30 user 36 critic

Matador (1986)

NC-17 | | Drama, Thriller | 7 March 1986 (Spain)
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 »



(story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

6 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A film maker's sexual disorientation jeopardizes his latest project.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Eusebio Poncela, Carmen Maura, Antonio Banderas
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Leo Macias writes sentimental novels with great success but hidden under a pseudonym, Amanda Gris. She is unhappy with her professional life and with her husband, a soldier working in ... See full summary »

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Marisa Paredes, Juan Echanove, Carme Elias
Kika (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Kika, a young cosmetologist, is called to the mansion of Nicolas, an American writer to make-up the corpse of his stepson, Ramon. Ramon, who is not dead, is revived by Kika's attentions and... See full summary »

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Peter Coyote, Verónica Forqué, Victoria Abril
High Heels (1991)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A girl's mother returns after 15 years to find her daughter has married one of her (the mother's) old boyfriends. They try to mend their broken mother/daughter relationship and deal with ... See full summary »

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Victoria Abril, Marisa Paredes, Miguel Bosé
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A camp melodrama/comedy about Sexilia (a nymphomaniac), Sadec (a gay Islamic terrorist), Riza Niro (the son of the emperor of Tiran), and Queti (the daughter of a dry-cleaner). When Riza ... See full summary »

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Cecilia Roth, Imanol Arias, Helga Liné
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In Madrid, the housewife Gloria lives in a tiny apartment with her husband, the taxi driver and forger Antonio; her lunatic mother-in-law, who is addicted in bottled water and cupcakes; and... See full summary »

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Carmen Maura, Gonzalo Suárez, Luis Hostalot
Dark Habits (1983)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A nightclub singer seeks refuge with gay nuns on dope in a Madrid convent.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Cristina Sánchez Pascual, Will More, Laura Cepeda
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An unbalanced but alluring former mental patient takes a porn star prisoner in the hopes of convincing her to marry him.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Victoria Abril, Antonio Banderas, Loles León
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Pepi is raped by the policeman who catches her growing marijuana in her apartment. She seeks revenge by getting his masochist wife to leave him.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Carmen Maura, Félix Rotaeta, Alaska
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Pepas's lover, Iván, leaves her and she tries to contact him to find out why he's left. In her search for Iván, she confronts his wife and son, who are as clueless as she is. Meanwhile; ... See full summary »

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Carmen Maura, Antonio Banderas, Julieta Serrano
Live Flesh (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

After leaving jail, Víctor is still in love with Elena, but she's married to the former cop -now basketball player- who became paralysed by a shot from Víctor's gun...

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Liberto Rabal, Francesca Neri, Javier Bardem
Bad Education (2004)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An examination on the effect of Franco-era religious schooling and sexual abuse on the lives of two longtime friends.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Gael García Bernal, Fele Martínez, Javier Cámara


Cast overview, first billed only:
Nacho Martínez ...
Diego (as Nacho Martinez)
Eva Cobo ...
Vendedora Flores (as Bibi Andersen)
Luis Ciges ...
Eva Siva ...
Asistenta María y Diego
Periodista (as Veronica Forque)
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 <dragan.antulov@altbbs.fido.hr>

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


$206,952 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Ana Belén and Charo López were both considered for the female lead. See more »


References Vertigo (1958) See more »


Espérame en el cielo
Written by P. López Vidal
Performed by Mina
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Some minor flaws perhaps, but on the whole an entirely unique and audacious experience
4 July 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Essentially seen by many as a warped sex fantasy that uses the codes and conventions of the detective thriller to disguise a darker, more psychological film about the wayward perversions and sinister desires of a seemingly affluent area of contemporary Madrid; Matador (1986) can also be seen as a not-so-subtle comment on the nature of modern-day relationships, aspirations and obsessions in a meta-textual form that makes continual use of its titular, bullfighting motif. Although it does have some slight thematic problems, particularly in terms of the overall tone of the film and eventual motivation of the characters, it is, nonetheless, one of Almodóvar's most interesting and perplexing films of this particular period; featuring a refinement of many of his earliest interests and characteristics from films like Dark Habits (1983) and What Have I Done to Deserve This? (1984), as well as being the film that signalled the move into the second phase of his career.

As the implications of the title would suggest, the film's narrative is bolstered by numerous references, both spoken and visual, to the obvious role-play and iconography of the bullfight. It is also a film about violence, and the sexuality of violence; an uncomfortable idea that is reinforced by the film's provocative opening sequence, in which we find the central matador of the title, Diego Montes, masturbating to violent scenes of exploitation cinema. The scene establishes the nature of the matador, both as a character and as a social phenomenon, as well as introducing the link between sex and death that will come to form an important thematic strand to the narrative. As the story progresses, the mechanisms of the drama conspire to throw together two separate characters that come to complement the unspoken desires and murderous lust that they seemingly share with one another, with the eventual courtship and inevitable seduction presented by the director as a surrogate bullfight in its self.

Where the film falls apart slightly is in the presentation of the character played by Antonio Banderas, a hyper-sensitive, implied homosexual who idolises the matador to the extent that he actually attempts to rape his young, fashion-model girlfriend (an act that eventually leads him to confess to a string of serial killings as a result of his mother's enforced, catholic guilt). It is a complex character, impeccably performed by the young Banderas, but his appearance ultimately sends the film off on a tangent that detracts from the central crux of the drama. Though the inclusion of this subplot does allow Almodóvar the chance to make a satirical comment on the nature of everything from fashion, to religion, sexuality, etc, these themes often feel like they've been handpicked from a completely different film, not always complimenting the central story, and too often leading it in directions that in the end feel unfinished or slightly unformed. Many of these loose ends can be glossed over, while some (the last minute implication of "second sight" as suggested by a solar eclipse) really seem to come out of leftfield.

Nevertheless, these are minor criticisms that don't necessarily destroy the ultimate intentions of the film - which really only become clear in the final scene - or the fantastic direction of Almodóvar and the performances of his cast. Although Matador certainly has its flaws (not to mention its detractors), it is, in my opinion, a fine little film and one of Almodóvar's most original and audacious creations. The performances are all incredibly committed, including the central pairing of Assumpta Serna and the late Nacho Martínez, as well the fine support from Banderas, the gorgeous Eva Cobo and Almodóvar regulars Carman Maura and Eusebio Poncela; whilst the central idea behind the script and the bold stokes of the director's intuitive grasp of the various film-making processes further refines and develops a number of themes that have come to be at the forefront of Almodóvar's career for the last twenty-five years.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: