Up 1,915 this week

Death and the Maiden (1994)

R  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller  |  29 March 1995 (France)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 16,438 users   Metascore: 72/100
Reviews: 73 user | 46 critic | 19 from

A political activist is convinced that her guest is a man who once tortured her for the government.



(play), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
Watch Trailer
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Celebrate IMDb's 25th Anniversary with Photos We Love

IMDb turns 25 on October 17! To celebrate, we put together a gallery of some of our favorite movie, TV, and event photos from the last 25 years.

See the Photos We Love

Related News

Five Films by Patricio Guzmán | DVD Review
| ioncinema
Venus in Fur | DVD Review
| ioncinema

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 40 titles
created 22 Sep 2010
a list of 46 titles
created 08 Aug 2011
a list of 21 titles
created 03 Jun 2012
a list of 24 titles
created 07 Apr 2013
a list of 26 titles
created 5 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Death and the Maiden (1994)

Death and the Maiden (1994) on IMDb 7.3/10

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

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Death and the Maiden.

User Polls

1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Frantic (1988)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In a hotel room in Paris, a doctor comes out of the shower and finds that his wife has disappeared. He soon finds himself caught up in a world of intrigue, espionage, gangsters, drugs and murder.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Harrison Ford, Betty Buckley, Emmanuelle Seigner
Bitter Moon (1992)
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

British couple Fiona and Nigel Dobson are sailing to Istanbul en route to India. They encounter a beautiful French woman, and that night Nigel meets her while dancing alone in the ship's ... See full summary »

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Hugh Grant, Kristin Scott Thomas, Emmanuelle Seigner
The Tenant (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A bureaucrat rents a Paris apartment where he finds himself drawn into a rabbit hole of dangerous paranoia.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Roman Polanski, Isabelle Adjani, Melvyn Douglas
Tess (1979)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A strong-willed young peasant girl becomes the affection of two men.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Nastassja Kinski, Peter Firth, Leigh Lawson
Cul-De-Sac (1966)
Comedy | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A wounded criminal and his dying partner take refuge at a beachfront castle. The owners of the castle, a meek Englishman and his willful French wife, are initially the unwilling hosts to ... See full summary »

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Donald Pleasence, Françoise Dorléac, Lionel Stander
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

On their way to a sailing trip, an aging husband and wife invite along an emphatic young hitchhiker out of sheer patronization.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Leon Niemczyk, Jolanta Umecka, Zygmunt Malanowicz
Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A noted professor and his dim-witted apprentice fall prey to their inquiring vampires, while on the trail of the ominous damsel in distress.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Jack MacGowran, Roman Polanski, Alfie Bass
Venus in Fur (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An actress attempts to convince a director how she's perfect for a role in his upcoming production.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Emmanuelle Seigner, Mathieu Amalric
What? (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A young American woman (Sydne Rome) traveling through Italy finds herself in a strange Mediterranean villa where nothing seems right. Her visit becomes an absurd, decadent, oversexed ... See full summary »

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Sydne Rome, Hugh Griffith
Repulsion (1965)
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Left alone when her sister goes on vacation, a young beauty finds herself besieged on all sides by the demons of her past.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser
Oliver Twist (2005)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An adaptation of the classic Dickens tale, where an orphan meets a pickpocket on the streets of London. From there, he joins a household of boys who are trained to steal for their master.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Barney Clark, Ben Kingsley, Jeremy Swift
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A ghostwriter hired to complete the memoirs of a former British prime minister uncovers secrets that put his own life in jeopardy.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Williams


Complete credited cast:
Krystia Mova ...
Dr. Miranda's Wife
Jonathan Vega ...
Dr. Miranda's Son
Rodolphe Vega ...
Dr. Miranda's Son
Gilberto Cortés ...
String Quartet Player (as Gilberto Cortes)
Jorge Cruz ...
String Quartet Player
Carlos Moreno ...
String Quartet Player
Eduardo Valenzuela ...
String Quartet Player
Sergio Ortega Alvarado ...
String Quartet Manager


Paulina Escobar is a political activist whose husband is a prominent lawyer in an unnamed South American country just out of a dictatorship. One day a storm forces her husband to ride home with a neighbor. That chance encounter brings up demons from her past, as she is convinced that the neighbor (Dr. Miranda) was part of the old fascist regime that tortured and raped her, while blindfolded. Paulina takes him captive to determine the truth. Paulina is torn between her psychological repressions and somber memory, Gerardo is torn between his wife and the law, and Dr. Miranda is forced to endure captivity while husband and wife seek out the uncertain truth about the clouded past. Written by Henry G. Herron <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Prepare yourself for the moment of truth. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language including descriptions of violent situations | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |


