5 user 3 critic

The Devil Is a Woman (1974)

Il sorriso del grande tentatore (original title)
The Mother Superior of a convent wields power in its most vicious forms. And as she as she destroys the people in her care, she herself becomes her own victim as she draws on all her spiritual powers to drive out the tempter.


Damiano Damiani


Damiano Damiani (story), Damiano Damiani (screenplay) | 2 more credits »


Learn more

More Like This 

Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The latest success by film-maker Giacomo Solaris is a crime thriller about a judge who gets too friendly with the Mafia and is murdered. A resentful Sicilian magistrate orders the film ... See full summary »

Director: Damiano Damiani
Stars: Franco Nero, Françoise Fabian, Pierluigi Aprà
The Witch (1966)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A historian goes to a castle library to translate some ancient erotic literature. While there he discovers what he believes to be supernatural forces at work.

Director: Damiano Damiani
Stars: Richard Johnson, Rosanna Schiaffino, Gian Maria Volontè
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

One of the first films about the mafia occurrence, in which the fight is hopeless, because "the polyp's feeler" reaches everything and everybody. A police inspector and a deputy public ... See full summary »

Director: Damiano Damiani
Stars: Franco Nero, Martin Balsam, Marilù Tolo
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Because of a violation of traffic regulations an architect is put in prison. There he witnesses the grim reality of life behind bars: corrupt staff, corrupt inmates, an inhuman judicial system and the power of the Mafia.

Director: Damiano Damiani
Stars: Franco Nero, Riccardo Cucciolla, Georges Wilson
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Mario (Placido), an Italian American who manages a pizzeria in NYC, is charged with an assassination of a judge in Palermo. He leaves the States, comes back to Sicily and recruit Michele, ... See full summary »

Director: Damiano Damiani
Stars: Michele Placido, Mark Chase, Simona Cavallari
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A young girl named Claudia, flirts with two men, and at the same time, she is also having an affair with her step-mother who doles out her inheritance money from her dead father. Is she playing all three of them to get what she wants?

Director: Damiano Damiani
Stars: Catherine Spaak, Jean Sorel, Florinda Bolkan
I Am Afraid (1977)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Journey into the fears of the escort agent Graziano, guilty of knowing too much.

Director: Damiano Damiani
Stars: Gian Maria Volontè, Erland Josephson, Mario Adorf
Crime | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In Mussolini's Rome a murderer is targeting young girls. The movie explores how the fascist mind works, how it plays its values off the sentiment of the masses and explores the role of the press in creating a unified narrative.

Director: Damiano Damiani
Stars: Nino Manfredi, Gabriele Lavia, Guido Leontini
Mafia (1968)
Certificate: M Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Following a murder in a small Sicilian town, the new chief of the Carabinieri must fight corrupt officials, the frightened silence of witnesses and the local Mafia boss in order to solve the case.

Director: Damiano Damiani
Stars: Claudia Cardinale, Franco Nero, Lee J. Cobb
The Maids (1975)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A film version of Genet's play. Two maids, Solange and Claire, hate their employers and, while they are out, take turns at dressing up as Madame and insulting her.

Director: Christopher Miles
Stars: Glenda Jackson, Susannah York, Vivien Merchant
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Based on the story of Franca Viola and Filippo Melodia. In Sicily, as a Mafia boss leaves for prison, he advises Vito, a young man who's his potential successor, to marry a virtuous and ... See full summary »

Director: Damiano Damiani
Stars: Alessio Orano, Ornella Muti, Tano Cimarosa
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The son of a dead Italian nobleman and a wealthy American woman forgets the disappointment of finding he has no talent for being a painter by succumbing to the sexual advances of an amoral model who believes in indiscriminate love affairs.

Director: Damiano Damiani
Stars: Bette Davis, Horst Buchholz, Catherine Spaak


Cast overview, first billed only:
Glenda Jackson ... Sister Geraldine
Claudio Cassinelli ... Rodolfo Solina
Lisa Harrow ... Emilia Contreras
Adolfo Celi ... Father Borelli
Duilio Del Prete ... Monsignor Salvi
Arnoldo Foà ... Monsignor Badensky
Gabriele Lavia ... Prince Ottavio Ranieri d'Aragona
Francisco Rabal ... Bishop Marquez
Rolf Tasna Rolf Tasna ... Monsignor Meitner
Eugenio Bottari Eugenio Bottari ... (as Eugenio Bottai)
Edoardo Canali Edoardo Canali
Edda Ferronao Edda Ferronao ... Kitchen maid
Ely Galleani ... Rodolfo's girlfriend
Margherita Horowitz Margherita Horowitz ... Prince Ottavio's mother
Fabrizio Jovine ... The Doctor


The Mother Superior of a convent wields power in its most vicious forms. And as she as she destroys the people in her care, she herself becomes her own victim as she draws on all her spiritual powers to drive out the tempter.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The forbidden experience. See more »




R | See all certifications »



Italy | UK



Release Date:

24 January 1974 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Devil Is a Woman See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A different twist on the "devil movie"
24 July 2008 | by lazarilloSee all my reviews

I accidentally mistook this for an Italian "Exorcist" rip-off (it has the same alternate title at Alberto De Martino's "Anticristo"). But even though I saw it by mistake, I ended up really liking it. It somewhat resembles "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", but filtered through an Italian Catholic sensibility. Claudio Cassanelli plays a writer who agrees to ghost-write the autobiography of a monsignor who had collaborated with the Nazis during the Holocaust. He moves with the priest to a kind of religious asylum headed by a very controlling Mother Superior (Glenda Jackson, basically playing an ecclesiastical version of "Nurse Ratchet").Also staying at the asylum is a nymphomaniac (Lisa Harrow) who betrayed her husband for her lover, resulting in the former's death, and a man who has fallen in love with his sister. The writer's presence upsets things at the asylum--there is a suicide and several patients leave (one priest even leaves the priesthood). The writer falls in love (or at least strongly in lust) with the nymphomaniac, and the tyrannical Mother Superior comes to believe that he just might be the Devil himself. But a couple more twists at the end make it more than a little ambiguous just who the real "Great Tempter" of the title is. . .

Claudio Cassanelli was one of the most underrated Italian actors. He always comes as a very nice guy, very different from Jack Nicholson who played a similarly disruptive influence in "Cuckoo's Nest". This actually works though in maintaining the deep ambiguity of the story. Glenda Jackson is very good too (she and Cassanelli both dub their own voices). The movie does not shy away from making some strong critiques of the Catholic Church--the monsignor is excommunicated at one point, not because he admittedly collaborated with the Nazis, but because he threatens to expose that his superiors did as well (perhaps, it's implied, even the pope).

The talented director Damiano Damiani later WOULD do a kind of "Exorcist" knock-off with "Amityville Horror 2". While that was definitely a superior horror movie, this much more subtle and subversive exercise is actually quite a bit more effective. This movie does have SOME exploitative elements. Lisa Harrow (an Australian actress who later married Sam Neal) has some memorable nude scenes as the guilt-ridden nymphomaniac. The lovely Ely Galeani is also in this, but unfortunately wasted in a pointless cameo (although she was no doubt glad to be in something of this quality since by that time her career had largely been relegated to softcore porn movies). Perhaps the best thing though is the musical score which would do ANY horror movie proud. Recommended.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 5 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed