12 user 6 critic

The Holy Innocents (1984)

Los santos inocentes (original title)
PG | | Drama | 4 April 1984 (Spain)
1:18 | Trailer
Spain, 1960s. People from a very poor family work in the country, at the service of a rich family of landowners...


Mario Camus


Miguel Delibes (novel), Antonio Larreta (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
6 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Alfredo Landa ... Paco, El Bajo
Terele Pávez ... Régula
Belén Ballesteros Belén Ballesteros ... Nieves
Juan Sachez Juan Sachez ... Quirce
Susana Sánchez Susana Sánchez ... La Niña Chica
Francisco Rabal ... Azarías
Ágata Lys ... Doña Pura
Agustín González ... Don Pedro
Juan Diego ... Señorito Iván
Mary Carrillo ... Señora Marquesa
José Guardiola ... Señorito de la Jara
Manuel Zarzo ... Don Manuel, el doctor
Francisco Torres Francisco Torres ... Facundo
Pepín Salvador Pepín Salvador ... Obispo (as José Salvador)
José Manuel Sito José Manuel Sito ... Señorito Lucas


Somewhere in the spanish country, in the 60s. Paco and his wife Régula are very poor. They work as tenant farmers for a very wealthy landowner. They have 3 children. One is backward. The others can not got to school because the master "needs" their work. When Regula's brother is fired from where he has worked for 61 years, he settles down at their little place... An attack against the archaism of the spanish country of the 60s. Written by Yepok

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PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Voted eighth best Spanish film by professionals and critics in 1996 Spanish cinema centenary. See more »


Azarías: ¡Milana bonita!
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User Reviews

Superb but brutal naturalist cinema
5 February 2003 | by OskadoSee all my reviews

The DVD I received from Corte Ingles includes a trailer for "Boda de Sangre" (Lorca) and this film is similar in spirit, but with even greater tension. This story is reminiscent of Cela's "Familia Duarte", and indeed the DVD includes a trailer to Cela's "Colmena" also, though I haven't seen that film.

I agree with the strong evaluations and comments of other viewers. I'll add that I enjoyed the handling of time in the film, through intermittent flashbacks and juxtapositions of modern elements - e.g., the automobiles driven by the landowners - with the nearly stone-age level of the protagonist family.

Yet for me, the level of dramatic tension became, frankly, too great to bear. I don't know how I could have handled it in a theater. Given I had mouse control, I interrupted it a few times for relief. Then, about two-thirds through, I forwarded the film to see the end. There are occasions when social realism can produce a tale of social horror harder to watch and bear than anything Hollywood's chainsaw boys ever dreamed of.

The acting and cinematography are excellent. I can imagine viewers trying to laugh at Azarias' (Francisco Rabal) rustic charm. His performance is unforgettable - especially as he, like a hand of fate (azar) delivers the much-needed catharsis near the end - but I, and I presume most, will surely view him as a charming and touching victim, fleeing reality to the extent his old age permits - until a certain cruel act drives him to action.

I would have preferred a balancing of the harshness of this film with more moments of beauty to serve as relief, as in the French Manon (e.g., Jean de Florette) films. But here, the actual social conditions were far harsher - "epoca negra" stuff at its worst - and I presume that to add such relief would have been untrue to history. For me, Familia Duarte and Boda de Sangre sufficed.

I will conclude in recommending some of Delibes' recent works. He has a wonderful sense of humor and a great versatility of style that enables him to relate even everyday events in the most charming and entertaining way. It's hard to believe that the same man who wrote Santos Inocentes also wrote "Diario de un Jubilado" and "Mis Amigas las Truchas" or "Las Perdices de Domingo". And hard to believe how far Spain and Europe have come.

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Release Date:

4 April 1984 (Spain) See more »

Also Known As:

Aprószentek See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Black and White | Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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