Best Portuguese Feature Films - Instituto Camões

by mathildeswaitingroom | created - 21 Aug 2011 | updated - 21 Aug 2011 | Public

This is a list composed by sound feature films, commissioned by Instituto Camões. Instituto Camões (English: Camões Institute) is an institution created in 1992 for the promotion of the Portuguese language and culture world-wide. Instituto Camões has administrative and patrimonial autonomy, that, under the supervision of the Portuguese Minister of the Foreign Affairs, assures the co-ordination and execution of the external cultural policies of Portugal. The list was organized by José de Matos-Cruz, a Portuguese writer, journalist, editor, high-school teacher, investigator, encyclopedist. Since 1980 he works at the Cinemateca Portuguesa (Portuguese Film Archive), in Lisbon. He is a prominent historian of the Portuguese cinema.

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1. A Severa (1931)

110 min | Drama

The (too brief) life, the (ardent) loves and the (too early) death of Maria Severa Onofirana (1820-1846), better known as "A Severa", a beautiful gypsy who, besides being a prostitute, sang... See full summary »

Director: José Leitão de Barros | Stars: Dina Teresa, António Luis Lopes, Antonio Lavradio, Ribeiro Lopes

Votes: 53

2. A Song of Lisbon (1933)

85 min | Comedy, Musical

After flunking in medical school, the young and bohemian Vasco need to trick his aunts, the main financers of his studies, preventing them to know that he is not a doctor.

Director: José Cottinelli Telmo | Stars: Vasco Santana, Beatriz Costa, António Silva, Teresa Gomes

Votes: 1,196

3. As Pupilas do Senhor Reitor (1935)

102 min | Drama, Romance

Adaptation of a novel by Júlio Dinis, depicting the romantic and rustic life in Portugal, circa 1863.

Director: José Leitão de Barros | Stars: Joaquim Almada, Maria Matos, António Silva, Leonor d'Eça

Votes: 48

4. Maria Papoila (I) (1937)

105 min | Comedy

A humble country girl moves to the city to work as a maid, eventually finding love and adventure.

Director: José Leitão de Barros | Stars: Mirita Casimiro, António Silva, Eduardo Fernandes, Alves da Costa

Votes: 60

5. Aldeia da Roupa Branca (1939)

92 min | Comedy

The story of how Gracinda, a young washerwoman, tries to revitalize her decadent business with the help of Chico, for whom she's in love, and her uncle, who has a fiery rivalry with Quitéria, owner of another laundry business.

Director: Chianca de Garcia | Stars: Beatriz Costa, Manuel Santos Carvalho, José Amaro, Óscar de Lemos

Votes: 282

6. The Song from Earth (1938)

115 min | Drama

In Porto Santo, a small island next to Madeira the drought rages and Gonçalves, a local farmer, tries to overcome the catastrophe, with the help of Bastiana, whom he dearly loves. João ... See full summary »

Director: Jorge Brum do Canto | Stars: Elsa Rumina, Barreto Poeira, Óscar de Lemos, João Manuel

Votes: 53

7. João Ratão (1940)

98 min | Drama

João Ratão is a Portuguese soldier in the Flandres battle-front,

Director: Jorge Brum do Canto | Stars: Óscar de Lemos, Maria Domingas, António Silva, Manuel Santos Carvalho

Votes: 49

8. The Tyrannical Father (1941)

114 min | Comedy

Francisco, salesman in a shoe store, is totally in love with Tatão, which sells perfume in the same street. But he is an amateur theater actor, as she hates theater and is a fan of cinema. Will this unlikely love endure?

Director: António Lopes Ribeiro | Stars: Vasco Santana, Francisco Ribeiro, Leonor Maia, Barroso Lopes

Votes: 607

9. The Courtyard of the Ballads (1942)

121 min | Comedy, Musical

This classic of Portuguese cinema depicts the friendships and rivalries of the inhabitants of a square in downtown Lisbon, where exists a spirit of familiarity between neighbors.

Director: Francisco Ribeiro | Stars: Maria das Neves, Vasco Santana, António Silva, Laura Alves

Votes: 1,027

10. Ala-Arriba! (1942)

94 min | Drama, Romance

In a village of poor fishermen in the North of Portugal, João Moço and Julha fall in love. Unfortunately they belong to two different fisher castes and the community as well as their respective families condemn their love...

