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Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit

Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit is a 1993 American musical comedy film loosely based on the life of Crenshaw High School choir instructor Iris Stevenson, and starring Whoopi Goldberg. Directed by Bill Duke, and released by Touchstone Pictures, it is the sequel to the successful 1992 film Sister Act. Most of the original cast reprise their roles in the sequel, including Maggie Smith, Kathy Najimy, Wendy Makkena, and Mary Wickes.[4][5]

Sister Act 2:
Back in the Habit
Sister Act 2 Back in the Habit film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Bill Duke
Produced by
Written by
Music by
Cinematography Oliver Wood
Edited by
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • December 10, 1993 (1993-12-10)
Running time
107 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $38 million[2]
Box office $57.3 million (US)[3]



Deloris van Cartier has become a famous actress since her time posing as a nun, performing in Las Vegas. During her last performance, she reunites with her friends, Sisters Mary Patrick, Mary Robert, and Mary Lazarus. They ask for her help, reuniting her with Reverend Mother, who explains that the convent nuns now work as teachers at the St. Francis Academy in San Francisco, which Deloris attended as a child. The school faces closure at hands of its administrator, Mr. Crisp, unless the school’s reputation can be improved. The nuns ask Deloris to reprise her persona as Sister Mary Clarence and become the new music teacher. Deloris reluctantly agrees.

At the school, Mary Clarence meets the school’s staff of monks, led by the humble but inept Father Maurice. She attends her first music class, meeting the rowdy teenagers, who are merely there to “pass” just by attending classes. Mary Clarence butts heads with the ringleader, Rita Louise Watson, who walks out when Mary Clarence introduces a firmer hand in class. The other students stay to avoid failure. When they break into spontaneous, synchronised singing, Mary Clarence decides to turn them into a choir, which the students at first object to.

Mary Robert overhears Rita singing, and Mary Clarence convinces her to return to the class. The class and nuns restore the school’s decrepit music room and practice extensively, later performing before the whole school, led by the preachy but talented vocalist Ahmal. The nuns discover numerous trophies, revealing the school won the All-State Choir Championship in the past, and decide to enter the choir once again. Father Maurice gives his blessing to the choir’s entry, as long as they raise the money themselves and each student obtains parental consent to attend.

However, Rita’s strict but well-meaning mother Florence refuses to let her daughter attend, believing a musical career is a dead end after her husband died trying to make a name for himself. However, Rita forges her mother’s certificate to go on the trip, but leaves an apology note for her. Mr. Crisp recognises Mary Clarence as Deloris and warns Father Maurice of the sham, but the choir has already left for the competition. The monks pile into their old van and race to confront Mary Clarence.

Backstage at the competition, the choir are intimidated by the seasoned veterans and consider quitting, but Mary Clarence’s commitment inspires them to carry on. The monks arrive, Father Maurice deciding to support the choir upon seeing their change in enthusiasm, the other monks trapping Mr. Crisp in a closet to prevent him from interfering with Mary Clarence. The choir takes to the stage, Rita performing a solo before the choir perform an urban contemporary gospel rendition of “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”, with hip hop-inspired choreography.

The choir win the competition. The school’s local diocese, impressed with the performance, agree to keep the school and give the freed Crisp a promotion, Reverend Mother claiming that he came up with the idea for the school choir to begin with. Rita and Florence make amends, while the choir learns that Mary Clarence is actually an actress. They ask her if she is a Las Vegas showgirl, to which Mary Clarence claims she has never been such, but is a “headliner”.

The film closes with the choir and their teachers performing “Ain't No Mountain High Enough.”



