Up 2,232 this week

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

NC-17  |   |  Crime, Drama, Romance  |  6 April 1990 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
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.



0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

The 25 Most Immersive Worlds in Cinema

Highly immersive cinematic worlds can carry a movie, and we've rounded up the best of the best.

See the full list

Related News

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 25 titles
created 07 Apr 2012
a list of 21 titles
created 17 Jun 2012
a list of 30 titles
created 12 Nov 2013
a list of 28 titles
created 9 months ago
a list of 31 titles
created 9 months ago

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

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

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

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

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover.

User Polls

6 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Tired of her husband's philanderous ways, the mother of two daughters drowns her husband. With the reluctant help of the local coroner, the murder is obscured. Her daughters are having ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Bernard Hill, Joan Plowright, Juliet Stevenson
Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Mr. Neville, a cocksure young artist is contracted by Mrs. Herbert, the wife of a wealthy landowner, to produce a set of twelve drawings of her husband's estate, a contract which extends ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Anthony Higgins, Janet Suzman, Anne-Louise Lambert
    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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

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 »

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Brian Dennehy, Chloe Webb, Lambert Wilson
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Oliver Deuce, a successful doctor, is shattered when his wife is killed in a freak car accident involving the car being driven by Alba Bewick colliding with a very large rare bird. His twin... See full summary »

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Brian Deacon, Eric Deacon, Andréa Ferréol
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
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
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
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 8.2/10 X  

Mabel, a wife and mother, is loved by her husband Nick but her madness proves to be a problem in the marriage. The film transpires to a positive role of madness in the family, challenging conventional representations of madness in cinema.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk, Fred Draper
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A young Parisian woman meets a middle-aged American businessman who demands their clandestine relationship be based only on sex.

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Stars: Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider, Maria Michi
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:
Cory (as Ciaran Hinds)
Gary Olsen ...
Ewan Stewart ...
Turpin (as Roger Ashton Griffiths)
Liz Smith ...
Janet Henfrey ...
Arnie Breeveld ...
Tony Alleff ...


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 mural on the back wall of the dining room is "The Banquet of the Officers of the St. George Militia of Haarlem" (1616) by Frans Hals. It became the basis for Peter Greenaway's set decoration & costuming in the dining area. See more »


Albert: I think those Ethiopians enjoy starving. Keeps them thin and graceful.
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 »


Featured in X-Rated (2004) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

"Bon apetit, Albert, that's French"...
4 June 2007 | by (Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

Revenge has never been served so deliciously and artistically. The visuals, the costumes, the set decoration, the changing colors cinematography and the soundtrack in this darker than dark comedy are stunning - the grandmasters were working on the movie. Among them Peter Greenaway, first and foremost a painter and a fine one, his brilliant cinematographer Sasha Verny, his astounding composer Michael Nyman who used for the movie the incredible "Memorial", and Jean-Paul Gaultier who designed the costumes. It also helped that Helen Mirren (as the long suffering wife, Georgina who in the end will serve her husband very well cooked revenge) and Michael Gambon (Albert- the thief, the gangster, the embodiment of pure evil and the owner of the swank restaurant) were two stars. Alan Howard plays a regular guest to whom Georgina is attracted to and carries on an affair with in the restaurant's restrooms and later in the back rooms, with the help of the Artist-cook (Richard Bohringer).

Every frame of each Greenaway's movie looks and feels like an exquisite painting. "A Zed and two Naughts" is Greenaway's homage and admiration for Vermeer. "The Draughtsman's Contract" quite openly refers to Caravaggio, Georges de la Tour and other French and Italian artists. "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover", a fully realized vision of the director, a professional painter Peter Greenaway, is his tribute to the great Flemish and Dutch painters, Frans Hals, in particular. His large group portrait is constantly seen in the background of the hall in the London restaurant Le Hollandais that means "The Dutchman". I see Peter Greenaway as Hieronymus Bosch of the cinema, the creator of enormously beautiful, divine canvas depicting all horrors of hell that only humans can inflict on one another.

27 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
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

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: