The glitz and glam of being a lounge singer meld with the rigid lifestyle of a convent in this quirky comedy starring Whoopi Goldberg. Goldberg portrays Deloris Van Cartier, who, under witness protection, joins a convent to hide from her murderous gangster boyfriend.
More than just a comedy, Paul Rudnick wrote a musical that brings together two different styles of music – gospel and rock-and-roll. After many rewrites, however, Rudnick wished to be credited as Joseph Howard. Marc Shaiman was behind the musical arrangement, which helped fuel this riotous film directed by Emile Ardolino. Maggie Smith, Harvey Keitel, Bill Nunn, Mary Wickes, and Kathy Najimy round out the cast of Sister Act.
Released in 1992, you can watch Sister Act online to follow the exploits of the sinful Deloris.
Here’s how to stream Sister Act right now:
How to Stream ‘Sister Act’ – Exclusively on Disney+
Sister Act is a hilarious comedy that is streaming exclusively on Disney’s new subscription streaming service, Disney+.
You can stream Sister Act and hundreds of other movies and shows on your computer, phone, tablet, smart TV or streaming device. The service costs $6.99/month. You may also opt for this discount bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99/month.
- 1. Sign up for Disney+ here
- 2. Go to Disneyplus.com or download the Disney+ app on your device
- 3. Log in using your information
- 4. Search for “Sister Act”
- 5. Tap on Sister Act
- 6. Tap the Play Button
- 7. Enjoy!
Disney+ also boasts a vast library of Disney-owned movies and series — plus several new original series coming soon. The service includes unlimited downloads so you can watch offline whenever and wherever you want. The list of compatible devices and smart TVs includes iPads, Apple TV, Amazon devices, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Chromecast, Roku, PS4, and Xbox One.
‘Sister Act’: Overview
Release Date: May 29, 1992
Creators: Joseph Howard
Director: Emile Ardolino
Starring: Whoopi Goldberg, Maggie Smith, Harvey Keitel, Kathy Najimy, Mary Wickes
A boisterous lounge singer is forced to fit in within a convent after she witnesses a crime involving her gangster boyfriend.
How Long Is ‘Sister Act’?
Sister Act has a runtime of 100 minutes.
‘Sister Act’ Plot
Deloris Van Cartier isn’t a saint, but when she witnesses her boyfriend, gangster Vince LaRocca kill an informant, she has to leave her flashy lifestyle behind. Police Lieutenant Eddie Souther works Deloris’ case, placing her in witness protection. Unfortunately for the loud-mouthed singer, her cover is a nun within a run-down convent in San Francisco.
Initially, Deloris has a hard time fitting into the rigid schedule and strict rules of Saint Katherine’s Parish. When she realizes her musical talents can help the convent’s choir, Deloris steps in to coach her fellow sisters. Unfortunately, the rising fame of the newly reformed choir starts to draw attention, putting Deloris and her identity of Sister Mary Clarence in danger.
‘Sister Act’ Cast
Sister Act is headlined by a talented cast, many of whom sang their own parts during the movie’s rock/gospel renditions of classic songs.
Whoopi Goldberg as Deloris Van Cartier/Sister Mary Clarence
The outgoing lead of Sister Act, Deloris Van Cartier needed to be able to sing and act. Initially, in 1987, screenwriter Paul Rudnick intended to have Bette Midler fulfill the leading role. Midler turned down the role, fearing her fans would not want to watch her play a nun. Goldberg was later signed on, which forced several rewrites to Rudnick’s original script. Rene Russo and Glenn Close were also considered for Deloris.
Maggie Smith as Reverend Mother/Mother Superior
Reverend Mother oversees the operations of Saint Katherine’s Parish and is initially reluctant to allow Deloris into the convent. Despite her initial reservations about Deloris, Reverend Mother starts to see the importance of music and the lounge singer’s presence. Carol Brunett, Diane Keaton, and Meryl Streep were also considered for the role.
Harvey Keitel as Vince LaRocca
As Deloris’ gangster boyfriend, Keitel’s Vince LaRocca is the catalyst for her placement in witness protection. This is far from Keitel’s first portrayal of a criminal. In the same year, he portrayed Mr. White in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs and the titular Lieutenant of Bad Lieutenant. Bad Lieutenant also featured the sisterhood and revolves around a nun.
