Best Movies by Farr
The Executioner Poster
Released Runtime Category
1963 92 Comedy, Foreign Language
Director Language
Luis Garcia Berlanga Spanish
José Isbert, Emma Penella, Nino Manfredi

The Executioner

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What's it About

In Franco’s Spain of the early Sixties, an elderly executioner (Isbert) proudly goes about his work. His daughter Carmen (Penella) has trouble finding a husband because of the stigma attached to her father’s job, but when she meets José (Manfredi) a young undertaker, it’s love (or convenience) at first sight. However, there’s a catch: in order to qualify for a new apartment, José must take over his father-in-law’s profession, despite a deathly aversion to killing.

Why we love it

With rapid-fire dialogue and a breakneck pace, this pitch-black comedy sneaks up on you with a serious message amidst the farce. Skewering the hypocrisy of societal attitudes about sex, the church and the penal system, Berlanga hits a bullseye. Little wonder he won the Fipresci Award at the Venice Film Festival. Manfredi’s fine work as the hapless hero largely carries the film, heralding the likes of Sellers and Benigni. A work of sublime comic pathos, “The Executioner” will slay you.

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BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"