The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945)

bells of st marys poster 1945 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

The downer ending keeps it from being completely cheery

Bing Crosby just has to sing in every movie

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Bells of St. Mary’s

Studio:  Rainbow Productions

Genre(s):  Drama/Musical/Seasonal

Release Date(s):  December 6, 1945

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


You wacky nun!

Father Chuck O’Malley (Bing Crosby) has just been transferred to St. Mary’s school where Sister Mary Benedict (Ingrid Bergman) is waging a war against an industrialist named Horace P. Bogardus (Henry Travers) who wishes to tear down the school.  As Father O’Malley tries to broker a deal between Bogardus and the school, he learns to admire Sister Benedict’s tenacity, but a tragic turn of events might mean that Sister Benedict has to leave the school forever.

Directed by Leo McCarey, The Bells of St. Mary’s is a drama musical.  A sequel to the Oscar winning film Going My Way (1944), the movie was met with positive reviews.  The film was the first sequel nominated for Best Picture and the first time a Best Actor was nominated for playing the same role again (Crosby for Going My Way).  The film won a best Oscar for Sound and also Best Actress (Bergman), Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Score, and Best Song (“Aren’t You Glad You’re You”).


We’re just soooo good.

I had seen Going My Way and despite being a constant during the holiday period, I never saw The Bells of St. Mary’s.  There is no need to see Going My Way to enjoy this film, and the movie was actually planned to be the first film with Father Chuck O’Malley.  The film is often considered a holiday film, but the only Christmas reference is a segment that has the children performing a Nativity play. With this and the spiritual aspect of the characters, I guess it could be considered a Christmas film, but you don’t have to wait until Christmas to watch it.

The movie is one of those “nice” movies. Despite a bit of a downer of an ending, you don’t expect much of a danger or threat for the characters.  You know that everything is going to turn out ok so the darkness at the ending is the only thing that goes against this (and even it is seen with optimism by the characters).


I’m going to knock you’re block off, kid!

Bergman and Crosby are great, but I’ve always felt Crosby was just too shiny and clean to be taken seriously as a dramatic actor.  Bergman on the other hand has a challenge playing humor, but it does work out for both actors here…of course with Crosby involved, there is the obligatory singing.

The Bells of St. Mary’s isn’t on as much at the holidays as when I was growing up.  With It’s a Wonderful Life, it always seemed to be on during the weekends and overnights.  It is worth checking out, but as a regular dramatic film, not a holiday film.

Related Links:

Going My Way (1944)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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