Pan's Labyrinth - poster

Pan’s Labyrinth

Country: Mexico - Spain
Release Date: October 11, 2006
Genre(s): Fantasy / Drama
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Ivana Baquero, Doug Jones, Sergi López, Maribel Verdú, Ariadna Gil, Álex Angulo …
Awards: Ariel Awards: Best Picture; BAFTA Awards: Best Foreign Language Film; Fantasporto: Best Film; National Society of Film Critics: Best Picture...

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Pan’s Labyrinth

Pan's Labyrinth - scenePan’s Labyrinth (Spanish: El laberinto del fauno, “The Faun’s Labyrinth”) is a 2006 Spanish-language fantasy film, written and directed by Mexican film-maker Guillermo del Toro. It was produced and distributed by the Mexican film company Esperanto Films. The film was selected by the Academia Mexicana de Artes y Ciencias Cinematográficas (English: Mexican Academy of Film Arts and Sciences) to represent the country in the Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film.

Pan’s Labyrinth has won numerous international awards, including three Academy Awards, the Ariel Award for Best Picture and the 2007 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. The movie was filmed in a Scots Pine forest situated in the Guadarrama mountain range, Central Spain.


Pan’s Labyrinth takes place in Spain in May–June 1944, five years after the Spanish Civil War, during the early Franquist period. The narrative of the film interweaves this real world with a fantasy world centred around an overgrown abandoned labyrinth and a mysterious faun creature, with which the main character, Ofelia, interacts. Ofelia’s stepfather, the Falangist Captain Vidal, hunts the Spanish Maquis who fight against the Fascist reign in the region, while Ofelia’s pregnant mother grows increasingly ill. Ofelia meets several strange and magical creatures who become central to her story, leading her through the trials of the old labyrinth garden. The film employs make-up, animatronics and CGI effects to bring to life its creatures.

Del Toro stated that he considers the story to be a parable, influenced by fairy tales, and that it addresses and continues themes related to his earlier film The Devil’s Backbone (2001), to which Pan’s Labyrinth is a spiritual successor. The original Spanish title refers to the mythological fauns of Roman mythology, while the English, German, and French titles refers specifically to the faun-like Greek character Pan. However, del Toro has stated that the faun in the film is not Pan.


  • Academy Awards: Best Art Direction: Eugenio Caballero and Pilar Revuelta; Best Cinematography: Guillermo Navarro; Best Makeup: David Martí and Montse Ribé
  • Ariel Awards: Best Picture; Best Director: Guillermo del Toro; Best Actress: Maribel Verdú; Best Art Direction: Eugenio Caballero and Pilar Revuelta; Best Cinematography: Guillermo Navarro; Best Costume Design: Lala Huete; Best Make-Up: José Quetglas and Nieves Sánchez; Best Original Score: Javier Navarrete; Best Special Effects: David Martí, Reyes Abades and Montse Ribé.
  • BAFTA Awards: Best Foreign Language Film; Best Costume Design: Lala Huete and Rocío Redondo; Best Makeup & Hair: José Quetglas and Blanca Sánchez
  • Constellation Awards: Best Science Fiction Film
  • Fantasporto: Best Film
  • Goya Awards: Best Original Screenplay: Guillermo del Toro; Best Cinematography: Guillermo Navarro; Best Editing: Bernat Vilaplana; Best Makeup and Hair: José Quetglas and Blanca Sánchez ; Best New Actress: Ivana Baquero; Best Sound: Miguel Polo and Martín Hernández; Best Special Effects: David Martí, Reyes Abades and Montse Ribé.
  • National Society of Film Critics: Best Picture
  • Saturn Awards: Best International Film; Best Performance by a Young Actor (Ivana Baquero);
  • Spacey Awards: Space Choice Awards

Data Sheet

Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Produced by: Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón, Bertha Navarro,  Frida Torresblanco and Alvaro Augustin
Written by: Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Ivana Baquero, Doug Jones, Sergi López, Maribel Verdú, Ariadna Gil, Álex Angulo …
Music by: Javier Navarrete
Cinematography: Guillermo Navarro
Release date: October 11, 2006
Running time: 112 minutes
Country: Mexico and Spain
Language: Spanish

