Cinema has a rich history of portraying nuns on the big screen. Such classics as The Sound of Music, The Nun’s Story, and Black Narcissus will always have a place in movie history for their careful portrayal of life in the habit. But what about those sisters of the silver screen who are sinful to watch?
Source: Touchstone Pictures
Source: 20th Century Fox
7. Whoopi Goldberg as Deloris Van Cartier/Sister Mary Clarence
Whoopi Goldberg’s performance in Sister Act, and to a lesser extent its sequel, is by far her sexiest role to date (which isn’t saying a whole lot). If you didn’t already know, Whoopi plays a small time Reno lounge singer delightfully named Deloris Van Cartier who is forced to go into hiding as a nun after witnessing her good-for-nothing mob boyfriend execute his rat of a driver. The sassy Ms. Van Cartier is forced to wear a habit, go by the name of Sister Mary Clarence, and take a vow of celibacy (which is almost a deal breaker for the feisty Deloris). But Sister Mary Clarence finds her calling when she takes over the church choir. By adding a little showbiz pizzazz, the sister turns it into a singing sensation.
6. Amy Adams as Sister James
Photo: Vera Anderson/WireImage/Getty Images
Amy Adam received an Academy Award nomination for her role as the mousy, nosey, and naïve Sister James in Doubt. While her flaming red hair is covered up in a fetching black bonnet throughout the film, her cuteness still shines through. In a film with a decidedly dark subject matter, Adams was a tiny ray of light. Whenever she appeared on screen you’d half expect her to burst into song à la Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music. In fact Adams is really just a sexier Julie Andrews.
5. Debbie Reynolds as The Singing Nun
Photo: GAB Archive/Redferns/Getty Images
The Singing Nun is essentially a rock-biopic of the world’s first (and arguably only) superstar singing nun. In the film Debbie Reynolds plays Jeanine Deckers, a Belgian nun who became a worldwide singing sensation in 1963 with her song "Dominique." The film is sickly sweet, feel good, and Debbie Reynolds is adorable. To date "Dominique" is the only Belgian song ever to hit number one on the U.S. charts. That’s some mighty divine intervention.
4. Shirely MacLaine as Sister Sara
Source: Universal Pictures
For a short time Shirley MacLaine was the go-to girl when Hollywood needed a sexy nun. She has donned the habit (and proceeded to sexily take it off) in two films. In the first she played Sister Sara in the Clint Eastwood action adventure flick Two Mules for Sister Sara. Eastwood saves her from a gruesome attempted rape at the beginning of the film and Sister Sarah returns the favor by sinfully getting it on with the grizzled cowboy. She first politely reveals that she is not an actual nun; but rather using the habit as a cover. She’s so tricky.
MacLaine’s second turn in the habit occurred in Cannonball Run II where she played a musical theater performer who gets picked up on the side of the road with her sexy friend (also dressed as a nun) by Burt Reynolds and crew. Comedy gold ensues.
3. Lindsay Lohan as The Sister
Source: 20th Century Fox
The troubled actress has been conspicuously absent from the big screen of late so it probably wasn’t a higher calling that led to her role in Machete. Rather it’s likely no one else was willing to give her a check and trust that she’d actually turn up to deliver her lines. While Lohan’s acting skills are less than impressive in the film, her scene as a gun-wielding sister of the cross in full habit is one of highlights of the film and a lovely nod to the nunsploitation films of the '70s.
2. Penelope Cruz as Rosa
Source: Sony Pictures Classics
Before Penelope Cruz crossed over into Hollywood films she played a fiery nun named Rosa in Pedro Almodóvar’s epically good epic All About My Mother. Rosa is no ordinary nun and it’s fair to say she had wandered somewhat off the straight and narrow path. While Rosa has the saintly job of working in a shelter for battered prostitutes, she's not so saintly when it comes to adhering to the vow of celibacy. In the film Rosa is pregnant and, as if that wasn't controversial enough, the father of her child is an AIDS-infected transvestite named Lola. Try explaining that to the Mother Superior.
1. Anita Ekberg as The Killer Nun
Anita Ekberg stars as Sister Gertrude in the Italian-produced nunsploitation film The Killer Nun. Sister Gertrude is one saucy sister with sexy blonde hair, killer blue eyes, and a thirst for bloody revenge. Following botched brain surgery, Sister Gertrude becomes a heroin addict, has a lesbian affair with another nun and takes steps to seek revenge on the man who ruined her happiness. The film is full of sex, violence, and ungodly behavior. The Killer Nun was so controversial that it was banned in the UK until 2006.
Bonus: Megan Fox as Sister Teresa
Sadly, this is not a real film (if it was it’d be number one on the list). Rather it’s a parody trailer used to promote Fox’s little seen film How to Lose Friends & Alienate People.