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Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)

Mujeres al borde de un ataque de "nervios" (original title)
A television actress encounters a variety of eccentric characters after embarking on a journey to discover why her lover abruptly left her.




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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 21 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Paulina Morales (as Kiti Manver)
Padre de Lucía (as Yayo Calvo)
Policía I (as Angel de Andrés-López)
Juan Lombardero ...
José Antonio Navarro ...
Ana Leza ...


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; Candela, her friend, is afraid the police might be looking for her because of her ex-boyfriend, a muslim terrorist, and his criminal activities. As the plot develops, it is revealed that everyone's lives are more intertwined than they could have ever expected. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

11 November 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$700,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the opening scene Carmen Maura (Pepa) and Fernando Guillen Cuervo (Ivan), are dubbing to Spanish Johnny Guitar (1954). See more »


Pepa encourages one of her ducks to jump on a piece of furniture that was Ivan's. The duck refuses and Pepa says "she hates it." The duck, with a green head, is clearly a male. See more »


Pepa: Hello. I'm the mother of the notorious Crossroads Killer. When my son comes home after one of his famous crimes, his clothes are just filthy.
[Pepa holds up a bloody shirt. The police arrive]
PolicÌa I: Where are the clothes your son wore...
PolicÌa II: At the time of the murder?
[Pepa takes a clean shirt out of the dryer]
Pepa: Right here. Sparkling clean.
PolicÌa I: No trace of blood.
PolicÌa II: Or guts.
PolicÌa I: Unbelievable!
[Pepa holds up a box of detergent]
See more »


Referenced in Chicago Hope: Women on the Verge (1996) See more »


By Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performed by La Orquesta Sinfonica de la Radio de Mosú
Conducted by Gennadi Rozhdestvensky (as G. Rozhdestvensky)
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User Reviews

My brief review of the film
19 August 2005 | by See all my reviews

An interesting Spanish comedy, the film's humour is derived mostly from the events being so absurd. Some aspects are overly ridiculous, but it is still very entertaining stuff, executed in a lively manner with an appropriately fast pace and suitable music choices. It is constantly interesting on a visual level, with vibrant colours, creative camera angles, and a lot of framing and close-up shots. The action is a bit frantic and the plot is a little too convoluted, but the film maintains an almost fantasy-like atmosphere, in which it feels like anything is possible, and this quality makes it an enjoyable, unique watch. It is hard to say if Almodóvar is trying to say anything at all here, as there are some ideas raised about consequences that are not explored in much depth. Still, the originality of it all keeps it afloat, and it is certainly quite an unusual (in a positive sense) cinematic experience.

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