Director: José Leitão de Barros | Stars: Ilidio Rocha Silvestre, Elsa Bea-Flor, João Moço, Nicolau

Votes: 83

11. Aniki Bóbó (1942)

71 min | Drama, Family

The story takes place in the old streets of Porto and by the banks of the Douro River. A gang of very young kids has just accepted a new member, Carlitos, a shy boy who has "played it tough... See full summary »

Director: Manoel de Oliveira | Stars: Nascimento Fernandes, Vital dos Santos, António Palma, Armando Pedro

Votes: 1,424

12. Ill-Fated Love (1943)

128 min | Drama, Romance

The fatalism caught up and the amorous tragedy between Teresa de Albuquerque and Simão Botelho, who survives the intolerant litigation of her noble families.

Director: António Lopes Ribeiro | Stars: Igrejas Caeiro, Eunice Colbert, Emilia D'Oliveira, Cassilda de Albuquerque

Votes: 48

13. O Costa do Castelo (1943)

135 min | Comedy, Romance

The unlikely love between Luisinha, a humble girl who lives on a small pension in Lisbon, and Daniel, a wealthy aristocrat who decides to fight for the girl who loves against the prejudices of his family.

Director: Arthur Duarte | Stars: António Silva, Maria Matos, Milú, Curado Ribeiro

Votes: 488

14. A Menina da Rádio (1944)

106 min | Comedy, Musical

Geninha and Fortunato are couple who loves music. He's a good songwriter, she sings well. Despite this, their parents hate each other and do not seem willing to allow their marriage, nor the creation of a local radio for them.

Director: Arthur Duarte | Stars: Maria Matos, António Silva, Maria Eugénia, Francisco Ribeiro

Votes: 230

15. Inês de Castro (1944)

92 min | Drama, History, Romance

Constanza, princess of Spain, meets Pedro, her promised husband and future king of Portugal. Amidst political intrigue, Pedro falls in love with Inès, Constanza's aid. Inès returns hastily ... See full summary »

Director: José Leitão de Barros | Stars: Antonio Vilar, Alicia Palacios, María Dolores Pradera, Raul de Carvalho

Votes: 48

16. Camões (1946)

118 min | Biography, Drama

The adventurous life of Portugal's epic poet, Luis de Camões.

Director: José Leitão de Barros | Stars: Antonio Vilar, José Amaro, Igrejas Caeiro, Paiva Raposo

Votes: 162

17. Capas Negras (1947)

103 min | Drama, Musical, Romance

In Coimbra, law student José Duarte and Maria de Lisboa lived a romance which ends when he goes away, achieving fame and fortune by singing. But she's pregnant and they will meet again when she's arrested by allegedly abandoning their son.

Director: Armando de Miranda | Stars: Amália Rodrigues, Alberto Ribeiro, Artur Agostinho, Vasco Morgado

Votes: 69

18. Fado, História d'uma Cantadeira (1947)

110 min | Drama, Musical, Romance

Ana Maria was a modest young woman who loves Júlio, her guitarist. But when she becomes a famous singer and Júlio, feeling abandoned by her, decides to go to the African colonies, she will have to choose between fame and true love.

Director: Perdigão Queiroga | Stars: Amália Rodrigues, Virgilio Teixeira, Vasco Santana, António Silva

Votes: 141

19. O Leão da Estrela (1947)

121 min | Comedy, Romance

Anastácio lives in Lisbon and is fanatic for Sporting, one of the city's football teams. When the team travels to face Porto, he follows it with the family, staying in house of his friend, Mr. Barata, pretending to be rich.

Director: Arthur Duarte | Stars: António Silva, Milú, Maria Eugénia, Erico Braga

Votes: 941

20. Heróis do Mar (1949)

118 min | Drama

A thin thread of fiction, linking inserts of non-original documentary footage of Portuguese cod-fishers off the rich coasts of Newfoundland and Groenland. Heroic fights against raging seas ... See full summary »

Director: Fernando Garcia | Stars: Óscar Acúrcio, Silva Araújo, Raul de Carvalho, Isabel de Castro

Votes: 7

21. Frei Luís de Sousa (1950)

118 min | Drama

Twenty years after her husband disappears in combat, Madalena is married again but fears the return of her first husband, as this would annul her marriage, his happiness and turn her daughter into a bastard. A classic of Portuguese cinema.

Director: António Lopes Ribeiro | Stars: Maria Sampaio, María Dulce, Raul de Carvalho, João Villaret

Votes: 84

22. The Circus (1951)

98 min | Drama

Lives of circus performers in times of decay.

