IMDb > The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)
El espíritu de la colmena
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The Spirit of the Beehive (1973) More at IMDbPro »El espíritu de la colmena (original title)

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Down 4% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Víctor Erice (screenplay)
Víctor Erice (story)
View company contact information for The Spirit of the Beehive on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
5 January 1977 (France) See more »
Entering a child's world of fascination and horror.
In 1940, after watching and being traumatized by the movie Frankenstein (1931), a sensitive seven year-old girl living in a small Spanish village drifts into her own fantasy world. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
7 wins & 1 nomination See more »
(3 articles)
Episode 163 – Victor Erice’s The Spirit of the Beehive
 (From CriterionCast. 14 September 2015, 5:00 AM, PDT)

Sitges 2009 Complete Lineup
 (From SoundOnSight. 19 September 2009, 12:48 AM, PDT)

Sitges 09: And the full lineup includes...
 (From QuietEarth. 12 September 2009, 1:14 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
creatively captivates the viewer through images rather than words and leaves you wondering after the last scene has ended. See more (87 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Fernando Fernán Gómez ... Fernando

Teresa Gimpera ... Teresa

Ana Torrent ... Ana
Isabel Tellería ... Isabel
Ketty de la Cámara ... Milagros, la criada
Estanis González ... Guardia civil
José Villasante ... Frankenstein
Juan Margallo ... Fugitivo
Laly Soldevila ... Doña Lucía
Miguel Picazo ... Doctor

Directed by
Víctor Erice 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Víctor Erice  screenplay
Víctor Erice  story
Ángel Fernández Santos  screenplay
Ángel Fernández Santos  story
Francisco J. Querejeta  writer

Produced by
Elías Querejeta .... producer
Original Music by
Luis de Pablo 
Cinematography by
Luis Cuadrado 
Film Editing by
Pablo G. del Amo 
Art Direction by
Jaime Chávarri 
Set Decoration by
Adolfo Cofiño 
Costume Design by
Makeup Department
Ramón de Diego .... makeup artist
Ángel Luis De Diego .... assistant makeup artist
Production Management
Pedro Esteban .... assistant production manager
Primitivo Álvaro .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Paco Lucio .... second assistant director (as Francisco Lucio Ramos)
José Luis Ruiz Marcos .... first assistant director
Art Department
Fernando Hermoso .... property master
Sound Department
Luis Castro .... sound effects
Luis Rodríguez .... direct sound
Jean Michel Sire .... sound effects (as Sire)
Visual Effects by
Pablo Núñez .... opticals
Camera and Electrical Department
José M. de Nicolás .... second assistant camera
Teo Escamilla .... camera operator
Estanis González .... camera operator
Laureano López .... still photographer
Juan Margallo .... camera operator
José Villasante .... camera operator
Santiago Zuazo .... first assistant camera
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Angelines Castro .... wardrobe
Editorial Department
José Salcedo .... first assistant editor
Juan Ignacio San Mateo .... second assistant editor (as Juan San Mateo)
Other crew
Pablo Núñez .... title designer
Miguel Picazo .... special collaborator
Francisco J. Querejeta .... script supervisor
Laly Soldevila .... special collaborator
Alicia Tellería .... title designer
Isabel Tellería .... title designer
María Tellería .... title designer
Ana Torrent .... title designer
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"El espíritu de la colmena" - Spain (original title)
See more »
97 min | USA:95 min
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Italy:T | Netherlands:16 | Singapore:PG | UK:AA (original rating) | UK:PG (re-rating) | USA:Unrated

Did You Know?

The deserted building next to the well was actually an abandoned sheep-shed.See more »
Continuity: 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 »
Isabel:Papa, have you ever picked a bad mushroom?
Fernando:No. You know 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 »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Sassi nello stagno (2016)See more »


The flute/piano music is beautiful. Can anyone tell me the composer or the name of the piece?
See more »
39 out of 48 people found the following review useful.
creatively captivates the viewer through images rather than words and leaves you wondering after the last scene has ended., 28 October 2000
Author: dlkohrs from Normal, Illinois

This is an enchanting movie about two young sisters caught in the silence of post-war Spain. While representing the isolation of Spain in that era and the lack of communication that persisted throughout the country, "El espíritu de la colmena," by Victor Erice in 1973, fascinated me with its use of dramatic chiaroscuro lightening, large panoramic shots and the use of fades to connect scenes while commenting on the time warp that Spain endured after the war.

Without using much dialogue in the movie, Erice artistically comments on the political tension in Spain through potent images and scenes. He uses symbols such as the two young sisters to represent the division between the Republican and Nationalist parties, and the leitmotif of the beehive to represent the "trapped" workers in Spain under Franco. The most amazing aspect is that all of the post-war commentary is said without any words and without mentioning the actual event! It is a "cine de espectáculo," or spectacle cinema, that symbolizes the connection between fantasy in the movies and fantasy in reality. Without knowing the history of Spain, a spectator could misinterpret the movie as a commentary about the imagination of a little girl after viewing the movie "Frankenstein." The character of Frankenstein is a main component contributing to Ana's, the younger sister, interpretation of reality in Spain, and it gains meaning as Frankenstein evolves from a character in the movie to an object of fantasy. It continues to evolve into a man of flesh and bones and finally represents the hope of Ana when all other sources of information in her life turn out to be faulty.

"El espíritu de la colmena" is a powerful movie that uses many metaphors (such as Ana for the young, innocent generation of Spain) to question the interpretation of reality. It is a powerful, artistically made movie that captivates the viewer through images rather than words. It should be seen more than once in order to understand all it's hidden messages.

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