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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 11,118 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.



(screenplay), (story), 3 more credits »
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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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Voted third best Spanish film by professionals and critics in 1996 Spanish cinema centenary. See more »


When Ana & Isabel first go to the well there are stones around the base. Ana steps on one to look down in to the well. When she returns later there are no longer any stones so when she looks in to the well she is much too short to see down in it. See more »


Isabel: Papa, have you ever picked a bad mushroom?
Fernando: No. You know why?
Isabel: Why?
Fernando: Because I always do like my grandfather told me.
[he gets up and starts to walk; the girls follow]
Fernando: If you're not sure a mushroom's good, don't pick it. Because if it's bad, and you eat it, it's your last mushroom and your last everything too.
See more »


Features Frankenstein (1931) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

the shadow of the monster on the water and Ana
27 November 2006 | by (Turkey) – See all my reviews

What I am most affected each time I see Erice's this movie is his ability to convey the world of a child to us sometimes even without depending on the dialogues. Instead, he prefers creating a beautiful atmosphere and feelings by using the faces, looks, the light and the silence.

We can give an alternative name to this movie as "the spirit of the house", for the director tries to show what is going on in this house whose windows resemble to honeycombs. Erice deliberately chooses not to give any shots with all members of the family, as there is serious feeling of alienation between father and mother, and total lack of communication and affection between them, and from them towards their children. Under that situation the only person whom Ana could touch with her words, plays and questions is her sister Isabel. Their house looks like a beehive with the queen bee, male worker bee, and child bees performing their duties only by being in the same house without touching to each other.

When Ana's best friend and her sister played on her trust and fears by deceiving her, she totally turned inward and found the image and the dream of Frankenstein ready for her friendship and to give her feeling of closeness. After she met the wounded Republican soldier, her Frankenstein's image came into being in his existence, who is considered as dangerous and outside the society by adults just like in the original Frankenstein movie. Like the girl in the latter, Ana does not see the fugitive as how adults define Frankenstein, as something to be run away from. Instead, she considers him as Frankenstein who could be her friend. I see the shadow of the "monster" on this movie used beautifully and magically by the director.

During the 97 minutes of the movie, Erice and his cinematographer Luis Cuadrado both reflect the heart of a child to us with their magical scenes, and skillfully convey the grey feeling of the civil war in the background without straightforwardly pointing their fingers to it.

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