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Torre Bela (1975)

The rise and fall of a revolutionary cooperative movement established in a large private farm in Ribatejo, Portugal, from March to December 1975 (most part of the land occupations occurred ... See full summary »


Thomas Harlan


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Complete credited cast:
Thomas Harlan ... Self (voice)
Maria Vitória Maria Vitória ... Self - Paesant
José Neves Paiva José Neves Paiva ... Self - Peasant
Herculano Valada Martins Herculano Valada Martins ... Self - Local Worker (as Martins)
Camilo Mortágua Camilo Mortágua ... Self - LUAR leader (as Camilo)
Cruz Cruz ... Self - Sub-officer Trainee
Luís Banasol Luís Banasol ... Self - Army Captain
José Afonso José Afonso ... Self - Singer
Francisco Fanhais Francisco Fanhais ... Self - Singer
Vitorino Salomé Vitorino Salomé ... Self - Singer
Manuel Joaquim Rosário Rosa Manuel Joaquim Rosário Rosa ... Self - Army Major
José Ramalho José Ramalho ... Self - Paesant (as Ramalho)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Wilson Wilson ... Self


The rise and fall of a revolutionary cooperative movement established in a large private farm in Ribatejo, Portugal, from March to December 1975 (most part of the land occupations occurred in Alentejo, promoted by the communist party). In direct speech, sometimes to the camera, sometimes among themselves, the uneducated rural workers expose their misery, their suffering, their hopes, and ultimately their despair - when a socialist government orders the restitution of the land to their primitive owners, and these transform the land into a hunting reserve. Written by Carlos

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Alternate Versions

The original version prepared for the 1976 Cannes Film Festival and eventually not shown was 240 minutes. After extensive editing by Roberto Perpignani it was reduced to 139 minutes and shown out of competition at the 1977 Cannes Film Festival. The director further edited the film to the 117 minutes that had limited distribution at trade union and political meetings in Portugal, Montréal (Canada), Pesaro (Italy) and NYC (USA). The so called Portuguese version for theatrical distribution was re-cut to 105 minutes. As of 2012, there are two DVD versions, the 2004 print under 82 minutes, and the 2007 print at 105 minutes. See more »


Referenced in Linha Vermelha (2012) See more »


Grandola Vila Morena
Written by José Afonso
Performed live by José Afonso, Francisco Fanhais and Vitorino Salomé
Played with the people of Torre Bela during a people's meeting.
See more »

User Reviews

Great political documentary.
14 December 2004 | by jimkav-1See all my reviews

One of the best political documentaries ever made. The process by which a revolutionary movement develops on a local scale, its relation to a radicalizing military, and its difficulties and peculiar development in specific cultural conditions have never been more honestly portrayed. Wathcing the soldiers tell the local peasants to do something force the soldiers to act on their behalf -- "Act now. The law will come later." --is astounding. I saw the movie when it originally came out, in a showing in Berkeley, CA with the director. I showed in once in a political film festival I organized. It is very hard to find. See it if at all possible. I've never seen a better account of a revolution in process.

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France | Portugal | Italy | Switzerland


Portuguese | French

Release Date:

7 August 2007 (Portugal) See more »

Also Known As:

A Terra: Torre Bela See more »

Filming Locations:

Sacavém, Lisbon, Portugal See more »


Box Office


CHF850,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (DVD) | (director's cut) | (restored)

Sound Mix:



Black and White (one scene)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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