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The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989)

NC-17  |   |  Crime, Drama, Romance  |  6 April 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 25,392 users  
Reviews: 173 user | 68 critic

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



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Title: The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989)

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989) on IMDb 7.5/10

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The wife of a barbaric crime boss engages in a secretive romance with a gentle bookseller between meals at her husband's restaurant. Food, colour coding, sex, murder, torture and cannibalism are the exotic fare in this beautifully filmed but brutally uncompromising modern fable which has been interpreted as an allegory for Thatcherism. Written by Keith Loh <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Lust...Murder...Dessert. Bon Appetit!


Crime | Drama | Romance


NC-17 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

6 April 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Spica  »

Box Office


$7,724,701 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (R-rated)

Sound Mix:

(as Dolby Stereo in selected theatres)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The lengthy tracking shot from the restaurant to the toilet is supposed to be symbolic of food passing through the intestinal tract. See more »


Albert: What are you doing in there, Georgie? You playin' with yourself? That's not allowed. That's my property, you're not allowed to fiddle with it. Now come on, open the door, I'll show you how to wipe yourself.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing credits epilogue: "And a special thanks to those very many people who patiently & repeatedly performed as patients & nurses in the hospital ward, and as diners in the Hollandais Restaurant." See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Albert's Special Treat
24 February 2012 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

The cruel and sadistic crime boss Albert Spica (Michael Gambon) has dinner every night in his restaurant with his wife Georgina Spica (Helen Mirren) and his gang. Albert abuses of his wife, his gangsters, the chef Richard Borst (Richard Bohringer) and the restaurant employees.

When Georgina meets the gentle bookseller Michael (Alan Howard) in the restaurant, they have a torrid affair in the restroom and in the store, and they are covered by Richard. However the prostitute Pat discloses to Albert that he has been betrayed by Georgina and Albert kills Michael. However Georgina plots revenge against Albert with the support of Richard and the victims of Albert.

"The Cook the Thief His Wife & Her Lover" is one of the most grotesque, eschatological, bizarre and weird films that I have ever seen. But it is also absolutely original and mesmerizing, with intense use of colors, and with the contrast of vulgarity and art. Food, eschatology, sex, cruelty, torture, cannibalism and revenge are entwined along 124 minutes running time. The result is not pleasant and only specific audiences will appreciate this film. Last time I had seen this film was on 08 September 2000 on VHS. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "O Cozinheiro, o Ladrão, Sua Mulher e o Amante" ("The Cook the Thief, His Wife and the Lover")

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Albert Spica, the most odious film character ever. leucrottabob
More artistic movies like this? panospcm
Out of print? joenonneman
Why this movie isn't on the top 250 is beyond me... bplex
Great Fan, but having a big frustration... What about you? paulpenet
Ludicrous theory (to be taken with a grain of salt) AudemarsPiguet

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