56 user 54 critic

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:



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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?


Maria Borba became the bridge between William Hurt and Sonia Braga. Since Braga never went to the prison set to watch Hurt work as Molina, Borba would observe all his gestures and movements and bring them back to Braga when the film-within-the-film scenes were shot later so she could replicate them. 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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Featured in The 75th Annual Academy Awards (2003) 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 well-acted and well-directed film
8 August 2000 | by (Glendale, Arizona) – See all my reviews

"Kiss of the Spider Woman" is a fine portrayal of how two completely different men can come to understand one another and how unselfish love can transcend sexual preference. The story slowly reveals itself as the movie progresses, and in the end,the film is about much more than is first apparent. I admired the gutsy performances by Hurt and Julia, and the direction by Brazilian Hector Babenco, who uses long, involved shots, instead of cutting away quickly (which, unfortunately, is used so often). The film hasn't remained very well known since it was released in 1985, but it is definitely worth seeing if you can find it. 8/10

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