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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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 »
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:
The greatest film about childhood 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?

Voted third best Spanish film by professionals and critics in 1996 Spanish cinema centenary.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:
Referenced in The Years in the Desert (2008)See more »


The flute/piano music is beautiful. Can anyone tell me the composer or the name of the piece?
See more »
50 out of 59 people found the following review useful.
The greatest film about childhood, 22 September 2005
Author: federovsky from bangkok

One of my all time favourite films. The first time I watched it I thought it was nice, the second time, some years later, I was a bit disappointed - perhaps I had overblown it in my mind - the third time, another year later, I approached it with the right attitude and the whole thing came superbly alive.

All is serene for two village girls until a travelling cinema shows "Frankenstein" in their village. Perhaps they are a little bored - and there is a sense that the village is holding its breath (due to the war) - but after this the girls allow little creepy moments to begin pervading their lives. Theresa is only playing, but Anna is not.

There are many simple, mesmerising scenes: Anna standing transfixed by the railway line as the train approaches; Theresa almost strangling the cat and painting her lips with blood from her pricked finger, then later pretending to be dead in a dreamy, rich, prolonged, silent scene.

The old barn is one of the most atmospheric settings in all cinema. The silence and stillness of the place, remote from the ordinary world, makes it instantly magical, and the calm photography captures every nuance of mood. There is one glorious transition when the camera, resting on Anna's sleeping face, cuts to sleeping face of the fugitive in the barn, then cuts again back to Anna's face - but this time she is standing in the barn watching him. Wonderful.

There are also funny moments: the two girls running screaming from the cinema; laughing over their bowls of milk at breakfast; learning anatomy with "Don Jose" in the classroom (another incarnation, in Anna's imagination, of Frankenstein). There is also a fine moment when the dog (great little canine performance here) finds Anna in the ruins.

Don't be fooled by all the pretentious-sounding comments that the key to understanding this film is really the Spanish civil war. That is the context, and there are metaphors to be had (like the faded aristocratic house and the exhausted lives of the girls' parents), but this is not a film about politics or even society, forget about that and dwell on something much more important, something that will always persist: the imagination of childhood that has no idea yet whether the world is ordinary or extraordinary; the powerlessness of the child in the grip of tentative imaginings created out of fear and fascination, and drawn, if only by curiosity, towards a compelling but inexplicable fate, and yielding to it, only to find it chimerical.

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