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Filmography

Spanish Civil War

Filmography of the Spanish Civil War

Compiled by Deanna Kohrs and Sophia McClennen, May 2001

This filmography was created to help teachers, scholars and cinephiles identify films that relate to the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).

Note: Most of the films listed are feature films, but some documentaries are included.  While extensive, this list is not exhaustive.  Please let us know of any films we have overlooked.  sam50@psu.edu

Films from Outside Spain (click here to jump down)

Films from Spain

Los años bárbaros  (1998) Director:  Fernando Colomo Runtime:  120

Synopsis:  Two students are arrested for painting revolutionary graffiti on university walls.  They escape from camp and flee with two American girls

¡Ay, Carmela!  (1991) Director:  Carlos Saura Runtime: 102 Production Companies:  Ellepi Films [it] Iberoamericana Films Internacional [es] Iberoamericana Films [es] Televisión Española (TVE) [es]     

Synopsis: Carmela and Paulino are traveling entertainers during the Civil War in 1938 who arecaptured by Franco’s fascist forces and taken as prisoners.  On the verge of execution, they are discovered by a theater loving lieutenant who gives them the chance to perform for the Nationalists and are faced with either saving their lives or betraying the Republican cause. 

Visit the link for this film in the Cinergía MOVIE FILES: Ay Carmela.

Belle époque  (1992) Director:  Fernando Trueba Runtime:  109 Production Companies:  Animatógrafo [pt], Fernando Trueba, Producciones Cinematográficas, S.A. [es] Lola Films [es]

Synopsis:  Fernando deserts the Civil War and is welcomed by Manolo due to his political ideas, as well as his four beautiful daughters.

Canciones para después de una guerra (1976) Director:  Basilio Martín Patino Runtime:  115 Production Companies:  Turner Films [es]

Synopsis: Images are matched with songs form the period in this interesting commentary on war ideology.

El caso almería  (1983) Director:  Pedro Costa I Runtime:  120 Production Companies:  Multivideo [es]

Synopsis:  “El caso almería” (The Almería File) is about the investigation of a Spanish judge on the assassination by the Guardia Civil of three young people, wrongly suspected of being ETA terrorists. In his search for the truth, the judge will face all types of obstacles and even threats on his own life for daring to investigate the very secret and dangerous world of the Spanish military, at a time when Spain is just coming out of 40 years of authoritarian rule. (Summary written by Margaux)

Caudillo (1977) Director: Basilio Martín Patino Runtime:  130 Production Companies:  RETASA (Firm) Films for the Humanities (Firm)

Synopsis: This film tells the story of General Franco’s revolt and the ensuing Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939 from both the Republican and Falangist points of view.  It includes documentary film footage, narrative excerpts from various well-known writers who reported on the war first hand, and contemporary visits with surviving participants.     

La caza (1966) Director:  Carlos Saura Runtime:  91 Production companies:  Elías Querejeta, Producciones Cinematográficas, S.L. [es]

Synopsis:  A disturbing tale of a group of men who go hunting together in Post civil war Spain.

El cochecito (1960) Director:  Marco Ferreri Runtime:  85 Production Companies:  Films 59 [es]   

Synopsis: A black comedy about an old man who wants a motorized wheelchair so he can ride through town with his disabled friends. 

La colmena (1982) Director:  Mario Camus Runtime:112  Production Companies:  Televisión Española (TVE) [es]  Ágata Films, S.A. [es]

Synopsis: As in the novel of the same title from Camilo Jose Cela, "La Colmena" is a sad composition with the stories of many people in the Madrid of 1942, during the postwar of the Spanish Civil War. The main theme of the film is the contrast between the poets,surviving close to misery under the Franco's regime, and the winners of the war, the emerging class of the people that makes easy money with illegal business. (Summary written by {andrade@gredos.cnb.uam.es})

Cría cuervos  (1976) Director:  Carlos Saura Runtime:  107 Production Companies:  Elías Querejeta, Producciones Cinematográficas, S.L. [es] Querejeta y Gárate, Elías [es]

Synopsis: Focuses on a little girl who must cope with the loss of both her parents. As a metaphor for the orphaned youth of Spain after the Civil War, Ana is haunted by her dead parents and struggles to understand her identity.

