Diva (1981)

R  |   |  Thriller  |  23 April 1982 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 8,730 users  
Reviews: 84 user | 52 critic

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 »
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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 ...
Jacques Fabbri ...
Chantal Deruaz ...
Anny Romand ...
Roland Bertin ...
Simon Weinstadt, l'imprésario
Gérard Darmon ...
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?


Wilhelmenia Fernandez did her own singing voice in this film. See more »


During the metro chase, close-ups of Jules shows the collar of a white tee-shirt underneath his buttoned-up shirt. However, in both previous and following scenes, he is without the tee-shirt. See more »


Gorodish: Abyssus abyssum invocat
Alba: What is Abyssus abyssum?
Gorodish: It means the abyss calls the abyss
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


References Can't Stop the Music (1980) 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

The rich colors and soundtrack make this movie great.
18 June 2002 | by (Boulder, Colorado, USA) – See all my reviews

Diva was very influential on me as a young college student. Diva represented the archetype of a foreign art film. Sure it was new, strange, and unpredictable as Avante-Garde films tend to be. But it was more than that.

I've seen Diva three times -all in the 1980's. Twenty years later, what I remember most is not the plot and the message, but the rich texture of the film. As a viewer I was submersed in a new and different reality; one that was visually stunning, intriguing, and edgy. The submersion was achieved both visually and with the hauntingly beautiful soundtrack.

The colors man, the colors... Diva included many beautiful shot scenes with intense colors and dramatic lighting. There are several shots the stills of which could be turned into farmable artwork. At the time I was thinking they would make great dorm-room posters.

I think Diva has had a lasting influence on cinematography. You may have noticed that movies, TV shows and especially advertisements have moved to be very color intense. Dramatic lighting showing sharp contrasting hues, are the norm. Diva was the first film I can remember with rich color saturation made intentionally to make this type of artistic impression.

Another movie whose cinematography was likely influenced by Diva is Betty Blue (1986).

9 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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