Director: Manuel Guimarães | Stars: Maria Olguim, Helga Liné, Artur Semedo, Jose Vitor

Votes: 52

23. Chaimite (1953)

157 min | Action, Biography, Drama

From the military planning to front-line operations of discover conquest of Mozambique by the Portuguese, to counter the Vatuas insurgency of 1894, when they were led by Gungunhana, a ... See full summary »

Director: Jorge Brum do Canto | Stars: Jacinto Ramos, Jorge Brum do Canto, Emilio Correia, Silva Araújo

Votes: 38

24. Quando o Mar Galgou a Terra (1954)

96 min | Musical, Drama

Passion and ambition interplay to bring dissention and tragedy into the home of an old fisherman married to a much younger woman.

Director: Henrique Campos | Stars: Mariana Villar, Curado Ribeiro, Alves da Costa, Brunilde Júdice

Votes: 8

26. My Little Seamstress (1959)

103 min | Comedy, Drama

Aurora is a modest young girl, working as dressmaker for the women her popular district, near the OPorto cathedral. One day, through a hintz-dress design competition, she gets involved with a haut couture atelier.

Director: Manuel Guimarães | Stars: Maria de Fátima Bravo, Jacinto Ramos, Alina Vaz, Baptista Fernandes

Votes: 25

27. O Primo Basílio (1959)

138 min | Drama

During the absence of Jorge, a mining engineer, Luísa, his wife, allowed himself to be seduced by Basílio, a relative whom he had broken years before, who had gone to Brazil.

Director: António Lopes Ribeiro | Stars: Antonio Vilar, Danik Patisson, Aura Abranches, Cecília Guimarães

Votes: 32

28. Acto da Primavera (1963)

94 min | Drama

Local people of Curalha, a small village, keep a tradition of representing the Passion of Jesus, since and according to a 16th text.

Director: Manoel de Oliveira | Stars: Nicolau Nunes Da Silva, Ermelinda Pires, Maria Madalena, Amélia Chaves

Votes: 185

29. The Puppeteer (1962)

102 min | Comedy, Drama

João Barbela is poor man who lives out of charity - what coins the people of Lisbon's popular districts give him as 'pay' for his puppeteering work. For the kids, he is like a king, Dom ... See full summary »

Director: Ernesto de Sousa | Stars: Raul Solnado, Glicínia Quartin, Luís Cerqueira, Costa Ferreira

Votes: 32

30. The Green Years (1963)

91 min | Drama

Julio, aged nineteen, has just left the provinces to settle down in the outskirts of Lisbon. He lives there in a poor area with his uncle Afonso and starts working as an apprentice ... See full summary »

Director: Paulo Rocha | Stars: Rui Gomes, Isabel Ruth, Ruy Furtado, Paulo Renato

Votes: 468

31. Belarmino (1964)

80 min | Documentary, Biography, Drama

Interview with a has-been boxing champion «who could have been great», probing, and soul revealing.

Director: Fernando Lopes | Stars: Belarmino Fragoso, Jean Pierre Gebler, Maria Teresa de Noronha, Bernardo Moreira

Votes: 348

32. Sunday Afternoon (1966)

90 min | Drama, Romance

Reflections on life and death through the eyes of a medicine doctor, researcher on blood deseases, under the anguish of consulting a terminally ill young woman.

Director: António de Macedo | Stars: Isabel de Castro, Ruy de Carvalho, Isabel Ruth, Alexandre Passos

Votes: 70

33. Mudar de Vida (1966)

90 min | Drama

After a stint in the army fighting in Angola, a soldier comes home to find his sweetheart has married his brother. He makes advances towards his sister-in-law, but she turns him down. ... See full summary »

Director: Paulo Rocha | Stars: Geraldo Del Rey, Isabel Ruth, Maria Barroso, João Guedes

Votes: 220

35. The Circle (1970)

111 min | Drama

A look at the urban society of the seventies. The story of Marta a young and pretty girl, who leaves her husband to search for her true identity. She doesn't quite know what she wants, but ... See full summary »

Director: António da Cunha Telles | Stars: Maria Cabral, Miguel Franco, Ruy de Carvalho, Mário Jacques

Votes: 90

36. Past and Present (1972)

115 min | Comedy

Vanda is a young widow, with a number of marriages past her, who tends to venerate each deceased husband, as much as she betrays and denigrates the present one.