Release Date:

29 March 1995 (France)  »

Also Known As:

La muerte y la doncella  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)


$2,104,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The "Death and the Maiden" Quartet was originally a lied (song) which was composed by Franz Schubert in February 1817 and known in its original German language under the title of "Der Tod und das Mädchen". It was first published in Vienna in November 1821 by by Cappi und Diabelli (D.531; Op. 7, No. 3). The lyrics were taken from a poem by German poet Matthias Claudius. In the movie, the musical piece is heard without words, though the original song was actually composed for both voice and the piano. Director Roman Polanski later directed a film called The Pianist (2002). The piece of music in the film is actually the later 1824 quartet based on the original song, hence the non-use of words with the music. Website Wikipedia states: "Composed in 1824, after the composer suffered through a serious illness and realized that he was dying, it is Schubert's testament to death. The quartet is named for the theme of the second movement, which Schubert took from a song he wrote in 1817 of the same title; but the theme of death is palpable in all four movements of the quartet". See more »


At the beginning Paulina is cooking something in a pan over the fire, then, for dinner she produces only a roasted chicken and green salad. So what was she cooking in the pan? See more »


[first lines]
Gerardo Escobar: Are you quite sure you won't come in?
Dr. Roberto Miranda: No thanks, just want to get home after that.
Gerardo Escobar: Yeah, me too. Look, I'm really sorry for all the trouble I put you to.
Dr. Roberto Miranda: Yeah, no problem.
Gerardo Escobar: Well if I can't persuade you, why don't you come over some time. Thanks again, goodbye.
Gerardo Escobar: [returning again to the car] Ah, you now it's crazy, I never introduced myself. Gerardo Escobar.
Dr. Roberto Miranda: Dr. Roberto Miranda.
Gerardo Escobar: It's very nice to meet you. If you're ever passing...
Dr. Roberto Miranda: Escobar? The lawyer?
See more »


Version of Siskiyaan (2005) See more »


Written by Franz Schubert
Performed by Amadeus Quartet (as The Amadeus Quartet)
Recording courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon Gmbh
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Brilliant dark character study
23 June 2005 | by (Beverley Hills, England) – See all my reviews

When it comes to dark and morbid thrillers, there's no one around that can handle them like Roman Polanski does. It is with that in mind, therefore, that I say Polanski is the best man for the job of adapting Ariel Dorfman's stage play; 'Death and the Maiden'. He proves this with the resulting movie, which is a thrill ride, combined with a character study all wrapped up in a layer of morbidity; needless to say, the film really hits home. Polanski handles this story, and his actors with the utmost precision and I have no qualms with labelling this movie as one of the man's masterpieces. I have no idea quite why it hasn't been better received, as although it's not up there with the likes of Knife in the Water, Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby; this is Polanski doing what Polanski does best, and when he's at his best; the man is brilliant. The story follows a chance encounter between a political lawyer and his neighbour, whom the man's wife is certain, is the same man who brutally beat and raped her while blindfolded under the reign of a fascist regime. What follows is a three-way character study between the victim, the man she thinks is her oppressor, and her husband; who is caught in the middle.

The themes of truth and justice are rampant in this tale and as we watch to see if the villain of the piece really is the man who oversaw torture in the oppression, we are always reminded of the idea of the difference between a right and just punishment, and otherwise. As this is based on a stage play, it is the actors that are very much the star of the show. The three-pronged cast makes for a great ensemble, and every single one of them impresses. Sigourney Weaver gives determination and anger to her victim, and it is easy to believe that this woman really was tortured and beaten. Stuart Wilson is great also as the man caught in the middle of a horrible situation, but it is Ben Kingsley that provides the real standout performance. He manages to skilfully tread a line between an evil madman and a pathetic innocent victim brilliantly, and he ensures that at all times we are asking the question "did he?". Polanski's direction is superb, and the thing that most impressed me is the way that he firmly positions the tale in the middle of nowhere. This ensures no distraction, and makes sure that we are put firmly within our character's plight.

On the whole, this is one of the best films that Polanski ever made. Considering his prowess as a filmmaker; that is really saying something and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this film to anyone who enjoys movies.

56 of 63 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
is he the guy kimkim-5
I'm a little confused as to the nationality of the characters charmeuse
It was robbed!! harposboy
Film or Play?? mliang614
'Lost' episode Experiment_626
where could I get the text of the movie?? cassiope128
Discuss Death and the Maiden (1994) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: