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Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)

A gay and a political prisoner are together in a prison. The gay narrates the stories of two fake movies and his own life.



(based on the novel by),

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Leni Lamaison / Marta / Spider Woman
Míriam Pires ...
Mother (as Miriam Pires)
Nuno Leal Maia ...
Fernando Torres ...
Patricio Bisso ...
Herson Capri ...
Denise Dumont ...
Michele (as Denise Dummont)
Nildo Parente ...
Leader of Resistance
Antônio Petrin ...
Clubfoot (as Antonio Petrin)
Wilson Grey ...
Miguel Falabella ...


Luis Molina and Valentin Arregui are cell mates in a South American prison. Luis, a trans individual, is found guilty of immoral behavior and Valentin is a political prisoner. To escape reality Luis invents romantic movies, while Valentin tries to keep his mind on the situation he's in. During the time they spend together, the two men come to understand and respect one another. Written by Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




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Release Date:

26 July 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El beso de la mujer araña  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$4,701 (USA) (29 June 2001)


$4,952,880 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The budget was almost entirely used on shooting and there wasn't much left for post. In addition, the producers had only planned on two months to complete the work, but editing in fact went on almost a year in a dismal little cement block building in Los Angeles. The most difficult task was figuring out how to integrate the fantasy film segments into the main story. See more »


[first lines]
Luis Molina: She's... well, she's something a little strange. That's what she noticed, that she's not a woman like all the others. She seems all wrapped up in herself. Lost in a world she carries deep inside her.
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Referenced in Everybody Hates Chris: Everybody Hates Ex-Cons (2008) See more »


Lyrics by Manuel Puig, David Weisman
Music by John Neschling (uncredited)
Sung by Sonia Braga (uncredited)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Pleasant Surprise on Many Levels
28 February 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The first time I saw this movie it had just been released. The theater was packed and my wife and I ended up sitting in the front row on a wing. I hated the movie. I couldn't understand what all the hoopla was about and it just didn't sit well. My wife and I discussed the movie after wards and she couldn't believe I didn't like it. She liked it a lot. After discussing it I agreed to see it again and not sit in the front row. I quickly discovered I was wrong about the movie. William Hurt and Raul Julia are outstanding. This movie resonated on many different levels that it's hard to describe. The friendship between the two main characters was absolute regardless of their present unfortunate situation. They are two ordinary people thrown together by fate in an extremely difficult situation and they make the best of it. The conflicts going on around them would destroy lesser men. Their reality is bleak, at best, and they find a way to survive. Powerful performances at every level are the order of the day. Sonja Braga is a delightful distraction as real as any fantasy. I can't wait for this movie to come out on DVD!

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