Box art for Goya's Ghosts

Goya's Ghosts


Academy Award® nominees Natalie Portman and Javier Bardem star in two-time Academy Award® winning director Milos Forman¿s thrilling new romantic drama!

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
0 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Intense historical epic is for adults only.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that teens may be interested because Natalie Portman stars, but that the film is too intense for tweens and younger teens. It's loosely based on a particularly violent period of history, perceived by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya. Images of torture (woman hangs naked from the ceiling by her wrists behind her back: very painful looking), rape, emaciated prisoners, riots in the street, soldiers on horseback assaulting crowds, underclass attacking a wealthy man who tries to escape; occasional talk of hanging, decapitation, prostitution, and torture.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the ways that history is portrayed in fictional movies: How does this movie use Goya's ideas (as well as his paintings and other artwork) to shape its own story of the corruption of the time? You might look at some of Goya's famous "Black Paintings" to see how they compare to images in the film. You can also discuss the idea that art can be used to protest social and political injustice, as Goya tried to use his art. Or you can talk about how the film shows his fight against intolerance.

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 27
    see all Goya's Ghosts reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews


- Brett Michel, Boston Phoenix, Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rotten: A punishing misfire.

- Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle, Friday, August 3, 2007


- Cliff Doerksen, Time Out, Thursday, November 17, 2011

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Film about the life of famed Spanish artist Francisco Goya, Goya's Ghost is a sweeping drama directed by masterful director Milos Forman. I feel that this is a phenomenal period piece. Goya's Ghost has a phenomenal cast and is one impressive historical drama. Not since Forman's film Amadeus has a film of this caliber looked this impressive. Goya's Ghost is set during the Spanish inquisition and shows the harsh period for what it is. Forman's film paints an impressive picture of a gifted artist. The cast that Milos Forman assembles here is an in impressive bunch of talented individuals. They truly bring this film up a notch. Goya's Ghosts is not a perfect film, but there's a lot to appreciate from this film. The story is well crafted, engaging and above all, entertaining. However, there were a few moments that just didn't cut it. For example Natalie Portman at times was overdoing her role, and she turned a rather great performance into a good one. Stellan Skaarsgard is of course, the best role here as Francisco Goya. He truly brought something unique to the screen. This is a near flawless picture that has wonderful performances and a very engaging story. A truly well made film that is almost perfect, Goya's Ghosts brings back elements of Forman previous period piece Amadeus, only this around he focuses on a unique painter.

- TheDudeLebowski65, Tuesday, August 9, 2011

3 stars

An interviewer asked Milos Forman why this wasn't filmed in Spanish. He answered: "Because I can't speak Spanish." I now officially love Milos Forman.

- jennifxu, Monday, November 26, 2007

3 stars

size=3]"Goya's Ghosts" is a remarkable film by legendary filmmaker b]Milos Forman/b]. It examines Spain in the terribly turbulent time of the French Revolution: a/size]size=3]n epoch so much more violent and profound than the vast majority of Americans realize./size] img]] size=3]Kudos to Forman for bringing to the screen a glimpse of this colossal, two-decades-long upheaval. He only scratches the surface, but that's better than nothing. (It amazes me that the French Revolution remains virtually unexplored territory in cinema. It's an absolute gold mine for those interested in drama.)/size] size=3]"Goya's Ghosts" is not a great film, but it has moments of greatness, especially in the first hour. Forman's directorial choices in the second half were dubious. From my perspective, this is when the film runs aground. /size]size=3]But the first half towers over the vast majority of what we've seen on the screen this year./size] img]] size=3]The first half of the film is carried by an exquisite performance by b]Javier Bardem/b], who is headed for worldwide stardom. He plays a monk whose evil knows no bounds. Despite what the title might suggest, the film is not about the painter Francisco Goya. The film is about the Bardem character. He starts out as a monk leading a revival of the Inquisition, but then changes his spots to become a loathsome revolutionary despot./size] size=3]b]Stellan Skarsgaard/b] (as Goya) and b]Natalie Portman/b], who is in my mind one of the top five movie actresses of her generation (her performance in the masterpiece "Closer" will be studied for decades I am sure) offer strong support, but the film belongs to Bardem. The film really isn't about any particular character; it's about the terrifying socio-political cross-currents that everyone in that time had to navigate. There was no escaping it -- that is one of the major points in the film. Living in a revolutionary time has its consequences./size] img]] size=3]The plot hinges on the way that Portman's character is victimized by the currents of the time. But the film cares more about how other characters deal with that victimization. /size] size=3]Portman plays an upper-class girl who is mistaken for a "Judaizer," someone who is outwardly Christian but who practices Judaic rituals in private and has Judaic sympathies. The reason the Inquisitors come to suspect her is so hilarious that I won't spoil it by giving it away. Suffice it to say, this girl ends up getting caught in the grips of the last conservative gasp of the ancien regime before the upheaval that washes it away in a tidal wave of blood in the French Revolution./size] img]] size=3]What was most interesting to me was watching her family, especially her father, navigate these terribly violent waters and do his best to get his daughter released. The power struggle he initiates is absolutely fascinating to watch. It's a real lesson in how terrifying the 18th century must have been for those living through it./size] size=3]But just when we thought the film was going to be about the power struggles of the Inquisition, the French Revolution spills over the Pyrenees into Spain, and the film becomes much more complicated./size] size=3]But to my absolute chagrin, the film gets cartoonish as it goes on. After the French Revolution succeeds in establishing some sort of stable social regime in Spain, the British arrive to overthrow things yet again. (Napoleon, who emerged out of the chaos of the French Revolution, was defeated by the British in 1815.) The reimposition of conservative power after Napoleon's defeat, including a re-establishment of the Catholic Church's power in Spain, is played almost for laughs. I had a real tough time understanding what was funny about this new round of socio-political upheaval and violence./size] size=3]The film almost ends campy, after starting in a way that was stark, stoical and brilliant. It's almost weird, as if two different directors handled the film. The first half is very much worth seeing; the second half, not so much./size]

- dunmyer, Saturday, July 28, 2007