Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)

R  |   |  Drama  |  26 July 1985 (USA)
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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 ... See full summary »



(based on the novel by),
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 10 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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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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?


At the Academy Awards ceremonies, Best Actor winner William Hurt was seated next to Marlee Matlin and his Brazilan director Hector Babenco (Dorothy Chandler Pavilion / 24 March 1986). 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 Living Single: Kiss of the Spider Man (1996) See more »


La Marseillaise
Written by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
Heard during one of the scenes of Molina's story
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Deeply emotional and rewarding experience
6 July 2005 | by (the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls) – See all my reviews

Slow-paced but amazingly compelling and moving drama, mainly set in the filthy prison cell of a never-named Latin American dictatorship country. It is here that the flamboyant homosexual Molina shares his escape-fantasies with the idealistic (but heterosexual) revolutionary warrior Valentin. The stories they tell, either coming from Molina's vivid imagination or from Valentin's struggling past, all feature a similar woman. This primarily Brazilian film is a quintessential piece of artwork. No wild car-chases, gunfights or steamy sex sequences here but you'll be fascinated by the strong dialogs, the mesmerizing acting performances and the professional directing skills of Hector Babenco. The growing relationship between the two opposite protagonists is masterfully illustrated and the depressing set-pieces only increase your sympathy for the both of them. "Kiss of the Spider Woman" is the only film I've seen so far that successfully implements a complex structure containing flashbacks as well as dream-sequences - and even film-in-film images – without becoming overly confusing. Raul Julia and William Hurt both deliver their finest performances ever, and the latter righteously got rewarded with an Oscar. A definite must see for every demanding fan of film-making.

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