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El verdugo
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The Executioner (1963) More at IMDbPro »El verdugo (original title)


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Down 12% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Luis García Berlanga (story) and
Rafael Azcona (story) ...
View company contact information for The Executioner on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
17 February 1964 (Spain) See more »
An undertaker gets married to an old executioner's daughter and, although he doesn't like it, must continue the profession of his father-in-law after his retirement. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
4 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
An unknown comical masterpiece which uses humour to denounce the death penalty See more (7 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Nino Manfredi ... José Luis Rodríguez, el enterrador
Emma Penella ... Carmen, la hija de Amadeo
José Isbert ... Amadeo, el verdugo (as Jose Isbert)
José Luis López Vázquez ... Antonio Rodríguez, el hermano mayor de José Luis (as Jose Luis Lopez Vazquez)
Ángel Álvarez ... Álvarez, el enterrador (as Angel Alvarez)
Guido Alberti ... Director de la prisión
Julia Caba Alba ... Mujer visitante de la obra nº 2
María Luisa Ponte ... Estefanía (as Maria Luisa Ponte)
María Isbert ... Ignacia (as Maria Isbert)
Erasmo Pascual ... San Martín
Xan das Bolas ... Guarda de la obra
José Orjas ... Marqués (as Jose Orjas)
José María Prada ... Funcionario de prisiones (as Jose Maria Prada)
Félix Fernández ... Organista (as Felix Fernandez)
Antonio Ferrandis ... Funcionario de prisiones
Lola Gaos ... Mujer visitante de la obra nº 3 (as Dolores Gaos)
Santiago Ontañón ... Sr. Corcuera, el académico (as Santiago Ontañon)
Alfredo Landa ... Sacristán
José Sazatornil ... Administrador (as Jose Saza)
Agustín González ... Hombre que pelea en la calle nº 1 (as Agustin Gonzalez)
Goyo Lebrero ... Hombre que pelea en la calle nº 2 (as Goyo Lebreros)
Sergio Mendizábal ... Acompañante del marqués (as Sergio Mendizabal)
Vicente Llosa
Chus Lampreave ... Mujer visitante de la obra nº 1
José Luis Coll ... Cantor (as Jose Luis Coll)
José Cordero (as Jose Cordero)
Pedro Beltrán (as Pedro Beltran)
Rafael Hernández ... Cartero (as Rafael Hernandez)
Dolores García (as Dolores Garcia)
Magdalena Mora
Enrique Pelayo
Enrique Tusquets
José Antonio Rodríguez (as Jose Anton Rodriguez)
Francisco Serrano
Antonio Pascual
Agustín Zaragoza ... Limpiabotas (as Agustin Zaragoza)
Valentín Tornos ... Vendedor de libros (as Valentin Tornos)
Antonio Alfonso Vidal ... Doctor de la prisión (as Antonio A. Vidal)
Lorenzo Nogueras
Emilio Alonso (as Emilio A. Ferrer)
Elena Santonja
Emilio Laguna ... Funcionario de Aduanas (as Enrique Laguna)
Magda Maldonado
Gonzalo Parra
Carmen Ripoll
Javier Escobar
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Manuel Alexandre ... Condenado (uncredited)
Elvira Quintillá ... (uncredited)

Directed by
Luis García Berlanga  (as Luis Gª. Berlanga)
Writing credits
Luis García Berlanga (story) (as Luis Gª Berlanga) and
Rafael Azcona (story)

Luis García Berlanga (screenplay) (as Luis Gª Berlanga) and
Rafael Azcona (screenplay)

Ennio Flaiano (screenplay collaboration)

