Matador (1986)

NC-17  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  7 March 1986 (Spain)
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An ex-bullfighter who gets turned on by killing, a lady lawyer with the same fetish and a young man driven insane by his religious upbringing - these are the main characters in this stylish... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nacho Martínez ...
Diego Montez
Eva Cobo ...
Julieta Serrano ...
Berta Giménez
Chus Lampreave ...
Eusebio Poncela ...
Comisario del Valle
Bibiana Fernández ...
Vendedora Flores (as Bibi Andersen)
Luis Ciges ...
Guarda Mariano
Eva Siva ...
Asistenta María y Diego
Pepa Merino ...
Secretaria María
Lola Peno ...
Alumna 1ª
Marisa Tejada ...
Alumna 2ª


An ex-bullfighter who gets turned on by killing, a lady lawyer with the same fetish and a young man driven insane by his religious upbringing - these are the main characters in this stylish black comedy about dark sides of human nature. Written by Dragan Antulov <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated NC-17 for aberrant sexuality including violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 March 1986 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

Matador  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


ESP 118,531,805 (Spain)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film that Maria and Diego stand watching at the cinema is King Vidor's Duel in the Sun (1946), an equal lurid tale of wayward passion. See more »


Referenced in La tarea (1991) See more »


Espérame en el cielo
Written by P. López Vidal
Performed by Mina
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User Reviews

Esta película de Puta Madre!
16 February 2007 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Matador is one of the strangest, darkest, (and yet compelling) early films from Spanish master filmmaker Pedro Amoldovar.

It is completely nuts.

Pour in equal measures of sadism, masochism, bullfighting, perverted sexuality, and sexual violence. Add in a splash of comedy and soupcon of star-crossed lovers (if, for a moment, you thought pairing Tybalt and Lady McBeth qualified as star-crossed) and you have what passes as characterisation. Mix dark nights with gaudy flamenco colours and you have some striking cinematography. I'll come to the plot in a minute…

Amoldovar was clearly enjoying Spanish cinema's new-found, post-Franco sexual and artistic liberalism. The prudish among his audience might suggest he was positively wallowing in it. Whatever the truth, Matador is a masterpiece of his style, if not, indeed, a whole style in of itself.

The plot – or possibly a better description, the tapestry over which the characters move – is a murder hunt. Very few prizes will be won, however, for guessing the culprit/s. Two people are quickly in the audience's frame because they are shown… er… murdering people on camera. A third person (Banderas, in to my mind his best Amoldovar role) confesses to the murders in a fit of insecurity and remorse over an attempted rape ("some girls get all the luck" comments a female duty officer dryly, proving that feminism wasn't that big in Spain back in the 1980s). Nevertheless, the net soon closes on the crushingly obvious culprits (who in the meantime have developed quite a crush on each other). As previously mentioned, completely nuts.

Matador's strengths are in its characterisation and its sheer bare-facedness. Amoldovar has, as usual, assembled a character list of freaks and proceeded to humanise all of them – to the point where there is a genuine whiff of tragedy in the final act. To mention the great performances is really to rehearse the cast list. Assumpta Serna, Nacho Martinez, Antonio Banderas and Eva Cobo are all excellent. And it really is worth seeing, just for the young Antonio.

There are some interesting points made in the film about outsiders, liberalism, sexual politics and gender politics (as always with Amoldovar). I'll let you pick through them. It is, though, not so much a film as a giant red rag to the raging bull of conservatism, deftly whisked aside to the ragged applause of an admiring, if somewhat perplexed, audience. A positive Jimi Hendrix of a film, unpolished, with some definite dud notes, but undeniably the work of a genius. 8½/ 10

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