Country: Mexico - Spain
Release Date: May 1961
Genre(s): Drama
Director: Luis Buñuel
Cast: Silvia Pinal, Francisco Rabal, Fernando Rey, Margarita Lozano...
Awards: Cannes Film Festival: Palme d'Or

Our Score
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
User Score:
1 vote


Viridiana - sceneViridiana (Latin for green) is a 1961 Spanish-Mexican motion picture, directed by Luis Buñuel and produced by Mexican Gustavo Alatriste. It is loosely based on Halma, a novel by Benito Pérez Galdós.

Viridiana was the winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1961 Cannes Film Festival, but it was banned in Spain for sixteen years despite having been produced after the Franco government invited Buñuel to return to Spain.


Viridiana, a young novice about to take her final vows as a nun, accedes to a request from her widowed uncle to visit him. Moved purely by a sense of obligation, she does so. Her uncle is moved by her resemblance to his late wife and attempts to seduce Viridiana. In the aftermath, Viridiana tries to alleviate her guilt by creating a haven for the destitute folk who live around her uncle’s estate. But from these good intentions, too, comes little good.


Data Sheet

Directed by: Luis Buñuel
Produced by: Gustavo Alatriste
Written by: Julio Alejandro and Luis Buñuel
Cast: Silvia Pinal, Francisco Rabal, Fernando Rey, Margarita Lozano…
Release date: May 1961 (premiere at Cannes)
Running time: 90 min.
Country: Mexico – Spain
Language: Spanish



Cannes Film Festival

Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
1961 Won Palme d’Or Luis Buñuel
Tied with Une aussi longue absence (1961).

Cannes Film Festival: Palme d’Or

Amazon’s Reviews

While its so-called “blasphemies” have been tamed by the passage of time, Luis Buñuel’s Viridiana remains a masterpiece for the ages. After 22 years in Mexico and the United States, Buñuel returned to his native Spain in 1961 with dictator Franco’s permission to make any film he wanted, pending the approval of censors. Inspired by a minor saint named Viridiana and an erotic fantasy about making love to the Queen of Spain after drugging her, Buñuel proceeded to combine these elements into a characteristically provocative scenario about Viridiana (Silvia Pinal), a young woman about to become a nun, who leaves her convent to visit the decaying estate of her uncle, Don Jaime (Fernando Rey), an eccentric widower who’s immediately taken with Viridiana’s close resemblance to his dead wife. Jaime’s aborted attempt to seduce Viridiana (and his subsequent suicide) sets the film’s second half in motion, as Viridiana assuages her guilt by turning Don Jaime’s estate into a haven for the dispossessed–quite literally a “beggar’s banquet” that culminates in one of the most indelible images in all of Buñuel: a staged recreation of da Vinci’s “The Last Supper,” with a cast of itinerant peasants as “disciples” in Buñuel’s new world order–a cutting response to backward notions of progress.

Like any great film, Viridiana reveals its depth and detail through multiple viewings. The film is scathingly critical of Catholic hypocrisy and Franco’s Spain (Don Jaime’s estate is a direct reflection of the country’s moribund state of sociopolitical decay), and its allegorical content was not lost on Spanish authorities, who banned the film (it wasn’t shown in Spain until 1977) after it won the coveted Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. In a closing stroke of genius, Buñuel skirted around his censors with a final scene even more provocative (in its subtle implications) than the sexually suggestive ending he’d originally filmed. With much to say about the conflicting nature of human desires, Viridiana may have softened over decades, but it’s never lost its ability to spark debate, discussion, and rewarding analysis of Buñuel’s directorial vision. –Jeff Shannon

Amazon’s Customers Reviews

Bunuel dares you to laugh. By darragh o’donoghue
‘Viridiana’ begins like a mad Spanish variant on Roger Corman’s Poe adaptations. Don Jaime is the Vincent Price-like mad widower (his wife died of heart-attack on their wedding night), haunting his crumbling manor, neglecting his decaying lands, mournfully playing an old piano or listening to Bach and Handel records. At night, by a coffin in which is draped his bride’s wedding dress, he wears her shoes and corset. In his past is a shameful story of youthful transgression, and an abandoned, illegitimate son. He invites his niece, Viridana, a dead ringer for his wife, to stay with him for the few days before she takes holy orders. In a fantastic ritual, he asks her to wear the wedding dress and proposes marriage; when she refuses, he drugs her, with the aid of his devoted servant – to whose daughter he gives the skipping rope that takes on an importance from the merely symbolic into the fetishistic and violent – and takes the niece to the bedroom for a necrophiliac rape. Prior to this, he had caught her in one of her sleepwalking trances, throwing her knitting into the fire, and pouring ashes on her uncle’s bed. Pure Poe.

