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Law of Desire (1987)

La ley del deseo (original title)
A film maker has a fling with a homicidal possessive fan who threatens his true love and sister.


Pedro Almodóvar (as Pedro Almodovar)


Pedro Almodóvar (screenplay), Pedro Almodóvar (story)
12 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Eusebio Poncela ... Pablo Quintero
Carmen Maura ... Tina Quintero
Antonio Banderas ... Antonio Benítez
Miguel Molina Miguel Molina ... Juan Bermúdez
Fernando Guillén ... Inspector de policía
Manuela Velasco ... Ada, niña
Nacho Martínez ... Doctor Martín
Bibiana Fernández ... Ada - madre (as Bibí Andersen)
Helga Liné ... Madre Antonio
Germán Cobos ... El Cura
Fernando Guillén Cuervo ... Policía hijo
Marta Fernández Muro ... Groupi
Lupe Barrado Lupe Barrado ... Enfermera
Alfonso Vallejo ... Sargento
Maruchi León Maruchi León ... Hermana de Juan


Pablo and Tina have complicated sexual lives. Pablo writes and directs plays and films; he's gay and deeply in love with Juan, a young man who won't reply to Pablo's affection or letters. Pablo's sibling Tina is a transsexual, angry at men, raising Ada, and trying to make it as an actress. Pablo takes up with Antonio, a youth who becomes jealous of Pablo's love for Juan. Antonio seeks out Juan, and violence leads to Pablo's grief and a temporary loss of memory. When memory returns, he learns that Antonio has taken up with Tina. In horror, he hurries to Tina's rescue and must face Antonio and his desire. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated NC-17 for a scene of explicit sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Pedro Almodóvar considers Antonio Banderas's performance in this film his strongest to date. See more »


Pablo Quintero: It's not your fault if you don't love me and its not my fault if I love you.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Pedro Almodóvar appears in a scene as an employee in a DIY shop and serves Banderas's character. See more »


Referenced in 10 pelis (2011) See more »


Movement II
From "Movements for piano and orchestra"
Composed by Igor Stravinsky
See more »

User Reviews

Early Pedro Almodovar movie with a very good cast as Antonio Banderas and Carmen Maura
23 November 2015 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Offbeat and sensitive melodrama/Thriller about extreme passions , ¨Amor Fou¨ and a killer on lam , being well acted and directed . Good film including interesting drama , colorful cinematography , sensitive score and fine acting by all-Spanish-star-cast . Almodovar successful thriller/drama , including his ordinary rare characters , twisted situations and eccentric events dealing with a writer/director gay and the men who love him , this sexual disorientation jeopardizes his latest project . As it concerns about a couple of siblings , Pablo and Tina , both of whom have complicated sexual existences . Pablo is homosexual and deeply in love with Juan (Micky Molina) , a young man who won't reply to Pablo's affection . Pablo's brother Tina (Carmen Maura) is a transsexual , angry at men , raising Ada (Manuela Velasco) , and attempting to make it as a player . Pablo takes up with Antonio (Antonio Banderas) , Antonio seeks out Juan , and violence leads to Pablo's grief . Then , it takes place a car crash and Pablo temporarily loss of memory . When memory returns , he learns a dark secret . In horror , Pablo takes on a terrible and disgusting finale .

Enjoyable film full of feeling , rare characters plenty of desire and love , haunting mood-pieces , emotive as well as outrageous images , and sense of style . The picture deals with off-the-wall/intense drama , family absurdities , superb scenes , a haunting meditation on love with dysfunctional roles and many other things . Here deals with existences of the three peculiar roles : a filmmaker , his angry lover and a transsexual whose fates will flow in all directions , past , present and future , dragging all of them towards an unsuspected finale . This strange as well as excessive melodrama/triller/intrigue movie in Douglas Sirk style could only have been made by Almodovar . The picture is acceptable but turns out to be inferior to his subsequent entries such as or ¨Live flesh¨ , ¨The flower of my secret¨ , ¨High heels¨ , ¨Atame¨ , ¨All about my mother¨, ¨Talk to her¨ , all of them strong and outlandish dramas . The result is undiluted scabrous flick , filled with crazy strings of plots and sharp images with thrilling situations . As usual , in the most from Almodóvar films , he uses Latin-American songs in his movies movies , from Rancheras , Boleros to tangos through Mexican and Cuban boleros , Pedro has a great musical taste . Unforgettable scenes when there takes place a peculiar shower , this iconic hose scene was shot twice , the first one wasn't useful because the pressure was so big that Carmen Maura fell down . The second time the scene was shot perfectly, but Maura had to dub herself because of the water noise . The best images happen on the ending of the movie when Tina and Ada are kidnapped and Pablo hurries to Tina's rescue and must face a murderer on loose . Nice actors give awesome interpretations as Eusebio Poncela playing a stressed writer unsettled by a triangular love story , and Antonio Banderas as a youth who becomes jealous of Pablo's love for Juan , the latter well performed by Miguel Molina . I liked everyone in the excellent cast , and the male and female actors , especially Carmen Maura , were all very attractive . Furthermore , a notorious support cast such as Helga Line , Nacho Martínez , Germán Cobos , Bibiana Fernández and other delightfully played roles . And Fernando Guillén as Police inspector and his assistant played by Fernando Guillén Cuervo are father and son both in movie and in real life . In addition , a lot of cameos with frequent Pedro Almodóvar actors appear briefly such as Rossy De Palma , Marta Fernández Muro and Victoria Abril . As usual in most of Pedro's movies , there is a small role for Agustín Almodóvar, his brother and producer of the film who plays a lawyer and the same Pedro Almodóvar as a shopkeeper . Rousing musical score, including some marvelous songs , these are the followings : ¨No Me Quitte Pas" written by Jacques Brel , performed by Maysa Matarazzo , Los Panchos : "Lo Dudo" ('I doubt it') , 'If you go away' with the sweet voice of Emiliana Torrini , "Guardo Che Luna" composed by G. Malgoni . Pedro chooses this kind of songs , Rancheras , Boleros, tangos , etc. have something in common : They are about tragedies , lost love , betrayal , desire , lust , hate and passion . Colorful and luxurious cinematography by Angel Fernandez who photographed Almodóvar's first films as ¨Dark Habits¨ , ¨What Have I Done to Deserve This?" and ¨Matador¨.

This one-of-a-kind picture was realized in his particular style by Pedro Almodovar ; he often uses symbolism and metaphorical techniques to portray circular story lines though here he directs a special melodrama , including his ordinary touches . Almodovar directs throughout with splendid zip and he usually portrays strong female characters and transsexuals and along his career getting some important international prizes . His first feature film, Pepi, Luci, Bom (1980), was made in 16 mm and blown-up to 35 mm for public release . In 1987, he and his brother Agustín Almodóvar established their own production company : El Deseo, S. A. The "Almodóvar phenomenon" has reached all over the world , making his films very popular in many countries . Oscar-winning Spanish director Pedro Almodovar who made successes such as Labyrinth of passions , Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown , Bad education , Broken embraces , The Skin I Live In , Volver and many others . The latest from acclaimed Spanish director , Pedro Almodovar's I'm So Excited , a mediocre comedy.

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Release Date:

5 March 1987 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

Law of Desire See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,399, 13 August 2006

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

El Deseo, Laurenfilm See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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