El crimen de Cuenca (1980) Director:  Pilar Miró Runtime:  92 Production Companies:  Incine [es] Jet Films [es] 

Demonios en el jardín (1982) Director:  Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón   Runtime:  100 Production Companies:  Luis Megino P.C. [es]

Sinopsis: Juan is the handsome, irresponsible, best-loved second son.  When his older brother, who runs the family's black-market business with their steel-willed mother, marries Juan's lover Ana, Juan heads for Madrid to work for Franco. Juan also leaves behind his impoverished cousin, Ángela, pregnant with his son. Jump ten years. Juanito, the lad, has rheumatic fever.  The doctor says to pamper the boy. Ángela, Ana, and his grandmother comply. As Juanito recovers, his father returns in desperate need of cash; Juanito witnesses a theft blamed on his innocent mother. Things come to a head at a saint's-name party for father and son. Jealousies, betrayals, and a bullet converge. (Summary written by {jhailey@hotmail.com})

Los días del pasado (1977) Director:  Mario Camus  Runtime:109 Production Companies:  Impala, S.A. [es]

Synopsis:  A woman arrives in town to work as a teacher. It is the time of the 'maquis', the anti-Franco guerrilla that fights with little hope in some regions of Spain just after the end of the civil war. She has a love affair with one of the guerrillas, but their relationship will have an impossible future because of the past. (Summary written by Miguel A. Andrade)

La escopeta nacional  (1978) Director:  Luis García Berlanga Runtime:  95 Production Companies:  Incine [es]

El espíritu de la colmena (1973)Director:  Victor Erice Running Time:  97 Production companies:   Elías Querejeta, Producciones Cinematográficas, S.L. [es]

Synopsis:  A haunting tale of two young girls in Post civil war Spain.

Visit the link for this film in the Cinergía MOVIE FILES: El espíritu de la colmena

La hora de los valientes (1998) Director: Antonio Mercero  

Synopsis: After the Spanish Civil War breaks out, the Prado Museum is being evacuated. One of the guards finds a painting by the master, Goya, and takes it to prevent damage to the work of art. In the interim, he meets a young lady with whom he falls in love. Assisted by her and her family members, the soldier attempts to save Goya's masterpiece intact amidst the war and violence.  (Summary written by GmeleJr)

El jardín de las delicias (1970) Director:  Carlos Saura Runtime:  90 Production companies:  Elías Querejeta, Producciones Cinematográficas, S.L. [es]

Synopsis:  This film provides a surreal look at a family's attempt to shock, bully, frighten, coach, and cajole Antonio Cano into regaining his memory and his management powers after an auto accident. He's middle-aged, wealthy, the leader of a family corporation. After the accident he can't remember his Swiss bank account numbers, can't sign documents, and can't lead his board of directors. His father needs Antonio's recovery to keep family’s control of the corporation, and Antonio's wife, children, and mistress want access to Antonio's money. They stage elaborate recreations of traumas in his childhood that mix with his own memories and hallucinations. Will they succeed? Will he come out of it? (Summary written by {jhailey@hotmail.com})

Libertarias (1996) Director: Vicente Aranda Runtime: 125 Production Companies: Academy Pictures [it]  Canal+ España [es] Era Films [be] Lola Films [es] LolaFilms, S.A. [es] Sociedad General de Televisión, S.A. [es] Sogepaq [es] Televisión Española (TVE) [es]

Synopsis: At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, the nun Maria is forced to flee her convent. She takes refuge in a brothel until a woman’s anarchist group liberates it. Maria joins the group and eventually goes to the front. The women's group faces the problems of fighting not only the nationalists, but also factions on the left seeking to impose a more traditional military structure.  (Summary written by Brian Rawnsley)

La lengua de las mariposas (1999) Director:  José Luis Cuerda Runtime:  96 Production Companies:  Canal+ España [es] Los Producciones del Escorpion Sogotel TVG Televisión Española (TVE) [es]

Synopsis: For Moncho, it's an idyllic year: he starts school, he has a wonderful teacher, he makes a friend in Roque, he begins to figure out some of the mysteries of Eros, and, with his older                        brother, a budding saxophone player, he makes a trip with the band from their town in Galicia. But it's also the year that the Spanish Republic comes under fire from Fascist rebels. Moncho's father is a Republican, and so is the aging teacher, Don Gregorio. As sides are drawn and power falls clearly to one side, the forces of fear, violence, and betrayal alter profoundly what should be the pleasure of coming of age. (Summary written by {jhailey@hotmail.com}) 