Produced by
Nazario Belmar .... executive producer
Moris Ergas .... co-producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Miguel Asins Arbó  (as Miguel Asins Arbo)
Cinematography by
Tonino Delli Colli (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Alfonso Santacana 
Art Direction by
Luis Argüello 
Set Decoration by
José Antonio de la Guerra 
Makeup Department
José Luis Campos .... assistant makeup artist
María Teresa Gamborino .... hair stylist
Francisco Puyol .... makeup artist
Production Management
José Manuel M. Herrero .... unit production manager (as Jose Manuel M. Herrero)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Félix Fernández .... second assistant director (as Felix Fernandez)
Ricardo Muñoz Suay .... assistant director
Art Department
Luis Cuevas .... property master
Manuel Frías .... set dresser (as Manuel Frias)
Juan García .... construction coordinator
José María Guerra .... assistant set decorator (as Jose Maria de la Guerra)
Sound Department
Felipe Fernández .... sound engineer (as Felipe Fernandez)
Camera and Electrical Department
Miguel Agudo .... camera operator
José Cobos .... second assistant camera (as Jose Cobos)
Alejandro Diges .... still photographer
Ramón Sempere .... assistant camera (as Ramon Sempere)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Humberto Cornejo .... wardrobe
Maruja Hernáiz .... tailor
Editorial Department
Pilar Bernardo .... second assistant editor
Alicia Castillo .... assistant editor
Other crew
Ramón Baillo .... production assistant
Francisco Escobar .... production assistant
Concepción Hidalgo .... script supervisor (as Conchita Hidalgo)
Julio F. Alymán .... voice dubbing: Vendedor de pólizas (uncredited)
Vicente Bañó .... voice dubbing: Megafonia de feria del libro (uncredited)
Rafael de Penagos .... voice dubbing: Alfredo Landa (uncredited)
Lucita García Luengo .... voice dubbing: Mujer en feria del libro (uncredited)
Antolín García .... voice dubbing: José María Prada (uncredited)
Víctor Orallo .... voice dubbing: Enrique Tusquets / Juan (uncredited)
José María Prada .... voice dubbing: Nino Manfredi (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"El verdugo" - Spain (original title)
See more »
Italy:90 min | Spain:87 min | USA:90 min | UK:91 min | Argentina:91 min | West Germany:90 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Did You Know?

Italian censorship visa # 42151 delivered on 24-1-1964.See more »
Amadeo, el verdugo:[subtitled version] You think that's bad? That's only 125 volts! The Americans are worse, with their electric chairs...See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Berlanga, plano personal (2011)See more »
El verdugoSee more »


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17 out of 19 people found the following review useful.
An unknown comical masterpiece which uses humour to denounce the death penalty, 5 March 2006
Author: Kevin.O.F ( from Spain

Luis García Berlanga's El Verdugo (The Executioner) was recently named the second greatest Spanish film of all time yet it still remains unknown to many non-Spanish people. Perhaps the reason it's so unknown is due to the fact that it was released during the Spanish dictatorship lead by General Franco and this did not permit it to get an international recognition and viewing. Whatever the reason, it's a pity that this little treasure of a film can not get the international recognition it deserves. It's one of the great black comedies I have seen, a fierce yet hilarious critique on the death penalty. Berlanga's inspiration is Franco's regime which practised it, but it has a universal appeal.

Filled with memorable gags, the story starts with Jose Luís (Nino Manfredi), an undertaker who is thinking of moving to Germany to become a good mechanic. In love with Carmen, daughter of Amadeo (José Isbert), an executioner, he is one day discovered by her father during there moment of intimacy and is forced to marry her – the undertaker marries an executioner's daughter. Jose Luís is faced with economic difficulties and the urgent need to create a new home for his new wife. The only way of solving this problem, it seems, would be accepting his father in law's offer (Amadeo): to take the vacant place of executioner Amadeo is leaving due to retirement. Only this way will he get a home. Under pressure from his surrounding, Jose Luís accepts the job convinced that he will never have to put it into practise. Life goes on pleasantly in his new home until one day he receives the feared telegram: he must execute a convicted man.

The story, filmed in a black and white photography that feels so fresh, sounds serious because below the comical surface, lies not only the serious subject matter of death penalty but also the wide spread pessimism caused by Franco's regime. Director Berlange could have chosen to tell the story as sad drama but he doesn't: in a way, he is laughing at the absurd logic and inhumanity he feels the death sentence is. The film's true brilliance lies not in the wonderful all around performances, but in its screenplay that takes on a comic tone that is apparently inoffensive to condemn an action that is just as inhuman as those committed by the executed. And the great irony is that the executioner goes through much worse emotionally than the executed in a great sequence. The movie looks with amusement at the idea of how those who execute can go on there days with a calm conscience. But don't get the wrong idea, El Verdugo does not portray the condemned as victims – it is not interested in there guilt or innocence. The only victims, it suggests, are those that accept to practise inhumanity under the name of justice. There are so many brilliant comical sequences that have nothing to admire from the exhausted and cheap comedies we get from many of the films nowadays.

This is a film that will certainly be less appealing to those in favour of the death penalty. For those who do not which to dwell on such a subject can look at it on its simplest level, which is that of a first rate comical masterpiece.

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