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The Lady of Monza (1969)

La monaca di Monza (original title)
R | | Biography, Drama | May 1970 (USA)
A film loosely based on real life events of Marianna De Leyva, better known as "The Nun of Monza," a 17th century nun accused of and tried by the church for breaking celibacy and plotting murder.


Eriprando Visconti


Giampiero Bona (as Gian Piero Bona), Edward Bond (dialogue) | 2 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Anne Heywood ... Virginia de Leyva
Hardy Krüger ... Father Paolo Arrigone
Antonio Sabato ... Giampaolo Osio
Anna Maria Alegiani Anna Maria Alegiani ... Sister Ottavia Ricci
Margarita Lozano ... Sister Benedetta Homati (as Margherita Lozano)
Giovanna Galletti ... Sister Angela Sacchi (as Giovanna Galetti)
Caterina Boratto ... Sister Francesca Imbersaga
Renzo Giovampietro Renzo Giovampietro ... Vicar Saraceno
Laura Belli ... Sister Candida Colomba
Maria Michi ... Sister Bianca Homati
Rita Calderoni Rita Calderoni ... Isabella
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Michel Bardinet Michel Bardinet ... Giovanni degli Hortensi
Pier Paolo Capponi ... Count Taverna
Francesco Carnelutti Francesco Carnelutti ... Cantastorie
Tino Carraro Tino Carraro ... Monsignor Barrea


A film loosely based on real life events of Marianna De Leyva, better known as "The Nun of Monza," a 17th century nun accused of and tried by the church for breaking celibacy and plotting murder.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A true story taken from the archives of the archdiocese of Milan. See more »


Biography | Drama


R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

May 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Lady of Monza See more »


Box Office


$2,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Luchino Visconti had tried to make this with Sophia Loren, but it never materialized. See more »


Version of The Devils of Monza (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

THE NUN OF MONZA (Eriprando Visconti, 1969) **1/2
11 March 2009 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

The first time I became aware of this film's medieval erotic/religious/political narrative was via the VHS of a soft-core version of the same events called DEVILS OF MONZA (1986); other Italian adaptations were made in 1947, 1962 (perhaps the best-regarded of the lot – a viewing of which, incidentally, followed soon after this one), 1980 (directed by notorious "Euro-Cult" exponent Bruno Mattei!) and even a TV mini-series in 2004. Having preceded it by another "Nunsploitationer" – the slightly superior ABBESS OF CASTRO (1974) – one can see how the genre was thematically limited, but an obvious exploitation goldmine which bloomed at this particular time when a laxity in censorship made itself felt. In fact, the plots of both films have much in common – where the Mother Superior (in this case, Anne Heywood) is impregnated (rather than by a Bishop, here it's fugitive Antonio Sabato) and eventually victimized, more than anything else for political reasons; still, the corrupt cleric is still presented in the person of Hardy Kruger as the convent's Spiritual Director! As was the case with both the afore-mentioned ABBESS OF CASTRO and the even more notable FLAVIA, THE HERETIC (1974) – all of which were watched during the course of a singe day! – THE NUN OF MONZA's main assets are the prestigious names roped in to shoot and score it (Luigi Kuveiller and Ennio Morricone respectively); on the other hand, the career co-writer/director Visconti (despite being the nephew of celebrated auteur Luchino) did not amount to much! Anyway, Heywood is decent in the lead (looking startlingly like Giovanna Ralli from the 1962 version and who would go on to appear in THE NUNS OF ST. ARCHANGEL aka THE NUN AND THE DEVIL [1973]), but Sabato fatally lacks conviction as the man for whom she pretty much loses her soul (actually, their affair begins by his rape of her – bafflingly condoned by two fellow nuns who subsequently flee the convent with Sabato and, later still, are killed by him!). Sadly, Kruger is not given much to do in spite of the complexity of his role; also on hand are Giovanna Galletti (Baroness Graps from Mario Bava's KILL, BABY…KILL! [1966]) as the stricter nun who succeeds Heywood, Pier Paolo Capponi (later ascending to leading man for ABBESS OF CASTRO), a blonde Rita Calderoni as Sabato's jilted fiancée (I should be getting her NUDE FOR Satan [1974] soon, which promises to be pure "Euro-Cult" wackiness) and, oddly uncredited since both roles have considerable prominence, Carla Gravina (as yet another nun who makes the list of Sabato's conquests) and Luigi Pistilli (as a nobleman relative of Heywood's). While certainly watchable, the film is rather dull overall (especially considering that it is nowhere near as explicit as later genre outings) – though the poor English-dubbing may have also contributed to my dissatisfaction; even so, we get some unexpected moments of violence (Gravina is given a solid thrashing and thrown down flight of stairs by her fellow nuns who, in turn, end up on the receiving end of Sabato's ire as already mentioned) and Heywood's own fate – walled up alive in a darkened room – seems exceedingly harsh under the circumstances.

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