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Under the Volcano (1984)

R | | Drama | 13 June 1984 (USA)
Against a background of war breaking out in Europe and the Mexican fiesta Day of Death, we are taken through one day in the life of Geoffrey Firmin, a British consul living in alcoholic ... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Vigil (as Ignacio Lopez Tarzo)
Dawson Bray ...
Carlos Riquelme ...
Jim McCarthy ...
José René Ruiz ...
Dwarf (as Rene Ruiz 'Tun-Tun')
Eleazar Garcia Jr. ...
Chief of Gardens
Salvador Sánchez ...
Chief of Stockyards (as Salvador Sanchez)
Chief of Municipality (as Sergio Calderon)
Araceli Ladewuen Castelun ...
Diosdado (as Emilio Fernandez)


Against a background of war breaking out in Europe and the Mexican fiesta Day of Death, we are taken through one day in the life of Geoffrey Firmin, a British consul living in alcoholic disrepair and obscurity in a small southern Mexican town in 1939. The Consul's self-destructive behaviour, perhaps a metaphor for a menaced civilization, is a source of perplexity and sadness to his nomadic, idealistic half-brother, Hugh, and his ex-wife, Yvonne, who has returned with hopes of healing Geoffrey and their broken marriage. Written by Eric Wees <eric_wees@ccmail.chin.doc.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


No se puede vivir sin amar. (One cannot live without love.)




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Release Date:

13 June 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bajo el volcán  »

Filming Locations:


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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film garnered composer Alex North his thirteenth and final Academy Award nomination. North never won an Oscar until he was awarded an Honorary statuette a year after this film received two Oscar nominations, one for its score and one for Best Actor - Albert Finney. See more »


The story takes place in 1939, but the car driven by James Villiers that almost hits Albert Finney as he is lying in the road is an MG-TF, which was manufactured between 1953 and 1956. See more »


Hugh Firmin: Geoff, what possess you?
Geoffrey Firmin: Sobriety, I'm afraid. Too much moderation. I need drink desperatly to get my balance on.
See more »

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User Reviews

fantastic portrayal of alcoholic depression
17 April 2005 | by (Rain City, Pacific Northwest) – See all my reviews

I saw this film several times in the late 1980's and always thought that Albert Finney's performance was great but now, watching it all these years later in the very city in which it was set and shot I am convinced that Finney's performance is one of the greatest depictions of alcoholism EVER! Only Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas has done as well of a job of capturing the emotionalism and physical mannerisms of a drunk. I haven't read the novel (yet) but I think John Huston (no stranger to the effects of massive alcohol consumption himself) was probably the right choice to direct this tale of an alcoholic British consul drinking himself senseless in Mexico on the eve of WW2. Anyone interested in top-notch acting should see this film. Albert Finney was nominated for an Oscar, and in my opinion, he should have won! BRAVO, Mr Finney!

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