Director: Manoel de Oliveira | Stars: Maria de Saisset, Manuela de Freitas, Bárbara Vieira, Alberto Inácio

Votes: 165

37. Just Peter (1972)

77 min | Drama

Pedro is a young agricultural worker who gets caught in the middle of a fight between two families, kills a man and escapes to the capital. He can't find work,resorts to begging, but keeps ... See full summary »

Director: Alfredo Tropa | Stars: António Montez, Ermelinda Duarte, Jorge Ramalho, José Gomes

Votes: 11

39. Uma Abelha na Chuva (1972)

75 min | Drama

A married couple of rich and depressed noblemen destroy the lives of their servants out of spite.

Director: Fernando Lopes | Stars: Laura Soveral, João Guedes, Zita Duarte, Ruy Furtado

Votes: 215

40. O Mal-Amado (1974)

100 min | Drama

The Soares are a bourgeois couple, living in a good neighbourhood of Lisbon, but João, their son, is not integrating well in that pattern. He attends more political meetings than classes at... See full summary »

Director: Fernando Matos Silva | Stars: João Mota, Maria do Céu Guerra, Zita Duarte, Fernando Gusmão

Votes: 18

41. Perdido por Cem (1973)

105 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

Artur, in Lisbon for his holidays, wanders aimlessly, and is picked-up by Rui, a young man who is into marketing and advertising. Joana is in Lisbon for holidays, but also trying to escape ... See full summary »

Director: António-Pedro Vasconcelos | Stars: José Cunha, Marta Leitão, José Nuno Martins, Ana Maria Lucas

Votes: 13

42. Sofia e a Educação Sexual (1974)

101 min | Drama, Romance

After her mother's death, Sofia returns from a Swiss college to her family's luxurious villa, in Cascais. Through the relashionship between her father, Henrique, and his lover Laura, she ... See full summary »

Director: Eduardo Geada | Stars: Io Apolloni, Luísa Nunes, Carlos Ferreira, Artur Semedo

Votes: 30

43. Gentle Costume (1975)

75 min | Drama

A portrait of the everyday life of a typical middle-class family in parallel with the fall of the "Estado Novo", the 48-year dictatorship led by Salazar. The daughters' conflicts and ... See full summary »

Director: Alberto Seixas Santos | Stars: Luís Santos, Dalila Rocha, Isabel de Castro, Sofia de Carvalho

Votes: 62

44. As Armas e o Povo (1975)

78 min | Documentary, History, Reality-TV

Film directors with hand-held cameras went to the streets of Lisbon from April 25 to May 1, 1974, registering interviews and political events of the Portuguese "Carnations Revolution", as that period would be later known.

Directors: Manuel Costa e Silva, António da Cunha Telles, Acácio de Almeida, António de Macedo, José de Sá Caetano, António Escudeiro, Henrique Espírito Santo, José Fonseca e Costa, Luís Galvão Teles, Eduardo Geada, Fernando Lopes, Fernando Matos Silva, João Moedas Miguel, João César Monteiro, Glauber Rocha, Elso Roque, Alberto Seixas Santos, Artur Semedo, João Matos Silva, António-Pedro Vasconcelos | Stars: Fernando Balsinha, Álvaro Cunhal, Adelino Gomes, Júlio Isidro

Votes: 27

45. The Ghosts of Alcacer-Kibir (1977)

91 min | Drama

Through the decadence of a once noble and rich family, unable to plan the future of their members and the application of their resources, one can see the decadence of the Portuguese empire,... See full summary »

Director: José Fonseca e Costa | Stars: António Beringela, Ana Zanatti, Sérgio Godinho, Fernando Loureiro

Votes: 23

46. Deus Pátria Autoridade (1976)

110 min | Documentary

The history of Portugal since the Republican revolution of 1910 to the revolutionary period following the military coup of April 24, 1974, recounted with a marxist perspective, using ... See full summary »

Director: Rui Simões | Stars: Rui Paulo da Cruz, José Mário Branco, Álvaro Cunhal, António de Spínola

Votes: 33

47. As Ruínas no Interior (1977)

107 min | Drama, War

During World War II, during a misty morning, near a fishermen's village, four children come across two RAF pilots ejected from a plane that crashed in the sea.

Director: José de Sá Caetano | Stars: Françoise Ariel, Keith James, Brian Ralph, Jacinto Ramos

Votes: 7

48. Trás-os-Montes (1976)

108 min | Drama

It's a docudrama with a poetic writing and non-linear narrative. Specifically, it's an "etnofiction": portraits the typical characters of Terra Fria, the North-east of Portugal, showing ... See full summary »

Directors: Margarida Cordeiro, António Reis | Stars: Albino S. Pedro, Carlos Margarido, Mariana Margarido, Luis Ferreira

Votes: 156