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Kiss of the Spider Woman Details


Political prisoner Valentin Arregui (Raul Julia) and homosexual pederast Luis Molina (William Hurt) share a Brazilian prison cell in this fantastical drama from the book by Manuel Puig. Sensitive and flamboyant, Molina helps pass the time by recounting memories from one of his favorite films, a wartime romantic thriller that just may also be a Nazi propaganda film. He weaves the characters into an ongoing narrative meant to spur Valentin's imagination and distract him from the brutal realities of political imprisonment and separation from the woman he loves. Hard around the edges, and willing to die for his political principles, Valentin nonetheless allows Molina to penetrate some of his defensive shell. An odd friendship forms between the two vastly different prisoners, the dreamer and the activist. As the narrative unfolds, it becomes clear that Valentin is being poisoned by his captors, to compel him to reveal names and secrets, and that Molina may have other agendas that belie his honesty and openness with Valentin. The intense character study builds toward a surprising conclusion. Kiss of the Spider Woman received Oscar nominations for best picture, best director and best adapted screenplay, and Hurt took home the best actor trophy for his portrayal of the soulful and conflicted Molina. The film was later adapted into a Broadway musical. ~ Derek Armstrong, Rovi

  • Release date:June 29, 1985


Awarded by
National Board of Review Raul Julia Best Actor 1985 Winner
British Academy of Film and Television Arts William Hurt Best Actor 1985 Winner
Los Angeles Film Critics Association William Hurt Best Actor 1985 Winner
National Board of Review William Hurt Best Actor 1985 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences William Hurt Best Actor 1985 Winner
Cannes Film Festival William Hurt Best Actor 1985 Winner
Independent Spirit Awards Hector Babenco Best Foreign Film 1985 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Hector Babenco Best Director 1985 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Leonard Schrader Best Adapted Screenplay 1985 Nominee


William Hurt
as Luis Molina
Raul Julia
as Valentin Arregui
Sonia Braga
as Leni Lamaison
Jose Lewgoy
as Warden
Antonio Petrim
as Clubfoot
Milton Goncalves
as Secret Police
Patricio Bisso
as Greta
Herson Capri
as Werner
Miguel Falabella
as Lieutenant
Luis Serra
as Prison Doctor
Elvira Bisso
as Maid
Carlos Fariello
as Jewish Smuggler
Miriam Pires
as Mother
Oswaldo Barreto
as Molina's Friend
Wilson Grey
as Flunky
Lineu Dias
as Bank Cashier
Denise Dummont
as Michelle
Paulo Ludmer
as Rabbi
Edmilson Santos
as Prison Guard
Pericles Campos
as Prison Guard
Joe Kantor
as Judge
Nildo Parente
as Leader of Resistance
Benjamin Cattan
as Molina's Friend
Claudio Curi
as Molina's Friend
Georges Schlesinger
as Jewish Smuggler
Kenichi Kaneko
as Prison Guard
Sergio Bright
as Molina's Friend


Hector Babenco
Francisco Ramalho, Jr.
Leonard Schrader
Wally Badarou
Composer (Music Score)
John Neschling
Composer (Music Score)
Michael Jary
Featured Music
Nando Carneiro
Composer (Music Score)
Mauro Alice
Lee Percy
Clovis Bueno
Production Designer
Felipe Crescenti
Production Designer
Francisco Ramalho, Jr.
Executive Producer
Felipe Crescenti
Set Designer
Patricio Bisso
Costume Designer
Guilherme Pereira
Wally Badarou
Additional Music