El mar (2000) Director:  Agustín Villaronga  Runtime: 110 

Synopsis: Two boys (Ramallo and Manuel) and a girl in the Spanish Civil War are involved in the death of other two boys, one killed, the other through suicide. This terrible secret will be with them for all their lives. Years pass and they meet in a hospital for tuberculosis treatment. The girl is now a nun, Ramallo is a thief and Manuel is obsessed by religion. Reality is too hard to feel, only the sea should be the best place, where all is quiet... (Summary written by Dul)

Muerte de un ciclista  (1955) Director:  Juan Antonio Bardem  Runtime:  88 Production Companies:  Guión Producciones Cinematográficas [es] Suevia Films P.C. S.A [es] Trionfalcine [it]

La niña de tus ojos  (1998) Director: Fernando Trueba Runtime: 121 Production Companies:  Cartel [es]Fernando Trueba, Producciones Cinematográficas, S.A. [es] Lola Films [es]

Synopsis:  A company of Spanish filmmakers leaves Franco's Spain and moves to Hitler's Germany to make a film in co-production. Soon some problems start to arise.

Tu nombre me envenena mis sueños (1996) Director:  Pilar Miró Runtime:  118 Production Companies:  Central de Producciones Audiovisuales, S.L. [es] Sociedad General de Televisión, S.A. [es]

Synopsis:  Miro’s film reconstructs the Madrid of the Civil War era and the harsh postwar period through a series of characters who embody different types of losers.  It is, at the same time, a thriller, a reflection of the difficulty of “telling the story” of the 1936 war, and a tale of personal revenge—the avenger in this case being a woman.  Adopted from the novel by Joaquín Leguina.  

Pascual Duarte (1975) Director:  Ricardo Franco 

Synopsis: Based on the novel by Camilo José Cela, the film depicts Pascual Duarte as the psychological walls begin to close in on him in a downward spiral.   

La plaza del diamante (1981) Director:  Francisco Betriú

Synopsis: Based on the novel by Merce Rodoreda; this film features two opposing characters--the woman, docile and sensitive, the man, domineering living in Barcelona during and after the Civil War.

La raza  (1942) Director:  José Luis Sáenz de Heredia Runtime:  113 Production Companies:  Cancilleria del Consejo de la Hispanidad 

Synopsis:  This historical film is based upon a novel written under the surname of “Andrade,” which Franco used to publish the script.  It was made into a movie for propaganda and depicts his Nationalist, fascist ideals.   

Réquiem por un campesino español (1985) Director: Francisco Betriú Production Companies:  Nemo Films Venus Produccion

Synopsis: Paco is a young peasant who joins the Republican Party just before the start of the Spanish Civil War, only to become involved in that awful conflict. (Summary written by David Kinne)

La vaquilla  (1985) Director:  Luis García Berlanga Runtime:  122 Production Companies:  Incine [es] Jet Films [es]  

Synopsis: A comic depiction of the Civil War with biting satire.  Shows both sides of the Civil War fighting over a “vaquilla”.

 El verdugo (1963) Director:  Luis García Berlanga Runtime:  90 Production Companies:  Interlagar Films [es] Naga Films [es] Zebra Films [it]

Synopsis: The film starts with the main character (an old executioner in the Spain of early 60's) approaching retirement age. Since his profession is not "popular", he (a very gentle and nice man, caring, and proud of traditions) begins to worry about who might take his place when he retires. He has a daughter as well, yet can’t find her a husband due to his job. However, a new character enters: the local undertaker, a handsome and young man who has exactly the same problem... No girl wants him given his profession. So, you have the woman whom almost nobody would marry, and the man whom almost nobody would marry. Obviously, they are meant for each other. But here the old executioner has something to say: Only if the groom agrees to take the executioner's job when he retires, will he agree to his daughter's marriage.  (Summary written by Jose Beltran)

Section II:  Foreign Films about the Spanish Civil War

Multinational

L’ Espoir (1945) Director:  André Malraux  and Boris Peskin  Runtime: France:88 / Spain:76 Production Companies:  Les Productions André Malraux Productions Corniglion-Molinier Subsecretaría de Propaganda del Ministerio de Estado [es]

Synopsis: In 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, at Teruel, the fight of the Republicans (with very poor means but high commitment) against fascist army of General Franco can be seen as romanticized witness of director and writer Andre Malraux, who joined the Republicans in 1936. (Summary written by Yepok)

