The Holy Innocents (film)

Los santos inocentes or The Holy Innocents is a Spanish drama film directed by Mario Camus, based on famous Miguel Delibes' novel of the same title. The movie stars Alfredo Landa and Francisco Rabal, who both won the Best Actor Award at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival.[2] The film was the highest-grossing Spanish film in Spain at the time[3] before being surpassed by La vaquilla.[1]

Los santos inocentes
The Holy Innocents
Directed byMario Camus
Produced byJulián Mateos
Written byAntonio Larreta
Manuel Matji
Mario Camus
StarringAlfredo Landa
Francisco Rabal
Terele Pávez
Belén Ballesteros
Juan Sánchez
Agata Lys
Agustín González
Juan Diego
Mary Carrillo
Maribel Martín
Music byAntón García Abril
CinematographyHans Burman
Release date
  • 4 April 1984 (1984-04-04) (Spain)
  • 2 June 1985 (1985-06-02) (U.S.)
Running time
105 minutes
Box office523,904,385 pesetas[1]

In the 1984 edition of the Cannes Film Festival it was nominated for the Palme d'Or and won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury Special Mention. Francisco Rabal and Alfredo Landa shared the Best Actor award at the same festival. It was voted the third best Spanish film by professionals and critics in 1996 Spanish cinema centenary.


Paco and Régula live on a rural estate owned by an absent marchioness with their three children. Nieves works as a maid in the big house, Quirce is doing his military service, and Charito is severely handicapped. The parents accept the repeated humiliations of their position as dependents at the whim of the owners and the estate manager, but Nieves and Quirce aim for a better life. The family is joined by Régula's mentally retarded brother Azarías, sacked from another estate, who loves birds. The owner's son Ivan often comes back to the estate for two reasons: he is conducting an affair with the manager's bored wife Pura and he is fanatical about shooting birds. Paco, who he forces up a tree to decoy pigeons, falls and breaks a leg. Then he tries using the simple Azarías and, in a fit of pique, shoots the man's pet jackdaw. Next time Azarías is sent up a tree to work decoys, he drops a noose round Ivan's neck and hangs him. Mentally a child, he is shut up in a secure asylum.


About the filmEdit

The distinctive landscapes are of the empty region of Extremadura, around the towns of Alburquerque and Zafra. Its distinctive soundtrack is played wholly on a three-stringed rabel, a folk instrument dating back to medieval times.


  1. ^ a b "Las mujeres de Almodóvar primer puesto de recaudación de la historia" (PDF). Diario ABC (in Spanish). 5 May 1991. p. 102. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Los santos inocentes". Retrieved 2009-06-23.
  3. ^ "Spain's All-Time Top Grossing Pics". Variety. May 7, 1986. p. 379.

External linksEdit