Movie Review – Joan of Arc 1948 with Ingrid Bergman – MUST SEE!


1948 Joan of Arc movie

I highly recommend Victor Fleming’s 1948 movie, Joan of Arc. It is amazingly powerful! As in any movie or book, you often find faults with some of the theology because of the writer’s perception or  lack of understanding about it.

The main actress, Bergman, and Fleming spared neither time nor expense in order to make the film historically accurate. Extensive research was done on every aspect of medieval life down to an accurate creation of medieval dog collars. The armor department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City created Joan’s armor.

The plot follows the historical records of the life of the fifteenth century French saint, Joan of Arc. It begins with the peasant girl Joan in the remote village of Domremy in Lorraine. She hears voices (don’t get disturbed with the movies interpretation of who is speaking to Joan–you’ll soon know who is talking to her) that tell her to go forth and save France from the invading English who have taken over most of its territory and prevented its rightful king, the Dauphin Charles VII, from achieving his coronation.

Saint Joan is sent by Robert de Baudricourt to the court of Charles VII at Chinon. Charles was a worldly man who tries to trick the Maid by hiding among his courtiers while a noble pretends to be the king. But Joan makes her way with certainty to the real king, and he is moved by her eloquence and positivism to recruit an army to fight the English.

Joan goes home after this and cuts her hair and gets men’s clothing for going to war. Her mother and family are appalled.


Joan of Arc is placed at the head of the French, army but its captains are not eager to follow her commands.

Joan at the front of the battle line

Saint Joan decides to circumvent her captains’ objections by appealing directly to her soldiers.

Joan telling the men how they would win the war in the power of the Lord

Moved by Joan’s stirring words, her soldiers agree to give up their evil ways in order that they might be victorious in battle and follow God alone.

Stirred by the sight of Joan, her men and the reluctant captains rally to her side.

Joan leads her troops to Orleans where the English have a death grip around the city.

Joan prayed for the victory

“Now is the time!” Joan bravely cries to her men. The attack on the Tourelles begins!

The actual story of Joan of Arc is much more powerful than the movie. But the movie is worthy of being in your movie library. So powerful is the last scene when she stands before a trial of the smartest judiciaries—no fear was ever on her as she knew her freedom would come through her martyrdom. Incredible life, incredible testimony on how to stand in the power of Jesus! Tears rolled down my cheeks at the end when she holds the cross. . .

There are many movies about Joan of Arc.  Presently, this is the only one I would recommend. (Don’t watch the 1928 silent, black and white movie about her. I highly disliked it. Highly!)

The 1948 version of Joan of Arc is 2 hours 2o mins

Consider these things:

1. Joan of Arc is the only person, of either sex, who has ever held supreme command of the military forces of a nation at the age of seventeen.

2. Mark Twain went to France to study every word ever written about Joan of Arc including her trial. He was completely enthralled by this young girl with such conviction and strength in the Lord. He spent 12 years studying every word written about her and then wrote a book about her. In his opinion it was the best book he ever wrote. I havent read it yet, but it is on my Christmas wish list. I’ll let you know about it after I read it. I don’t know if Mark Twain was a Christian or what his beliefs were. This is what he said:

“Her history has still another feature which sets her apart and leaves her without fellow or competitor: . . . she was the only one who ever ventured the daring detail of naming, along with a foretold event, the event’s precise nature, the special time-limit within which it would occur, and the place — and scored fulfilment.

At Vaucouleurs she said she must go to the King and be made his general, and break the English power, and crown her sovereign — “at Rheims.” It all happened. It was all to happen “next year” — and it did. She foretold her first wound and its character and date a month in advance, and the prophecy was recorded in a public record-book three weeks in advance. She repeated it the morning of the date named, and it was fulfilled before night.

At Tours she foretold the limit of her military career — saying it would end in one year from the time of its utterance — and she was right. She foretold her martyrdom — using that word, and naming a time three months away — and again she was right.

At a time when France seemed hopelessly and permanently in the hands of the English she twice asserted in her prison before her judges that within seven years the English would meet with a mightier disaster than had been the fall of Orleans: it happened within five — the fall of Paris. Other prophecies of hers came true, both as to the event named and the time-limit prescribed.”

3. She was poor, uneducated and with no military background whatsoever when she asked to lead the army of France.

4.  Before leading the army in each battle, she required the soldiers to pray, confess their sins, not to smoke or drink but to go before the Lord in righteousness asking Him to win the battles for them. She would have  her army of men gather around for daily prayer and devotions. She believed all that she accomplished was possible only through God’s intervention.

4. Nothing could sway her away from her convictions that God gave her, absolutely nothing.

There is much to be gained by studying someone with such conviction and unwavering dedication to Christ alone!


  • Very inspiring! I'd look to read Twain's book, too.

  • michelle said:

    My 4th grade, 9yr old is studying Joan of Arc and writing a paper on her. She has asked to see this movie but it's practically impossible to find a review to let parents know if this movie is appropriate for children. In your opinion, is this movie appropriate for the whole family, specifically, a 9yr old child?

    • Good question Michelle. Joan of Arc is burned at the stake at the end of the movie. That could be very disturbing for a 9 year old. You should watch it first and then decide. Blessings!! Sharon

  • Great review!

    We're linking to your article for Academy Monday at

    Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks Daniel! Be on the watch for my son-in-law's cinematography excellence, Alex Craig. He's your neighbor in NYC.

  • Pingback : Academy Monday – Watch: ‘Joan of Arc’ (Victor Fleming, 1948) | Seminal Cinema Outfit

  • Sharon, did you mean to type "1958" in your first sentence? I got a little confused.

    Thank you,
    Mary Van Dyke

    • Thank you SO much for catching that Mary! I corrected it! XOXOX