Wendy Makkena as Sister Mary Robert
Mousy and quiet throughout Sister Act, Sister Mary Robert becomes the focus of Deloris’ coaching. When she finally finds her voice, singer and voice actress Andrea Robinson steps in for the impressive vocals. Lauren Holly, who later played Mary in Dumb and Dumber, had auditioned for the role of Sister Mary Robert.
‘Sister Act’ Songs and Soundtrack
A movie like Sister Act has to have a memorable soundtrack, and the Hollywood Records release proved to be a hit. Originally released on June 9, 1992, the Sister Act soundtrack featured songs performed by the cast. Just like in the movie, Andrea Robinson stood in for the singing voice of Sister Mary Robert. Tracks composed by Marc Shaiman were also included, as were pre-recorded songs used in the background.
When the Sister Act soundtrack released, it debuted at #74 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart. When it eventually reached #40, Sister Act sat there for 54 weeks. By January 1993, the soundtrack had sold 500,000 copies, earning it a Gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America.
‘Sister Act’ at the Box Office
Sister Act released alongside Lethal Weapon 3, Patriot Games, and Batman Returns, but had no problem reaching the #2 spot and staying there for four weeks. After its release, the movie scored $139 million domestically and $92 million overseas. Its gross earnings of $231 million made it the eighth-highest-grossing film worldwide.
‘Sister Act’ Reviews – What the Critics Said
Despite the film’s box office success, Sister Act received a mixed response from critics. The film was panned for its slower pacing and some critics believed Vince LaRocca’s storyline didn’t fit within the movie’s comedic tone.
Where ‘Sister Act’ Fits in the Disney Movie Pantheon
Critics may not have immediately fallen in love with Sister Act but that didn’t stop it from earning two Golden Globe nominations for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical. Sister Act went on to build a franchise that includes a sequel, Back in the Habit, and a stage production. Whoopi Goldberg is also building on the popularity and success of Sister Act and its 2006 musical by joining the cast of a limited run of Sister Act: A Divine Musical Comedy as Deloris.
‘Sister Act’ Trailer
‘Sister Act’ Trivia: 5 Fast Facts
A movie as popular and well-known as Sister Act is sure to have an assortment of fun facts. For your reading pleasure, here they are!
1. Sister Act Nuns Run
Just before the stage adaptation of Sister Act opened in 2009, the cast and the Barnardo’s Children’s Charity joined together for the first Sister Act Nuns Run. The event served to promote the musical while also raising money for Barnardo’s: Believe in Children. The first run drew in nearly 1,000 people. Additional runs were held in 2010 and 2011.
2. A Musical Legacy
Sister Act was originally adapted into a musical in 2006. The record-breaking production ran for three months at the Pasadena Playhouse in California before closing but still grossed over $1 million. It later moved to the Alliance Theater in Atlanta in 2007. Additional productions popped up in London and Broadway, with Goldberg appearing in short runs as Mother Superior. In 2020, Goldberg was slated to return as Deloris in a limited run production.
3. Controversy in the Convent
After Sister Act started to see some success, it also became the focus of several lawsuits. The first came in 1993 when actress Donna Douglas and her partner Curt Wilson sued Disney, Goldberg, Bette Midler, their production companies, and Creative Artists Agency for allegedly plagiarizing from the couple’s book, A Nun in the Closet. The pair cited more than 100 similarities between their screenplay for the book and Sister Act. Though Disney offered them $1 million, the two declined. The judge ultimately ruled in favor of Disney. In 2011, Delois Blakely, a nun, sued the Walt Disney Company and Sony Pictures, claiming her autobiography from 1987 titled The Harlem Street Nun was the basis for Sister Act. By 2013, the lawsuit had been dismissed.
4. Researching the Habit
To help flesh out the realism of living within the sisterhood, Paul Rudnick was recommended to visit an actual convent. At the Regina Laudis Abbey in Bethlehem, CT, he met Mother Dolores Hart, who had once been an actress, singer, and dancer. Mother Hart became the only known nun to be a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
5. Trekkie Connections
It’s Six Degrees of Separation for Trekkies! Follow the cast of Sister Act and you’ll find that some found their way onto a Star Trek series, including Goldberg, who played Guinan on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Castmate Max Grodenchik starred as Rom on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Additionally, the girl who played a young Deloris at the start of the film also played a de-aged Guinan on The Next Generation.
There’s also a sequel, of course! Stream Sister Act 2 here.
Disclaimer: Heavy Inc. has affiliate relationships with various streaming content providers and may receive a commission if you sign up for a service via a link on this page.