The Devil’s Backbone The Devil’s Backbone

The Devil’s Backbone

Guillermo del Toro

The Devil’s Backbone (Criterion Blu-Ray)


1 Disc

SRP: $39.95

Criterion Store price:$31.96

  • Spain, Mexico
  • 2001
  • 108 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.85:1
  • Spanish
  • Spine #666

One of the most personal films by Guillermo del Toro, The Devil’s Backbone is also among his most frightening and emotionally layered. Set during the final week of the Spanish Civil War, it tells the tale of a twelve-year-old boy who, after his freedom-fighting father is killed, is sent to a haunted rural orphanage full of terrible secrets. Del Toro expertly combines gothic ghost story, murder mystery, and historical melodrama in a stylish mélange that, like his later Pan’s Labyrinth, reminds us the scariest monsters are often the human ones.


DirectorGuillermo del Toro
Executive producersAgustín Almodóvar and Bertha Navarro
ProducerPedro Almodóvar
Director of productionEsther García
Director of photographyGuillermo Navarro
CoproducerRosa Bosch
Associate producerMichel Ruben
Written byGuillermo del Toro, Antonio Trashorras and David Muñoz
MusicJavier Navarrete
Art directorCésar Macarrón
EditorLuis de la Madrid
Camera operatorJoaquín Manchado
CastingSara Bilbatua
SoundMiguel Rejas
Sound designSalvador Mayolas
Special mechanical effectsReyes Abades
Special makeup effectsDDT
Special makeup effects supervisorsDavid Martí and Montse Ribé
Special digital effectsTelson
MakeupJorge Hernández
HairdresserFermín Galán
CostumesJosé Vico

Disc Features


  • New, restored 2K digital film transfer, supervised by director Guillermo del Toro and director of photography Guillermo Navarro, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary featuring Del Toro
  • Video introduction by Del Toro from 2010
  • New and archival interviews with Del Toro about the creation of his film
  • ¿Que es un fantasma?, a 2004 making-of documentary
  • Interactive director’s notebook
  • Four deleted scenes, with commentary by del Toro
  • New interview with scholar Sebastiaan Faber
    about the film’s depiction of the Spanish Civil War
  • Program comparing Del Toro’s thumbnail sketches and Carlos Giménez’s storyboards with the final film
  • Selected on-screen presentation of Del Toro’s thumbnail sketches (Blu-ray edition only)
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation by del Toro
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Mark Kermode

Film Essays


The Devil’s Backbone: The Past Is Never Dead . . .

By Mark Kermode July 30, 2013

Guillermo del Toro’s ghostly fable beautifully reflects the director’s fascination with the personal and the political. Read more »



On the Channel: Adventures in Moviegoing with Guillermo del Toro

May 25, 2017

In visually daring phantasmagorias like Cronos, The Devil’s Backbone, and Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro transfixes audiences with a unique brand of gothic storytelling that interweaves the . . . Read more »



Did You See This?

October 28, 2016

Just in time for Halloween, the travel blog Atlas Obscura has put together a map of creepy movie locations across America, including the Pennsylvania theater featured in The Blob and the . . . Read more »

Criterion Designs


Designing for del Toro

By Eric Skillman October 26, 2016

Guillermo del Toro has worked with an incredibly deep bench of talented visual effects artists, production designers, storyboard artists, and creature designers over the years, and of course his . . . Read more »



Did You See This?

October 21, 2016

The 2016 Gotham Award nominations were announced yesterday, and we were proud to see Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson, a Janus Films release, in contention for best documentary. Writing on Claude . . . Read more »



Guillermo del Toro’s Influences

October 19, 2016

For over two decades, Mexican director Guillermo del Toro has cast a spell on audiences with his visually audacious fables, which blend supernatural visions with deeply personal insights on . . . Read more »

Photo Galleries

Big Screen


The Inspiring Work of the Ghetto Film School

May 25, 2016

For the past ten years, we’ve been proudly welcoming the students of Ghetto Film School—a Bronx-based program dedicated to educating and inspiring a new generation of artists and storytellers— . . . Read more »

Three Reasons

Film Essays


The Devil’s Backbone: The Past Is Never Dead . . .

By Mark Kermode July 30, 2013

Guillermo del Toro’s ghostly fable beautifully reflects the director’s fascination with the personal and the political. Read more »



Films to See

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Updated 02/16/2018



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Updated 02/14/2018

Leon H.

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Jose Manuel Lopez

Updated 02/14/2018


Christopher Hunter

Updated 02/18/2018



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Ryan S.

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