Amazon’s review

Inspired by the Brothers Grimm, Jorge Luis Borges, and Guillermo del Toro’s own unlimited imagination, Pan’s Labyrinth is a fairytale for adults. Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) may only be 12, but the worlds she inhabits, both above and below ground, are dark as anything del Toro has conjured. Set in rural Spain, circa 1944, Ofelia and her widowed mother, Carmen (Ariadna Gil, Belle Epoque), have just moved into an abandoned mill with Carmen’s new husband, Captain Vidal (Sergi López, With a Friend like Harry). Carmen is pregnant with his son. Other than her sickly mother and kindly housekeeper Mercedes (Maribel Verdú, Y Tu Mamá También), the dreamy Ofelia is on her own. Vidal, an exceedingly cruel man, couldn’t be bothered. He has informers to torture. Ofelia soon finds that an entire universe exists below the mill. Her guide is the persuasive Faun (Doug Jones, Mimic). As her mother grows weaker, Ofelia spends more and more time in the satyr’s labyrinth. He offers to help her out of her predicament if she’ll complete three treacherous tasks. Ofelia is willing to try, but does this alternate reality really exist or is it all in her head? Del Toro leaves that up to the viewer to decide in a beautiful, yet brutal twin to The Devil’s Backbone, which was also haunted by the ghost of Franco. Though it lacks the humor of Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth represents Guillermo Del Toro at the top of his considerable game. –Kathleen C. Fennessy

Amazon’s Customers Reviews

This is the way fairy tales used to be — before they got bleached, pressed, and de-linted by half-wits trying to protect tender ears. Before they got Disney-fied. Sure, there’s violence here, some of it shocking, but none of it gratuitous. Could it give a kid nightmares? Maybe. But given today’s pablum stories, maybe it’s about time.

Pan’s Labyrinth takes us directly into the subconscious, and into the storyforms that infuse all of the great myths, fairy tales, and religions. It’s a rich and satisfying stew of symbolism, mystery, and redemption. Multilayered and inspiring, it’s a film you’ll want to see again. It’s hard not to gush, but it’s been so long since a movie this good has made it into the quasi-mainstream.

What makes Pan’s Labyrinth most effective is it’s juxtaposition of harsh “reality” and the mysterious world that lives side by side with it. The heroine, a young girl who may carry a magical seed of immortality (the soul of god’s only child who once ventured into the world of men, suffered, and died long ago), is contacted by shapeshifting fairies who lead her to a faun (much like the mythological Pan) who says she may reclaim her throne and escape the mortal world by performing three tasks. The faun in Pan’s Labyrinth is every bit as complex as the mythological Pan, a creature perhaps older than the gods themselves. There’s something sly, and perhaps even sexual about this elegant and almost alien faun, as he represents the forces at play inside this sensitive young girl. In fact, like every good fairy tale, all of the strange, wondrous, and chilling creatures represent facets of the subconscious, including baby-eating ghouls, flitting fairies, and gluttonous toads.

Pan’s Labyrinth is a commentary on the resiliency and power of the human imagination, and takes us to the place where dreams are spun and the great heroic tale of overcoming (of the self and the world) takes root. That spark of the divine in all of us — or at least the hope of it — powers the great story of our lives, and we need tales like this to remind of us of the magic and transformative power of story telling. In the flickering light of the theater, like some great hearth around which we’ve gathered, Pan’s Labyrinth took me back to my childhood, and made me think of so many of the great stories I’d read over the years — of demonic dogs with saucer-sized eyes, of child-stealing trolls, and evil stepmothers. And, finally, of the champions who venture down into those great cracks in the Earth, where the roots of mythic trees twist and wind and the greatest treasure of all can be found: the noble, heroic, and undying spirit that lies within us.

A Haunting and Beautifully Crafted Film
First of all, this film is not suitable for children. It is intended to be an adult fairytale with a young girl as its protagonist. Everyone I know who have viewed this film has loved it, including my 75 year old father, who is not really into foreign films or art films.

The is not suitable for children for a few scenes of torture and violence. While difficult to watch, it serves to create a sense of real peril, ugliness, cruelty and evil that propels our protagonist to seek comfort in another world of grotesque beauty. She is a young girl in the midst of a brutal civil war where both sides reside under her roof, and the only reason she is safe is because her mother is pregnant by a fascist general. There is a sense that this safety is precarious and could evaporate quickly due to circumstances beyond her control.

