6.9/10
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85 user 25 critic

The House of the Spirits (1993)

R | | Drama, Romance | 1 April 1994 (USA)
A rancher, his clairvoyant wife and their family face turbulent years in South America in this adaptation of Isabel Allende's best-seller.

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Writers:

(novel),
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ON DISC
12 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
António Assunção ...
Man at Cattlemarket (as António Assumpção)
Julie Balloo ...
Young Lady
Frank Baker ...
Intelligence Officer
...
João Cabral ...
Soldier
Carlos César ...
Ambassador's Driver
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Rogério Claro ...
Man in Club
Edith Clement ...
Midwife
...
...
Nana
Oscar A. Colon ...
Sheriff
Franco Diogent ...
Man at the Party (as Franco Diogene)
Pedro Efe ...
Interrogation Officer
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Storyline

Chile, second half of the 20th century. The poor Esteban marries Clara and they get a daughter, Blanca. Esteban works hard and eventually gets money to buy a hacienda, eventually to become a local patriarch. He becomes very conservative and is feared by his workers. When Blanca grows up, she falls in love with a young revolutionary, Pedro, who urges the workers to fight for socialism. It is unavoidable that Pedro and Esteban are pitted against each other. Esteban tries to stop the love affair between Pedro and his daughter by all means possible but soon Blanca becomes pregnant and has a daughter. The void between father and daughter seems unbridgeable when Blanca moves in with Pedro. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality, and for violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

1 April 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La casa de los espíritus  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$6,265,311 (USA)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film cast includes three Oscar winners: Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep, Vanessa Redgrave; and three Oscar nominees: Glenn Close, Winona Ryder, Armin Mueller-Stahl. See more »

Goofs

Alba is eating KFC, but the KFC name/logo wasn't adopted until the 1990s (it was formerly Kentucky Fried Chicken), it's in a basket instead of a box, and the chain wasn't franchised in South America in the 1970s anyway. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Esteban Trueba: It's good to be back.
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Soundtracks

La Cumparsita
Written by Gerardo Matos Rodríguez (as Matos Rodriguez)
Performed by Adalbert Lutter and His Orchestra
Published by G. Ricordi & C.S.P.A., Milano
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User Reviews

 
a great injustice to Allende's novel
17 February 2008 | by (Spain) – See all my reviews

We all know a movie never does complete justice to the book, but this is exceptional. Important characters were cut out, Blanca and Alba were essentially mushed into the same character, most of the subplots and major elements of the main plot were eliminated. Clara's clairvoyance was extremely downplayed, making her seem like a much more shallow character than the one I got to know in the book. In the book we learn more about her powers and the important effects she had on so many people, which in turn was a key element in the life of the family. In the movie she was no more than some special lady. The relationship between Esteban and Pedro Tercero (Tercero-third-, by the way, is the son and thus comes after Segundo-second-) and its connections to that between Esteban and his grandson from Pancha García (not son, who he also did recognize) is chopped in half and its importance downplayed.

One of the most fundamental things about the book that the film is all but stripped of: this is called "The House of the Spirits." Where is the house? The story of 3-4 generations of a family is supposed to revolve around the "big house on the corner," a line stated so many times in the novel. The house in fundamental to the story, but the movie unjustly relegates it to a mere backdrop.

If I hadn't read the book before, I would have never guessed that such a sappy, shallow movie could be based on such a rich and entertaining novel.


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