Land and Freedom (1995) Director: Ken Loach  Runtime: France:109 / Spain:104 Production Companies:ARD B.I.M. BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) [uk] British Screen [uk] Canal+ España [es] Degeto Film [de] Diaphana Films [fr] Eurimages European Co-production Fund [uk] Filmleitung Nordfilm Westfalen [se] Messidor Films Parallax Pictures, Ltd. PolyGram Filmed Entertainment [us] Road Movies Dritte Produktionen Televisión Española (TVE) [es]

Synopsis: Spring 1936, a young unemployed communist, David, leaves his hometown Liverpool to join the fight against fascism in Spain. He joins an international group of Militia-men and women, the POUM (Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista). After being wounded he goes to Barcelona, where he decides to join another group of fighters. They remain in Barcelona and end up fighting other anti-fascist groups. David is disappointed and decides to go back to his old band.  (Summary written by Walter de Rijk)

Canada

Bethune (1964)Writing credits:  Donald Brittain  (commentary) John Kemeny Runtime: 59 Production Companies:  National Film Board of Canada (NFB) [ca]

Synopsis: The film tells the story of Norman Bethune, a Canadian doctor who was a partying wastrel until a bout with TB dramatically changed his attitude. He became dedicated with the goal of helping others both in the Spanish Civil War and in China where his ceaseless work to help the people of China in the beginning days of World War II made him an honored hero in Communist China. (Summary written by Kenneth Chisholm)

Los canadienses (1975) Director: Albert Kish Production Companies:  National Film Board of Canada (NFB) [ca]

Synopsis: In the 1930's, hundreds of idealistic youths, many of them Canadian, acted on their resolve for a more just world in a most direct way. This was done by volunteering in the International Brigades to fight in the Spanish Civil War against the Nationalist forces lead by Francisco Franco and supported by Nazi Germany. This film tells their story in that war and the consequences they faced for their decision.  (Summary written by Kenneth Chisholm) 

France

La Guerre Est Finie (1966) Director:  Alain Resnais  Runtime:  121 Production Companies:  Europa Film and Sofracima  [fr]

Synopsis: Diego is one of the leaders of the Spanish Communist Party. He is traveling back to Paris (where he lives) from a mission in Madrid. He is arrested at the border for an identity check, but manages to go free thanks to Nadine, the daughter of the man whose passport he use. When he arrives in Paris, he starts searching for one of his comrades, Juan, to prevent him from going to Madrid where he could be arrested by Franco's forces. (Summary written by Yepok).

Mexico

En el balcón vacío (1961) Director:  Jomí García Ascot  Runtime: 48 Production Companies:  Ascot Torre

Synopsis: This film is about a woman who was a child refugee from the Spanish Civil War, and is now living as an adult in Mexico City. She tries to remember the traumatic events of her childhood. (Summary written by George Schneiderman)

United Kingdom

The Night Has Eyes (1942) Director:  Leslie Arliss  Runtime: 79 Production Companies: Associated British Picture Corporation (ABPC) [uk] Pathé

Synopsis: Two teachers, man-hungry Doris and restrained Marian, visit the Yorkshire moors a year after their friend Evelyn disappeared there. On a stormy night, they take refuge in the isolated cottage of Stephen, one-time pianist shellshocked in the Spanish Civil War. Doris flees as soon as the flood subsides; but Marian's suspicions about Evelyn's fate, in conflict with her growing love for Stephen, prompt her to stay on among the misty bogs. (Summary written by Rod Crawford).

United States

Arise, My Love (1940)Director:  Mitchell Leisen Runtime:  110 Production Companies:  Paramount Pictures [us]

Synopsis: In 1939, American Tom Martin, who fought in the Spanish Civil War, awaits execution at the hands of the Fascist victors when reporter Augusta 'Gusto' Nash, for a scoop, aids him in an audacious escape. Of course, Tom tries to romance Gusto; but though she likes him, her career comes first, and Tom himself prefers freedom-fighting to settling down. Comedy becomes drama as their mixed feelings lead them on a circuitous path through the deepening chaos and catastrophe of the early days of World War II. (Summary written by Rod Crawford)

Behold a Pale Horse (1964)Runtime:  118 Production Companies:  Columbia Pictures Corporation [us] Highland-Brentwood Production

Synopsis: Manuel Artiguez, a famous bandit during the Spanish civil war, has lived in French exile for 20 years. When his mother is dying he considers visiting her secretly in his Spanish hometown. But his biggest enemy, the Spanish police officer Vinolas, prepared a trap at the hospital as a chance to finally catch Artiguez.