Critical responseEdit

The film earned a dismal 7% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 28 reviews. Despite this, Goldberg was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance.[6]

Box officeEdit

Although not as successful as Sister Act, the film grossed over $57 million in the United States, against a $38 million budget.[7]


Sister Act 2 has historical significance as the first Hollywood blockbuster sequel headed by an African-American film director, Bill Duke. The movie also attracted a much younger audience towards gospel music, as well as helping to boost the musical career of actress Lauryn Hill.[citation needed]

It was also a breakout role for several young performers:

The film is popular for its (often altered) gospel songs and R&B classics and soul versions of church hymns. These songs include:

Aretha Franklin scored a worldwide hit single of her song A Deeper Love a different version of which appears over the second half of the closing credits, and features a backing vocal by Lisa Fischer.

The soundtrack album reached #74 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart[9] and #40 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[10] charts and received a Gold certification from the RIAA for shipment of 500,000 copies on March 26, 1996.[11]

Whoopi Goldberg's own daughter, Alex Martin, played one of the classroom kids in the movie.

Thomas Gottschalk earned his role as Father Wolfgang by winning a bet against Whoopi Goldberg on his German entertainment show Wetten, dass..?.[12]


  1. Greatest Medley Ever Told – Whoopi Goldberg & The Ronelles
  2. Never Should've Let You GoHi-Five
  3. Get Up Offa That Thing/Dancing in the Street – Whoopi Goldberg
  4. Oh Happy Day – St. Francis Choir featuring Ryan Toby
  5. Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today) – Whoopi Goldberg & the Sisters
  6. His Eye Is on the Sparrow – Tanya Blount & Lauryn Hill
  7. A Deeper LoveAretha Franklin & Lisa Fischer
  8. Wandering EyesNuttin' Nyce
  9. Pay Attention – Valeria Andrews & Ryan Toby
  10. Ode to Joy – Chapman College Choir
  11. Joyful, Joyful – St. Francis Choir featuring Lauryn Hill
  12. Ain't No Mountain High Enough – Whoopi Goldberg & Cast

The finale performance of "Joyful Joyful" was produced and arranged by Mervyn Warren, noted Jazz and gospel musician who is best known as an original member of a cappella vocal group Take 6.

DVD and Blu-ray releasesEdit

The all-region Blu-ray, including both Sister Act and Sister Act: Back in the Habit, was released on June 19, 2012 with both films presented in 1080p. The 3-disc set also includes both films on DVD with the same bonus features as previous releases.[13]


  1. ^ "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. December 20, 1993. Retrieved November 6, 2016. 
  2. ^ Jones, Vanessa (January 7, 1994). "`Sister Act 2' May Become Breakthrough For Filmmaker". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved September 25, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 29, 2017. 
  4. ^ Dutka, Elaine (December 5, 1993). "Back to School for Inspiration : How necessity and compromise turned 'The Iris Stevenson Story'--a drama about a passionately committed Crenshaw High School music teacher--into 'Sister Act 2'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 12, 2011. 
  5. ^ Billiter, Bill (December 9, 1993). "Chapman Choir Gets Its 'Sister Act' Together : Movies: Singers cast on short notice for the Whoopi Goldberg sequel. The experience is divine". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 12, 2011. 
  6. ^ "MTV Movie Awards 1994". MTV. June 9, 1994. Retrieved October 2, 2017. 
  7. ^ Fox, David J. (1993-12-13). "Wayne, Garth Party On at the Box Office Movies: `Wayne's World' sequel pulls in an estimated $14.2 million to push "Mrs. Doubtfire" into second place. "Sister Act 2" opens in third". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 5, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Sister Act 2: Oh Happy Day (film clip)". YouTube. June 26, 2006. Retrieved May 29, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Top 200 Albums". September 17, 1994. Retrieved May 29, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums". April 16, 1994. Retrieved May 29, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Gold & Platinum: Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved May 29, 2017. 
  12. ^ "'Sister Act': Where Are They Now?". May 24, 2012. Slide 16. Retrieved May 29, 2017. 
  13. ^ "Sister Act: 20th Anniversary Edition - Two-Movie Collection (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (1992)". Retrieved 20 June 2012. 

External linksEdit