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Esquilache (1989)

In the 18th century in Madrid, the Marquess of Esquilache, King Charles III of Spain's former minister, bans on wearing the popular wide collar with a long coat and brimmed hat. Along with other measures provoke a massive riot in the city.


Josefina Molina
4 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Fernando Fernán Gómez ... Esquilache
José Luis López Vázquez ... Campos
Ángela Molina ... Fernanda (as Angela Molina)
Ángel de Andrés ... Ensenada
Concha Velasco ... Pastora
Adolfo Marsillach ... Carlos III
Amparo Rivelles ... Isabel de Farnesio
Alberto Closas ... Villasanta
Tito Valverde ... Bernardo (as Fernando Valverde)
Roberto Martín Roberto Martín ... Doublet
Francisco Portes Francisco Portes ... Sabatini (as Paco Portes)
Paco Hernández Paco Hernández ... Agitador
Josu Ormaetxe Josu Ormaetxe ... Cabecilla (as Jesús A. Ormaeche)
José Antonio Navarro José Antonio Navarro ... Amotinado 1
Félix Casales Félix Casales ... Amotinado 2
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In the 18th century in Madrid, the Marquess of Esquilache, King Charles III of Spain's former minister, bans on wearing the popular wide collar with a long coat and brimmed hat. Along with other measures provoke a massive riot in the city.

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Did You Know?


Carlos III: When I met you in Naples, how long ago?
Esquilache: Fifteen years, Sir.
Carlos III: Do you know what I thought then? Here is a man who does his sums with his head, and undoes them with his heart.
See more »


Sonata nº56 en Fa Mayor
Written by Padre Antonio Soler
Performed by José Antonio Quintano
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User Reviews

Very good historical film about a great minister who did govern with Enlightenment ideals.
6 April 2016 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

The film is well based on historical events about Leopoldo Gregorio , Marquis of Esquilache (Messina, December 23, 1699 - Venice, September 15, 1785) , an Italian statesman who acted as minister of Charles III of Spain . Esquilache is a marvelous 1989 Spanish film , being excellently directed by Josefina Molina . The picture gives a magnificent portrayal to historic kingdom and cultural memory of an interesting period , with a look back to the past , offering us a provoking retelling on essential happenings . The film stars Fernando Fernán Gómez as Leopoldo De Gregorio , Marquis of Esquilache , who gives an awesome acting and it is based on the play "Un Soñador Para Un Pueblo" by Antonio Buero Vallejo.

This excellent picture recreates faithfully the historical facts , as several years separate us from the events are to narrate , but the shadows still hide from the public this great historic moment , and the significance of such deeds . ¨Esquilache¨ is filled with those lights and shadows , gathers such a very important known event recreated in the artistic frame called ¨Illustration¨ , characterized and inspired by the ideas of reason and freedom . The movie contributes to artistic and cultural record of an era , being masterfully narrated and perfectly played as well as directed . Here appear numerous historical characters competently performed , such as : Charles III by Adolfo Marsillach , Isabel De Farnesio interpreted by Amparo Rivelles , Duque De Villasanta by Alberto Closas and Marqués De Ensenada acted by Ángel De Andrés López . It displays a colorful and evocative cinematography by Juan Amoros , being shot on location in Royal Palace of Madrid . Luxurious sets make excellent use of real locations in Spain and it has a look of a great production . Attractive and magical musical score by José Nieto . The motion picture was stunningly directed by Josefina Molina who has received a honorific Goya , she has directed good flicks such as ¨Función De Noche¨, ¨Lo Mas Natural¨, ¨La Lola Se Va a Los Puertos¨ and the prestigious TV series ¨Tesesa De Jesus¨. The film was entered into the 39th Berlin International Film Festival and won numerous Goya Awards .

The film is very well set in Charles III epoch , he was the main promoting of Enlightened absolutism , also known as enlightened despotism and benevolent absolutism , it is a form of absolute monarchy or despotism inspired by the Enlightenment . As a lot of European Enlightened monarchs embrace rationality . Most enlightened monarchs fostered education and allowed religious tolerance , freedom of speech , and the right to hold private property . Charles III, King of Spain from 1759 to 1788, sought to rescue his empire from decay through ambitious reforms such as weakening the Church and its monasteries , promoting science and university research, facilitating trade and commerce, modernizing agriculture , and avoiding war . Charles III had been introduced to reform by his mentor in Sicily, Bernardo Tanucci. Although Tanucci remained behind in the Two Sicilies to advice Charles's son, King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, as the two thrones could not be united by consequence of treaty, Charles carried with him a cadre of Italian reformers who saw potential in the Spanish bureaucracy for modernization. Spain relapsed into former patterns after his death . The most important political reforms this promoter monarch instituted in his kingdom included : Codifying the laws of their territories . Reforming the countryside by establishing who owned which land and by reporting this data in property surveys called Cadasters . Abolishing, or taking steps to abolish, aristocratic tax immunities . Limiting the nobility's power to police and pass judgement upon their peasants . Diminishing peasants' legal disabilities, including ameliorating , if not abolishing, the hereditary status and impositions of serfdom where they still existed . Establishing some measure of religious toleration . Sponsoring cultural activities and institutions . Other illustrated kings are the followings : Emperor Joseph II , ruler of Austria , Empress Catherine the Great and Senior ministers , such as the Marquis of Pombal, who was Joseph I of Portugal's prime minister, and Struensee in Denmark . And in Spain , Marques De Esquilache -originally Squillace- , who was born in Messina, de Gregorio was one of Enlightenment Spain's leading statesmen from the arrival of Charles III to the Marquis's death in 1785 . His ability as a military supplier for the Neapolitan army impressed the king and raised him to royal prominence. He was appointed "Marquis of Esquilache" in 1755 . His attempt to modernize the apparel of the average Spaniard resulted in the Esquilache Riots and in his dismissal . Charles was forced to make Esquilache ambassador to Venice. It was a move that both Charles and Esquilache lamented. Esquilache felt that his measures in Spain had deserved a statue, and would comment that he had cleaned and paved the city streets and had created boulevards, and had nevertheless been dismissed . He died in Venice.

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Release Date:

26 January 1989 (Spain) See more »

Also Known As:

Le Marquis d'Esquilache See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Sabre Films See more »
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