The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)
"El espíritu de la colmena" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Fantasy  |  5 January 1977 (France)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 11,298 users   Metascore: 87/100
Reviews: 85 user | 69 critic | 4 from

A sensitive seven-year-old girl living in 1940 in a small Spanish village is traumatized after viewing the movie "Frankenstein" and drifts into her own fantasy world.



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Complete credited cast:
Fernando Fernán Gómez ...
Teresa Gimpera ...
Isabel Tellería ...
Ketty de la Cámara ...
Milagros, la criada
Estanis González ...
Guardia civil
José Villasante ...
Juan Margallo ...
Laly Soldevila ...
Doña Lucía
Miguel Picazo ...


In Castilla around 1940, a traveling movie theatre brings James Whale's black and white film classic "Frankenstein" (1931) to a small village. Two young girls, Isabel and Ana, are subsequently determined to find the monster themselves. Written by Michael Crew <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Fantasy


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

5 January 1977 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Spirit of the Beehive  »

Box Office


ESP 43,269,044 (Spain)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


There is a total of exactly 1000 shots in the film. Exactly 500 are inside, and exactly 500 are outside. See more »


When the fugitive jumps from the train and rolls down the hill, he's wearing boots, but in the next shot he's wearing low-cut shoes. See more »


Ana: [unable to sleep] Isabel?
Isabel: [opening her eyes] What?
Ana: [whispering] Tell me what you were going to tell me.
Isabel: [whispering] About what?
Ana: The movie.
Isabel: Not now... Tomorrow.
Ana: Now... You promised. Why did he kill the girl, and why did they kill him after that?... You don't know - you're a liar.
Isabel: They didn't kill him, and he didn't kill the girl.
Ana: How do you know? How do you know they didn't die?
Isabel: Everything in the movies is fake. It's all a trick. Besides, I've seen him alive.
See more »


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User Reviews

graceful and elegant
7 August 2006 | by (Texas) – See all my reviews

Like many of the other commentators here, I had heard about this movie long before I had ever had a chance to see it, although it typically is mentioned as one of Spain's greatest films. It definitely is. It is masterfully directed and I have not been able to stop thinking about it for days.

The story is elliptically told and demands your participation in making sense of the narrative, but it's also leisurely paced and allows you to breathe in the atmosphere rather than forcing a particular reading on you. One thing you wouldn't guess from reading the other comments is how this is as much a film about nature as about history--it is like a poem of the countryside in winter, with long vistas of stone farmhouses framed against the rising sun. The film with the most similar visual palette is Malick's "Days of Heaven", but that film feels simplistic compared to the full immersion in history and memory presented in this film--a much more complete vision of the past.

Ana Torrent is unforgettable. I can think of no better film about children, yet (as with so many other things in this movie) it doesn't feel forced--these kids aren't just the director's pawns, but real, living beings.

If you get a chance to see it, definitely make the effort.

42 of 47 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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