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The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989)

NC-17 | | Crime, Drama | 6 April 1990 (USA)
The wife of an abusive criminal finds solace in the arms of a kind regular guest in her husband's restaurant.

Director:

Peter Greenaway

Writer:

Peter Greenaway
Reviews
Popularity
3,148 ( 489)

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7 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Elmer Bäck, Luis Alberti, Maya Zapata
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Bohringer ... Richard
Michael Gambon ... Albert
Helen Mirren ... Georgina
Alan Howard ... Michael
Tim Roth ... Mitchel
Ciarán Hinds ... Cory (as Ciaran Hinds)
Gary Olsen Gary Olsen ... Spangler
Ewan Stewart ... Harris
Roger Ashton-Griffiths ... Turpin (as Roger Ashton Griffiths)
Ron Cook ... Mews
Liz Smith ... Grace
Emer Gillespie ... Patricia
Janet Henfrey Janet Henfrey ... Alice
Arnie Breeveld Arnie Breeveld ... Eden
Tony Alleff Tony Alleff ... Troy
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Storyline

The wife of a barbaric crime boss engages in a secretive romance with a gentle bookseller between meals at her husband's restaurant. Food, colour coding, sex, murder, torture and cannibalism are the exotic fare in this beautifully filmed but brutally uncompromising modern fable which has been interpreted as an allegory for Thatcherism. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Greenaway's recipe of food and sex mixed with art is both delicious and wonderfully wicked. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

NC-17 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

Netherlands | UK | France

Language:

English | French | Dutch

Release Date:

6 April 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$7,724,701
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (R-rated)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (as Dolby Stereo in selected theatres)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the very few films to feature Helen Mirren is a state of undress/nudity. Other noteable ones being of course the infamous Caligula(1979) and Calender girls (2003). See more »

Goofs

When Albert (Michael Gambon) goes into the ladies' toilet and starts throwing women out of the cubicles, the second one has, as you would expect, her underwear around her knees. But her skirt rides right up, revealing that she is still wearing her underwear, and that the ones below are a prop. See more »

Quotes

[Cut to opening scene, Albert's gang has Roy nude, smeared feces on his body, strapped to the ground, and Albert pisses on him]
Albert: Now, I'll give you a good dinner. You're gonna have a nice clean. Now, you behave yourself in the future and pay for what I ask you or next time I'm gonna make you eat your own shit
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing credits epilogue: "And a special thanks to those very many people who patiently & repeatedly performed as patients & nurses in the hospital ward, and as diners in the Hollandais Restaurant." See more »

Alternate Versions

An edited, R-rated version is available on video. See more »


Soundtracks

Book Depository
Written by Michael Nyman
Performed by The Michael Nyman Band
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A beautifully filmed, ugly and disturbing film.
27 June 2004 | by timatorSee all my reviews

I saw this almost fifteen years ago and I still have crystal clear mental images of some of the scenes. The chef at his table in the kitchen, planning his menu: stunning! Put it in a frame, hang it on the wall. In the restaurant scenes, you feel like you're there at the table as the camera pans, without cuts, from one person to another. Our heroes locked in the truck full of rotting meat: horrible, disgusting, perfect. It's a classic purification ritual and it's literally putrid. Greenaway is a genius. My only criticism is a minor one. There is a full frontal nude scene of the wife and her lover, where he is clearly more "relaxed" than he should have been at that moment. I'm a bit disappointed in Greenaway for not showing him at "attention", as he would have been in real life. But then, I guess he would have been accused of making porn. Whatever. This film is not for everyone. My wife didn't see it. I'm sure she would have hated it if she had. For that matter, I can't actually say I liked it, although I consider it a masterwork. But I'm glad I saw it. I'll probably see it again, but not until I can see it on HDTV. Plain old DVD couldn't possibly do it justice. An amazing movie.


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