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Two tapes, two Parisian mob killers, one corrupt policeman, an opera fan, a teenage thief, and the coolest philosopher ever filmed. All these characters twist their way through an intricate and stylish French language thriller.


(novel) (as Delacorta), (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 7 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Cynthia Hawkins (as Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez)
Frédéric Andréi ...
Thuy An Luu ...
Chantal Deruaz ...
Anny Romand ...
Roland Bertin ...
Simon Weinstadt, l'imprésario
L' Antillais
Le curé
Jean-Jacques Moreau ...
Patrick Floersheim ...
Raymond Aquilon ...
Abdullah, le rasta
Eugène Berthier
Gérard Chaillou ...


A young opera-loving mailman, Jules, becomes inadvertently entangled in murder, when a young woman fleeing two mob hit men drops an incriminating cassette into his mailbag. Jules has just recently recorded opera star Cynthia Hawkins' latest concert, something of a coup as Hawkins refuses to make recordings of any kind. Soon Jules finds himself the target of the hit men, who want the voice recording, and also of another couple of ominous and mysterious agents. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Comedy. A Thriller. A Romance. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

23 April 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Diva e os Gangsters  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$5,555 (USA) (2 November 2007)


$108,372 (USA) (28 March 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Gorodish's first name is Serge. See more »


When Nadia is just exiting the metro station and runs into Jules, he is wearing his postman's cap. Later, in the police station when Paula is recounting Nadia's death, the same scene is replayed, except this time Jules is not wearing his cap. See more »


Le curé: I don't like elevators.
Zatopek: You don't like anything.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The music continues for a minute and five seconds after the credits end. See more »


Referenced in Saving Grace (2000) See more »


L'air de la 'La Wally'
Composed by Alfredo Catalani
Performed by Wilhelmenia Fernandez (as Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez)
© Copyright by Galaxie Musique 1981
Tous droits réservés
See more »

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User Reviews

Viva Diva
12 June 2001 | by (new york city) – See all my reviews

Jean-Jacques Beineix's first film is a quirky colorful pop mixture of action, romance ,music and fairy tale that is based on a pop novel by Delacorta. The story concerns a young French postal delivery boy named Jules, who is also an opera lover & a big fan of the beautiful,& eccentric African American diva Cynthia Hawkins who is performing in Paris when the movie opens. Ms. Hawkins played by opera singer Wilhelmenia Fernandez refuses to sing for recordings, and this quirk of hers is what sets the action of the movie moving. Jules decides to tape Hawkins in performance, after which he goes backstage to meet the diva, and promptly steals the gown she wore at the concert, which he sometimes uses as a scarf when its not hanging in a shrine he has made to her in his large loft filled with disgarded cars. The plot really gets tangled when Jules, while on his way to a delivery witnesses the murder of a barefooted young woman who is carrying a tape that has a lot of plot and secrets on it. Who is she, and why does she wind up with an icepick in her back is one of the movie's many enjoyable plot devices that slowly unravels as the film goes on. While on her way to the icepick the lady drops her tape (unknown to him at the time)in Jules delivery pouch, and the chase so to speak is on. Jules charmingly played by Frederic Andrei is not only in danger from the very creepy killers of the lady, but also from two shady Japanese record producers who want his pirated tape of Hawkins beautiful aria from "La Wally" that Jules recorded. Very much influenced by American crime thrillers & film noir but very much it's own film, Diva is a delight from the very beginning to the beautiful ending which takes place on an empty stage and always moves me to shed a few tears. One of the terrific things about Diva is it's lively cast of characters all wonderfully played. Thuy An Luu as the young & sexy Vietnamese model Alba, is most winning as the companion of the strange & seemingly very wealthy recluse played by the great Richard Bohringer. These are characters and performances to embrace, they make one feel good. There are many wonderful set pieces including a quite amazing chase on motorbike through the Paris metro, a stroll in the early morning hours around Paris with Jules and Hawkins, and of course the gorgous singing of Ms. Fernandez. Beautifully photographed by Philippe Rousselot this is one of the highlights of 1982, and among the very best of the decade. The newly released and happily restored DVD does justice to the film both in the quality of the picture and sound.

14 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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