Up 12,668 this week

The Belly of an Architect (1987)

R  |   |  Drama  |  23 September 1987 (France)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.0/10 from 3,883 users  
Reviews: 27 user | 30 critic

An American architect arrives in Italy, supervising an exhibition for a French architect, Boullée, who is famous for his oval structures. Through the course of 9 months he becomes obsessed ... See full summary »



Watch Trailer
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

IMDb Picks: June

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in June, brought to you by Swiffer.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 43 titles
created 18 Nov 2012
a list of 35 titles
created 19 Feb 2013
a list of 38 titles
created 16 Jun 2013
a list of 22 titles
created 03 Nov 2013
a list of 45 titles
created 7 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Belly of an Architect (1987)

The Belly of an Architect (1987) on IMDb 7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Belly of an Architect.

User Polls

2 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

8 ½ Women (1999)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Following the death of a mother, a father and son open up a brothel in their Genevan estate after watching (1963).

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: John Standing, Matthew Delamere, Vivian Wu
Fantasy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An exiled magician finds an opportunity for revenge against his enemies muted when his daughter and the son of his chief enemy fall in love in this uniquely structured retelling of the 'The... See full summary »

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: John Gielgud, Michael Clark, Michel Blanc
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

As a young girl in Japan, Nagiko's father paints characters on her face, and her aunt reads to her from "The Pillow Book", the diary of a 10th-century lady-in-waiting. Nagiko grows up, ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Vivian Wu, Ewan McGregor, Yoshi Oida
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The wife of an oafish restaurant owner becomes bored with her husband and considers an affair with a regular patron.

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Richard Bohringer, Michael Gambon, Helen Mirren
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Raymond J. Barry, Noraly Beyer, Stephen Billington
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The first of three parts, we follow Tulse Luper in three distinct episodes: as a child during the first World War, as an explorer in Mormon Utah, and as a writer in Belgium during the rise ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: JJ Feild, Raymond J. Barry, Michèle Bernier
Nightwatching (2007)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

An extravagant, exotic and moving look at Rembrandt's romantic and professional life, and the controversy he created by the identification of a murderer in the painting 'The Night Watch'.

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Martin Freeman, Emily Holmes, Eva Birthistle
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Tongue-in-cheek, early Greenaway short reflects the incredibly meticulous encyclopedic nature of his early films. An attempt is made to "reconstruct" a proposed, but never made, film ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Colin Cantlie
Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Hendrik Goltzius, a late sixteenth-century Dutch printer and engraver of erotic prints, seduces the Margrave of Alsace into paying for a printing press to make and publish illustrated books.

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: F. Murray Abraham, Giulio Berruti, Halina Reijn
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

This is a TV adaptation of a 1993 opera entitled "Rosa," with a libretto by Greenaway and score by Louis Andriessen. "Rosa" is the first in a projected series of 10 operas, each dealing ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Lyndon Terracini, Miranda van Kralingen, Marie Angel
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Ornella Muti, Ennio Fantastichini, Remo Girone
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A movie about the corruption in all levels of society. A baby is born from a supposed-to-be virgin woman, so a chain of hysteria about divine intervention in the birth takes place.

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Julia Ormond, Ralph Fiennes, Philip Stone


Cast overview, first billed only:
Louisa Kracklite
Caspasian Speckler
Io Speckler
Stefania Casini ...
Flavia Speckler
Vanni Corbellini ...
Alfredo Varelli ...
Geoffrey Copleston ...
Francesco Carnelutti ...
Marino Masé ...
Marne Maitland ...
Claudio Spadaro ...
Rate Furlan ...
Julian Jenkins ...
Old Doctor
Enrica Maria Scrivano ...


An American architect arrives in Italy, supervising an exhibition for a French architect, Boullée, who is famous for his oval structures. Through the course of 9 months he becomes obsessed with his belly, suffers severe stomach pains, loses his wife, exhibition, his unborn child and finally his own life. Written by Ofir Zwebner <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

23 September 1987 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Der Bauch des Architekten  »

Box Office


$287,725 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Brian Dennehy was quoted after the release as saying "I've made lots of movies but only one film." See more »


When photocopying the picture of Augustus, Kracklite puts the picture in upside down which would have given a blank copy (unless the same picture was on both sides). Additionally, it would not be possible to achieve the level of resolution of Augustus' abdomen from such a small picture. See more »


Caspasian Speckler: Your wife is very beautiful, Signor Kracklite, especially when she is pregnant.
Stourley Kracklite: Yes, that's right. She is pregnant. But not with your child, Speckler.
Caspasian Speckler: True. I'm very grateful to you for that. Your child, shall we say, is the most perfect contraceptive.
[Kracklite turns and punches Speckler in the nose]
See more »


Referenced in Peter Greenaway in Indianapolis (1997) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A more straightforward Greenaway film but less interesting than most of his others
29 April 2015 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK) – See all my reviews

You always know going into a Peter Greenaway film that, for better or for worse, you are going to get something a bit left-field. The Belly of an Architect is really no different in this regard. This one tells the tale of an American architect who travels to Rome with his young wife to supervise an exhibition celebrating the 18th century architect Etienne-Louis Boullée. Very soon after arrival both he and his wife experience contrasting activity in their bellies, for him it is severe abdominal pains while she falls pregnant. To complicate matters, they soon begin affairs with other people. The film essentially then details the architects mental deterioration, which includes writing postcards to his long deceased doppelganger Boullée.

This one has to go down as one of Greenaway's more accessible films. It has an actual story that is underpinned by a good central performance from Brian Dennehy. But its maybe the very fact that it skirts so close to realistic drama that is one of the main problems, as Greenaway is usually best when he does precisely the opposite. The story is really quite boring and the acting aside from Dennehy not all that good – Chloe Webb being particularly flat as his wife; look out also for Stefania (Suspiria) Cassini sporting an unfamiliar cropped 80's barnet. The visuals, while certainly nicely composed, aren't all that memorable. Given that the setting is Rome, there are many shots of that cities peerless architecture, although that all gets almost a bit travelogue to a certain extent. I think this film, therefore, is one for Greenaway devotees almost exclusively as in order to get a lot out of it you have to be interested in his ideas. While I have liked several of his films, I can't deny that, even in the cases of the ones I liked most, his films can be somewhat annoying. Dennehy really helps draw us in to events though and makes a good stab at involving us but it's difficult to care too much about these stiff characters populating a narrative that is both distant and very cold emotionally. Boullée himself is a typically absurd Greenaway figure, in that very little of his architecture ever came to be built, so it's difficult to ever imagine a high profile retrospective of his work ever happening. His rounded, domed buildings mimic the belly of the title, as does his name. So there are many links and symmetries in the story if you are at all interested in that kind of thing. But, while some of the photography was nice and it did have a good score from one of the members of Kraftwerk, it was overall a little tedious for me.

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Kracklite's pregnancy disfuncion_cerebral
Noses ? AccidntlTourist
Questing for Immortality? AccidntlTourist
Discuss The Belly of an Architect (1987) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: