MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Down 354 this week

The Devil's Backbone (2001)
"El espinazo del diablo" (original title)

 -  Drama | Horror  -  20 April 2001 (Spain)
7.5
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 40,166 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 194 user | 151 critic | 30 from Metacritic.com

After Carlos, a 12-year-old whose father has died in the Spanish Civil War, arrives at an ominous boy's orphanage he discovers the school is haunted and has many dark secrets that he must uncover.

Director:

Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb Picks: October

IMDb's editors share the movies and TV shows they are excited to see in October.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 23 titles
created 10 Feb 2012
 
a list of 30 titles
created 05 Sep 2012
 
a list of 32 titles
created 01 Feb 2013
 
a list of 25 titles
created 10 months ago
 
a list of 31 titles
created 10 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Devil's Backbone (2001)

The Devil's Backbone (2001) 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 Devil's Backbone.

User Polls

6 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Cronos (1993)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A mysterious device designed to provide its owner with eternal life resurfaces after four hundred years, leaving a trail of destruction in its path.

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Federico Luppi, Ron Perlman, Claudio Brook
Mimic (1997)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Three years ago, entomologist Dr. Susan Tyler genetically created an insect to kill cockroaches carrying a virulent disease. Now, the insects are out to destroy their only predator, mankind.

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam, Alexander Goodwin
The Orphanage (2007)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A woman brings her family back to her childhood home, which used to be an orphanage for handicapped children. Before long, her son starts to communicate with an invisible new friend.

Director: J.A. Bayona
Stars: Belén Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Roger Príncep
Drama | Fantasy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

In the falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Sergi López
Shutter II (2004)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young photographer and his girlfriend discover mysterious shadows in their photographs after a tragic accident. They soon learn that you can not escape your past.

Directors: Banjong Pisanthanakun, Parkpoom Wongpoom
Stars: Ananda Everingham, Natthaweeranuch Thongmee, Achita Sikamana
Tesis (1996)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

While doing a thesis about violence, Ángela finds a snuff video where a girl is tortured until death. Soon she discovers that the girl was a former student in her faculty...

Director: Alejandro Amenábar
Stars: Ana Torrent, Fele Martínez, Eduardo Noriega
Julia's Eyes (2010)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The story of a woman who is slowly losing her sight whilst trying to investigate the mysterious death of her twin sister.

Director: Guillem Morales
Stars: Belén Rueda, Lluís Homar, Pablo Derqui
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An insurance investigator begins discovering that the impact a horror writer's books have on his fans is more than inspirational.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Sam Neill, Jürgen Prochnow, Julie Carmen
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A family is haunted by the tragedies of deaths within the family.

Director: Kim Jee-woon
Stars: Kap-su Kim, Jung-ah Yum, Su-jeong Lim
Blade II (2002)
Action | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Blade forms an uneasy alliance with the vampire council in order to combat the Reaper vampires who feed on vampires.

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman
Doña Lupe (1985)
Short | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Josefina Gonzalez de Silva, Jose Luis Vallejo
Geometria (1987)
Horror | Short | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A boy is tired of failing geometry, so he summons a demon.

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Fernando Garcia Marin, Guadalupe Del Toro, Napo
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Carmen
...
...
Dr. Casares
...
Íñigo Garcés ...
Jaime
...
Conchita
José Manuel Lorenzo ...
Marcelo
Francisco Maestre ...
El Puerco (as Paco Maestre)
Junio Valverde ...
Santi
Berta Ojea ...
Alma
Adrián Lamana ...
Gálvez
Daniel Esparza ...
Marcos
Miguel Ortiz
Javier Bódalo ...
Búho (as Javier González Madrigal)
Edit

Storyline

It is 1939, the end of three years of bloody civil war in Spain, and General Franco's right-wing Nationalists are poised to defeat the left-wing Republican forces. A ten-year-old boy named Carlos, the son of a fallen Republican war hero, is left by his tutor in an orphanage in the middle of nowhere. The orphanage is run by a curt but considerate headmistress named Carmen and a kindly Professor Casares, both of whom are sympathetic to the doomed Republican cause. Despite their concern for him, and his gradual triumph over the usual schoolhouse bully, Carlos never feels completely comfortable in his new environment. First of all, there was that initial encounter with the orphanage's nasty caretaker, Jacinto, who reacts even more violently when anyone is caught looking around a particular storage room the one with the deep well. Second, and more inexplicable, is the presence of a ghost, one of the former occupants of the orphanage named Santi. Not long after Carlos' arrival, Santi ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The living will always be more dangerous than the dead. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