Blockade (1938) Director:  William Dieterle Runtime: 85 Production Companies:  United Artists [us] Walter Wanger Productions, Inc. [us]

Synopsis: A simple peasant is forced to take up arms to defend his farm during the Spanish Civil War. Along the way he falls in love with a Russian woman whose father is involved in espionage.   (Summary written by Herman Seifer) 

Confidential Agent (1945) Director:  Herman Shumlin Runtime: 118  Production Companies: Warner Bros. [us]

Synopsis: During the Spanish Civil War, a republican courier travels to England to try and buy coal. He meets with an amount of local hostility, while his life is at risk from those on the fascist side. Support comes from an unlikely if attractive quarter. (Summary written by Jeremy Perkins) 

The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca (1997) Director:  Marcos Zurinaga Runtime: 114 Production Companies: Antena 3  Enrique Cerezo Producciones Cinematográficas S.A. [es] Esparza/Katz Productions Le Studio Canal+ [fr] Miramar Films

Synopsis:  A journalist (Esai Morales) starts an investigation into the disappearance of famed poet and political agitator, Garcia Lorca (Andy Garcia), who disappeared in the early days of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930's. (Summary written by John Sacksteder) 

The Fallen Sparrow (1943) Director:   Richard Wallace (I)  Runtime: 94 Production Companies: RKO Radio Pictures Inc. [us]

Synopsis: A former Spanish Civil War prisoner, John McKittrick arrives in New York to find the truth behind the death of his friend Louie Lepetino. He finds himself being chased by Nazi agents who want an item he has brought back from Spain and cannot give up. When another of his friends is murdered, McKittrick realizes that he cannot trust anyone around him - not anyone. (Summary written by Jim Beaver) 

For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) Director:  Sam Wood  Writing credits:  Ernest Hemingway  (novel) Dudley Nichols  Runtime:  168 (restored version) Production Companies:  Paramount Pictures [us]

Synopsis: Spain in the 1930s is the place to be for a man of action like Robert Jordan. There is a civil war going on and Jordan who has joined up on the Republican side that appeals to idealists of that era -- like Ernest Hemingway and his friends -- has been given a high-risk assignment up in the mountains. He awaits the right time to blow up a bridge in a cave. Pilar, who is in charge there, has an ability to foretell the future. And so that night she encourages Maria, a young girl ravaged by enemy soldiers, to join Jordan who has decided to spend the night under the stars.  (Summary written by Dale O'Connor)

Visit the link for this film in the Cinergía MOVIE FILES: For Whom the Bell Tolls

The Good Fight  (1983) Director:  Noel Buckner, Mary Dore, Sam Stills Production Companies:  Abraham Lincoln Brigade Film Project  National Endowment for the Humanities Runtime: 90m

Synopsis:  This documentary explores a significant gap in our history through its use of archival footage, newsreels, still photographs, interviews with Lincoln veterans and other Depression-era artifacts.  The eleven surviving veterans of the war who appear in this tough, ironical film share a common pride in their sacrifices of fifty years ago when the rise of world fascism crushed the spirit of democracy in a tragic rehearsal of World War II.  

Guernica (1990, 1997) Production companies:  Iowa City, IA:  PICS/The University of Iowa 

Sergeant York (1941) Director:  Howard Hawks Runtime:  134 Production Companies:  Warner Bros. [us]  Synopsis: 

Synopsis: A hillbilly sharpshooter becomes one of the most celebrated American heroes of WWI when he single-handedly attacks and captures a German position using the same strategy as in turkey shoot.  (Summary written by Keith Loh)

The Spanish Civil War (1978) Written and created by:  Anthony Potter Production Companies:  Anthony Potter Production in production with Reeves Entertainment Group

The Spanish Earth  (1937)  Director:  Joris Ivens  Runtime:  52 Production Companies:  Contemporary Historians Inc. [us]

Synopsis: A documentary showing the struggle of the Spanish Republican government against a rebellion by ultra-right-wing forces led by Gen. Francisco Franco and backed by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.  It dramatizes the effects of the fascist uprising and invasion of the ordinary citizen, using actual scenes of the fighting.  

These filmographies are designed to provide students and scholars of Latin American, Spanish and Latino Cinema extensive lists of films organized around central themes.  Please contact us with comments, questions or to submit a filmography: sam50@psu.edu

Copyright 2000-2007

This site created and maintained by 

Sophia A. McClennen

mail: sam50@psu.edu

For EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES only

Created on 6/20/00 

Last updated on 07/20/2007