Poe was one of the acknowledged precursors of the Surrealists, and in ‘Viridiana’, Bunuel makes use of two Gothic tropes – the Gothic house/castle/manor is often a figure for the disintegrating mind, but also a metaphor for the nation: Don Jaime’s madness, his gentility masking a dangerous egotism, his passion perversely and inwardly directed so that it feeds on itself, his neglect of the land, are all tenets of Franco’s Spain, a pinched, gnarled, sterile world in this film.

The Gothic was also the genre in which society could dramatise those anxieties – death, sexual deviance, social disruption – not talked aobut in the middle class public sphere. Gothic novels often featured representative, hyper-virtuous heroines who had to negotiate evils such a society would cast out. Such a reading applies to ‘Viridiana’ also, with the title character, who has spent most of her life closed off from the world, hidden from its temptations, confronted with unpalatable distortions of desire, family, the body, community, class etc.

In ‘Viridiana’, however, Bunuel conflates these two movements – the Gothic as social allegory, and as site of released repressions. The film’s infamous second half – in which Viridiana attempts to atone for a suicide by caring for beggars and outcasts, and her uncle’s son’s attempts to modernise the home – savagely mixes them up. The beggars, embodying a whole antheap of qualities, desires, realities the Spanish ruling class and bourgeoisie everywhere suppress, take over the mansion, mishandle its possessions, parody its civilising artefacts (food, music, painting, sculpture), a destructive Bacchic frenzy contemptuous of viewers – we may cheer when the meek inherit the earth, but a greater pack of brutal thugs, informing sneaks, loathesome lepers or frothing rapists you’ll never see; while Don Jaime, for all his monstrosity, has a quiet grace absent from the other characters. His servants assume their own thuggish hierarchy when faced with the amoral vagrants, asserting their perceived superiority. The celestial Viridiana’s initiation into the ‘earthy’ is not something anyone, whatever their politics, can buy.

It is wholly characteristic that Bunuel should couch this moral dynamite in one of his most visually beautiful films – the recurring Bunuel motifs (feet, ropes etc.; religious paraphernalia as bondage gear); the dense compositions, at once framing characters in their environment and mocking them; and the startling zooms out, from intimate close-ups on parts of the body to the shocking realisation that someone is always watching.

Hypocrisy exposed By David Drori Dr
This is one of the best pictures I have seen in my short life of 75 years. The plot is economical and excellent. The direction of Bunuel is outstanding (hardly news that). The plot exposes the hypocrisy of the devout, the fallibilty of human nature, the hopelessness of poverty and the uselessness of instictive philantropy. It would be difficult to make a better picture on the subject. I have seen it many times and I would see it again and again. Bunuel had to smuggle it out of Spain while Franco was ruling it but Franco loved it too… He would watch it in private…

Viridiana, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating


Viridiana - thumb
Viridiana - scene
Viridiana - scene
Viridiana - scene
Viridiana - scene
Viridiana - scene
Viridiana - scene
Viridiana - scene
Viridiana - scene
Viridiana - scene


Viridiana Play
Viridiana (Latin for green) is a 1961 Spanish-Mexican motion picture, directed by Luis Buñuel and produced by Mexican Gustavo Alatriste. It is loosely based on Halma, a novel by Benito Pérez Galdós. Viridiana was the winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1961 Cannes Film Festival, but it was...
Posted 07 Jun 2011

Direct download: Part 1

Posted by  IberoAmericanMovies
Categories: Cannes Festival, Images, Mexican movies, Mexico, Spain, Spanish movies, Synopsis, Trailers


  1. [...] de Luis García Berlanga, 1953 (España)Pantaleón y las visitadoras de Francisco Lombardi, (Perú)Viridiana de Luis Buñuel, 1961 (España)Amores perros de Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2000 (México)Suite [...]

  2. [...] Buñuel back to his native country – and Bunuel promptly bit the hand that fed him by making Viridiana (1961), which was banned in Spain on the grounds of blasphemy, though it won the Palme d’Or [...]

Leave a Reply