20 April 2001 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

The Devil's Backbone  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$16,290 (Hong Kong) (25 October 2002)

Gross:

$16,290 (Hong Kong) (25 October 2002)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film came together when Guillermo del Toro bumped into Pedro Almodóvar at the 1994 Miami Film Festival where he had just shown Cronos (1993). Almodovar told him that he had just seen his film and wanted to produce his next movie. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[voice over narration]
Casares: What is a ghost? A tragedy condemned to repeat itself time and again? An instant of pain, perhaps. Something dead which still seems to be alive. An emotion suspended in time. Like a blurred photograph. Like an insect trapped in amber.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits sequence, the letters of the film's title can be seen floating around the preserved fetuses. Eventually, the letters come together to form the title. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Pacific Rim (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Presumidos
Written by Alcazar and Prometeo
Performed by Camelia Ambart
Courtesy Blue Moon Producciones Discograficas
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
"What is a ghost?"
2 March 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"... As the road struck into the sierra we branched off to the right and climbed a narrow mule-track that wound round the mountain-side. The hills in that part of Spain are of a queer formation, horseshoe-shaped with flattish tops and very steep sides running down into immense ravines. On the higher slopes nothing grows except stunted shrubs and heath, with the white bones of the limestone sticking out everywhere. ..." - George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia, Chapter 2

It is unlikely that Mexican-director, Guillermo del Toro, will ever top this film, it is his greatest-achievement. While certainly a horror-film, it so-much-more, an allegory of the betrayals that led-to the rise-of-fascism in Spain. Most small-arms came-from Mexico, and Del Toro has said in-interviews that he lived-in a neighborhood populated by Republicans who had fled after-1939. Some have commented that the film takes-place after the fall of Republican Spain(the 1939 fall of Catalonia), but this is incorrect. The fall hasn't come-yet, and this free-fall state is the universe that the film inhabits. Taking-place in a Republican Orphanage for fallen-anarchists, Leftists, and Republican-politicians, the film is always in a state of anticipation and a kind-of limbo. All the Republican-caretakers can do is wait for the fall, and the repression that was surely-to-follow. Betrayed by the Catholic Church, the Soviet Union under-Stalin, political-infighting, and even the Western Democracies, Franco was given a blank-check to slaughter legitimate, democratic-forces by-1939. 2,000 Americans joined the "Abraham Lincoln Brigade" to fight Franco's forces, and a "United Front" of Leftists and Unionists from throughout-the-world had went to Spain to "fight the good-fight".

Meanwhile, the Roosevelt-administration banned all-sales of war-material (most-particularly, aircraft-engines and ammunition) to Republican-forces. Franco had many-allies, and would remain-in-power until his timely-death in November, 1975...Spain has been-celebrating ever-since. And-so, "The Devil's Backbone" can only be-about the ghosts of this period, particularly those Spaniards who were betrayed by politicians who shared so-much with Franco. The title, incidentally, comes-from a range-of-mountains where Republican-forces were bogged-down, then-defeated; it is referred-to as the Sierra de Alcubierre. Even George Orwell was there, and he wrote a book on his experiences fighting to save Republican Spain.

If "Devil's Backbone" says-anything, it is that "these were times that showed what people then were made-of." Dr. Cásares and Carmen represent the weakened-Republic, with her leg-missing, and he being-impotent. Then, there is Jacinto, once an orphan, now a caretaker of the orphanage--a betrayer, a criminal, and a murderer. Even-worse, though, is that amidst-the-chaos of the Civil War, the orphanage is haunted by the ghost of a former child-resident who may-have been murdered. The orphanage IS Spain, with its' fascist-bomb, unexploded in-the-courtyard, a direct-reference to the bombing of the Spanish-town, Guernica. Guernica was the first-incident of the bombing-of-civilians in modern-history, and was immortalized in a painting by-Pablo Picasso The deformed-fetus in the jar is the Spain-that-never-was, still-born, unnaturally. Dr. Cásares, then, is the legacy of Spanish Republicanism, a good-legacy that literally aids the living in the finale of the film. However, if I tell you anything-else this character, the film will be ruined! You can figure-out the rest, most audiences aren't given enough-credit. Stand-and-be-counted, these are "times that try men's souls". History never ends.


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

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Sometimes I really hate distributors mike-wright-1
what , no english audio again ? auto78900
Better than pan's? tburrowes
overrated anyone?? shootme243
Blurred photograph baggerman0
WHy were the foetus's being stored hardbore
Discuss The Devil's Backbone (2001) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?