Los Años bárbaros (1998) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The story is set in Franco-era Spain, circa 1948, and begins with the arrests of two philosophy students for writing anti-fascist graffiti on the walls of their university in Madrid. For this ostensibly minor offense, they are sentenced to the extreme punishment of eight years in a hard labor camp.

They are soon sprung by a resistance group aided by two North American women posing as tourists. The American girls and the two fugitives set off in a red windowless convertible on a long journey toward the French border, encountering various soldiers along the way, some of whom are brutal and threatening, others comically inept, but all representing the threat of capture and a return to the labor camp for the student fugitives. Along the way, the heroic foursome also encounters some colorful local characters and engages in some interesting cultural and romantic exchanges.

According to the film, the story is true and the words painted by the two students can still be seen on the university walls today.

I seem to find myself charmed by every Spanish film, and this one is no exception. I am especially impressed by how deftly and transparently it manages to weave suspense, politics, romance, and humor without allowing any of those elements to step on the others.



  • No important features
  • Widescreen (European 1.66) - letterboxed



Hedy Burress shows her breasts at medium distance and the rest of her body at a long distance from the camera.

Allison Smith does a full frontal scene close to the camera, and flashes her backside at long distance.

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The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a C+ - a warm, charming reminiscence skillfully blended with a political thriller. 

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