who is sent to investigate the incident. The psychiatrist is not completely objective as she is what some might call "a fallen Catholic", someone who has unfortunately been harmed by religion. And she has an ax to grind.

Her nemesis (although "nemesis might be too strong of a word) is the mother superior of the convent played by Anne Bancroft. Her performance is also magnificent. Although the mother superior obstructs the investigation some of the most interesting dialogue about faith is between the psychiatrist and the mother superior. Both women almost more interested in Agnes to justify their own vocations and points of view as they are about getting to the truth.

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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A collsion of science with faith February 13, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Director Norman Jewison adapted the Broadway play of the same name with an A list of performers who, despite their individual and combined magnificent talents, can't quite salvage what might be to some a disappointing resolution. Still, getting there is a provocative odyssey in defining the fine line between divine faith and science. In a usually engaging performance, Jane Fonda is a chain-smoking psychiatrist in a French-speaking Canadian territory and is appointed by the Crown to evaluate the mental stability of a novice nun, Agnes (brilliantly played by Meg Tilley in an Oscar-nominated supporting role) who gives birth and then kills her newborn in her blood-spattered convent room. Soon, with Agnes proclaiming Immaculate Conception and virgin birth, the film's premise of faith vs. science vs. rape is laid. All too soon, Fonda clashes with the protective but domineering Mother Superior (Ann Bancroft, also in an Oscar-nominated turn). With the Crown dubious about Agnes' version of how she got pregnant, it nonetheless wants the case quickly adjudicated so as not to create a battered public image associated with prosecuting a nun. Along the way, we learn that the strain between Fonda and Bancroft is the former's rejection of the Catholic faith stems from the former's bad experience with a sister during childhood. Still, the focus is on the extent of human faith and its sometimes incompatibility with science. All three actress - Fonda, Bancroft and Tilley - are captivating in their adverse positions with each other in the argument of Science vs. God. The film's resolution is consistent with contemporary dogma and leaves us somewhat puzzled but more disturbed by its hint that faith may not be enough to salvage ourselves. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
all is great
Published 27 days ago by Armond Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars good price.
Received this in timely manner, good price.
Published 1 month ago by Jeni L. Gomez
5.0 out of 5 stars A great movie that still rings true today.
Having been a Nun myself at one time, this gives the uninitiated a rare glimpse inside the monastery walls. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Stephanie E. Horn
4.0 out of 5 stars strange
this has got to be one of the strangest movies i have ever seen. i had to watch it again but i still don't get it. i was not raised catholic so maybe that is why i don't get it.
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie, Great Seller..
I received the movie in record time and the condition was like new.
This is one of Jane Fonda's best roles.
A very moving and thought provoking film. Read more
Published 4 months ago by JoAnn
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Broadway Play...
...unfortunately this is the only version you can get. Fonda's performance is eclipsed by Ann Bancroft, one of the the greater American actresses.
Published 4 months ago by John C. Hannon
5.0 out of 5 stars A Detective Story inside a Nunnery
What starts as a detective story about a very naïve nun and her dead baby, turns into a search for the truth and in the end (I won't give spoiler) it turns into something else that... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Richard
5.0 out of 5 stars Sticks with you
I like this movie-Jane Fonda and Anne Bancroft show their talents and Meg Tilly is very good-once again this was a movie that I caught myself watching every time it was on cable... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Danelle Reetz
5.0 out of 5 stars The movie has been around for a while.
The story is very good. You should give it a try. Its good to see Meg Tillie in a drama.
Published 6 months ago by Laura Drake
5.0 out of 5 stars Good movie
One of the better movies I have seen. I bought this for a school project and really liked the movie.
Published 6 months ago by M. Franco
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