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What Have I Done to Deserve This? (1984)

¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto? (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 30 March 1985 (USA)
1:29 | Trailer
The vicissitudes of Gloria, a neurotic housewife, and her family's peculiar characters.


Pedro Almodóvar (as Pedro Almodovar)


Pedro Almodóvar (as Pedro Almodovar)
5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Carmen Maura ... Gloria
Luis Hostalot ... Polo
Ryo Hiruma Ryo Hiruma ... Profesor Kendo
Ángel de Andrés López ... Antonio (as Angel de Andres-Lopez)
Gonzalo Suárez Gonzalo Suárez ... Lucas Villalba (as Gonzalo Suarez)
Verónica Forqué ... Cristal
Juan Martínez Juan Martínez ... Toni
Chus Lampreave ... Abuela
Kiti Mánver ... Juani (as Kiti Manver)
Sonia Hohmann ... Vanessa (as Sonia Anabela Holimann)
Cecilia Roth ... Chica anuncio
Diego Caretti Diego Caretti ... Chico anuncio
José Manuel Bello José Manuel Bello ... Colega barrio
Pedro Almodóvar ... Play-Back 'La bien pagá' (as Almodovar-McNamara)
Fabio McNamara ... Play-Back 'La bien pagá' (as Almodovar-McNamara)


In Madrid, the housewife Gloria lives in a tiny apartment with her husband, the taxi driver and forger Antonio; her lunatic mother-in-law, who is addicted in bottled water and cupcakes; and two teenage sons, one of them a drug dealer and the other gay. Gloria works as cleaning lady to raise some money for her dysfunctional family and is addicted in pills; her best friend is her neighbor, the call-girl Cristal. Antonio has a secret passion on a decadent German singer for whom he had worked as driver in Germany. A writer tries to convince Antonio to forge letters from Hitler and travels to Germany to meet the singer to invite her to participate in the scheme. Meanwhile Gloria delivers her gay son to a pervert dentist. Her mother-in-law finds a lizard while walking with her grandson on the street and they call it Dinero (Money) and bring it home. When Gloria has an argument with Antonio, she hits him on the head with a piece of wood, killing him. Now the police detectives investigate the... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





Spanish | German | English | French

Release Date:

30 March 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

What Have I Done to Deserve This? See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Ángela Molina turned down the role of Cristal. See more »


Miguel: [back home after being given in adoption to a pedophiliac dentist] At first it was fun, but I am too young to be tied down.
See more »


Version of Tales of the Unexpected: Lamb to the Slaughter (1979) See more »


Nur nicht aus liebe weinen
Written by 'Theo MacKeben', Hans Fritz Beckmann and Wizner Boheme
Performed by Zarah Leander
See more »

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User Reviews

Offbeat black comedy about an occupied housewife becomes involved with family problems and Hitler's diaries
13 July 2014 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Off-the-wall typical Spanish housewife (Carmen Maura , though Esperanza Roy and Concha Velasco turned down the role) is an lowly maid in Madrid , here she scrapes to get by and help her two useless sons , a young junkie called Javi and a gay boy who sleeps with men , living in a crowded as well as small apartment with her self-reliant grandma (Chus Lampreave) and Antonio (Angel Andres Lopez) , her sadist husband , a Taximan and also a forger who adores an aging German singer named Ingrid Muller (Katia Loritz) he used to chauffeur . One teen son is a druggie and sells dope , the other has rare hobbies and Gloria subsequently has given away in adoption . As her family situation goes from bad to worse , her travails inspire other people and befriends her next door prostitute named Crystal (Veronica Forque , though Angela Molina and Victoria Abril turned down the role , as the latter didn't want to play another whore , having just played one recently) . Gloria works as a maid , cleaning houses for bourgeois families (Gonzalo Suarez , Amparo Soler Leal) and craves a better life . Two alcoholic men cook up a scheme to sell a manuscript as Hitler's memoirs, if the taxi-driver will transcribe it in Hitler's hand . Antonio agrees, so they ask the German singer Muller (Katia Loritz) to play the character of the original owner since her past affinity for Nazi memorabilia makes her a likely candidate .

Agreeable film full of feeling , outlandish characters , haunting mood-pieces , Spanish Neo-realism , fun scenes, strange humor and sense of style but not totally satisfactory , including conventional pitfalls . The picture deals with drama , off-the-wall comedy , absurdities familiar , mad inversions , murder by Hambone and many other things ; featuring a feminist heroine of classical proportions . The picture is pretty well but turns out to be inferior to Almodovar's previous and subsequent entries . The result is undiluted scabrous comedy , profanities , perverted sex with short , sharp images and a crazy strings of plots . It's a piquant look at lower classes involving twists and an intrigue about the forging of Hitler's diaries and keeping a neighbour company during her bonking hour . Nice interpretations by all cast , as Carmen Maura as Gloria , mother of a dysfunctional family in Madrid , she is a cleaning lady , Maura playing very well her various trials and escapades , Angel De Andres Lopez as her surly husband cabby , Chus Lampreave as weird mother-in-law who picks up a pet lizard and keeps bottled water and cupcakes under lock and key . Furthermore , Kiti Manver , Gonzalo Suarez , Emilio Gutierrez Caba , Cecilia Roth , Veronica Forque , Javier Gurruchaga as a sex-crazed dentist and other delightfully played roles .

The motion picture was realized in his traditional style by Pedro Almodovar ; he often uses symbolism and metaphorical techniques to portray circular story lines . Almodovar directs throughout with splendid zip and he usually portrays strong female characters and transsexuals . His first feature film, Pepi, Luci, Bom (1980), was made in 16 mm and blown-up to 35 mm for public release. In 1987, he and his brother Agustín Almodóvar established their own production company: El Deseo, S. A. The "Almodóvar phenomenon" has reached all over the world, making his films very popular in many countries. Pedro subsequently made successes such as Labyrinth of passions , Law of desire , Women Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown , Bad education , All about my mother , Talk to her , Broken embraces , The Skin I Live In and many others .

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