The protagonists other world is sparked by a discovery of an old labyrinth by the old house where the general holds his position and has a doctor see to the pregnant mother’s ailing health.

This other world that is created is amazingly done and is beautiful in its grotesquely Gothic way. The original score is perfect for the film with its haunting humming lullaby. The young girl is perfect young heroine that is flawed but lovable. You want her to fulfill her destiny and escape to her throne in a magical place. The rest of the cast are amazing showing the full range of humanity in a time of war from immense cruelty to amazing courage and compassion. The film itself has a great sense of pacing, almost poetic writing, and is able to keep up the feeling of suspense.

The movie is sad, beautiful, cruel, agonizing, and has kept haunting me. The film made me cry and at times took my breath away. It made me feel great to see such a well-made movie in the era of over hyped corporate films. This had the craftsmanship of an expert watchmaker.

The lullaby still lingers in my mind.

Into the labyrinth
If anyone wants to know where the dark, creepy fairy tales of old went, here’s a hint: Guillermo del Toro is doing a pretty good job with the fairy tales for adults.

“Pan’s Labyrinth” (“El Laberinto del Fauno”) is a sequel of sorts to “The Devil’s Backbone,” a magical realism film about the Spanish Civil War. But this movie takes us deeper into a world that is half real, half ominous fairy tale, with a unique and imaginative story and some really excellent acting — in short, a triumph.

Time and place: 1944, Spain. Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and her very pregnant mother travel to meet her new stepfather, the brutal and murderous Captain Vidal (Sergi López). Ofelia loathes her new stepfather, but is transfixed by the eerie forests around them — and one night she is visited by a fairy, and encounters a giant faun who tells her that she is Princess Moanna of the netherworld, and must return there.

To do so, he tells her that she must do three things, and gives her a strange book. Ofelia menages first task, but is frightened out of her wits by the second task, which involves a hideous monster with eyes in its hands. Even worse, her mother’s pregnancy is getting more dangerous. As the guerillas and the fascists clash, Ofelia faces being trapped outside the netherworld forever… and being offered a terrible choice if she wants to get in.

Fairy tales have become cleaned-up and cutesy over time, so that children can read them without nightmares. But del Toro knows that the best fairy tales are the eerie, bizarre ones for adults, that are connected somehow to the real world. That is what makes “Pan’s Labyrinth” so brilliantly dark and heartfelt.

Del Toro obviously crafted this with care, directing it in a dreamlike style and brilliant visuals. The eerie atmosphere of Ofelia’s wanderings — the delicate yet menacing faun, the chalk doors, the monuments, and the pasty nightmare with eyes in its palms — is both a contrast and a parallel with the everyday world, which Ofelia hopes to escape.

At first, it seems like the post-Civil War and fairy tale stories don’t mesh, until you see that the “real world” story is Ofelia’s motivation to escape from all the fear, pain and sorrow. But Del Toro’s biggest triumph is an ending that is beautifully bittersweet, and which turns out to hinge on Ofelia’s newborn brother.

But del Toro’s biggest triumph is in the instant connection we feel to Ofelia, with her love of the fantastical and her desire to go somewhere “safe.” Baquero is absolutely wonderful in this, as a girl who isn’t entirely of this world — in her heart, she belongs somewhere beyond. And López is the ideal villain — you spend the whole movie wanting to see him gruesomely killed.

Half “Mirrormask” and half gritty war story, “Pan’s Labyrinth” is one of the best fantasy stories in years — dark, passionate and beautifully made. Definitely a great movie.

Pan's Labyrinth, 9.5 out of 10 based on 6 ratings


Pan's Labyrinth - poster
Pan's Labyrinth - poster
El Laberinto del Fauno
Pan's Labyrinth - french poster
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Pan's Labyrinth - scene
Pan's Labyrinth - scene
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Pan’s Labyrinth
Pan’s Labyrinth (Spanish: El laberinto del fauno, “The Faun’s Labyrinth”) is a 2006 Spanish-language fantasy film, written and directed by Mexican film-maker Guillermo del Toro. It was produced and distributed by the Mexican film company Esperanto Films. The film was selected by the Academia Mexicana de Artes y Ciencias...
Posted 22 Feb 2011

Direct download: Part 1

Posted by  IberoAmericanMovies
Categories: BAFTA, Goya, Images, Mexican movies, Mexico, Oscar, Spain, Spanish movies, Synopsis, Trailers


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