The Devil's Backbone (Spanish: El espinazo del diablo) is a 2001 gothic horror film directed by Guillermo del Toro, and written by del Toro, David Muñoz, and Antonio Trashorras. It was independently produced by Pedro Almodóvar, and filmed in Madrid.
The film is set in Spain, 1939, during the final year of the Spanish Civil War. Del Toro considers it his most personal film. The film was released to very positive reviews from critics and audiences.
Casares (Federico Luppi) and Carmen (Marisa Paredes) operate a small home for orphans in a remote part of Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Helping the couple mind the orphanage are Jacinto (Eduardo Noriega), the groundskeeper, and Conchita (Irene Visedo), a teacher who is also involved with Jacinto. Casares and Carmen are aligned with the Republican loyalists, and are hiding a large cache of gold that is used to back the Republican treasury; perhaps not coincidentally, the orphanage has also been subject to attacks from Franco's troops, and a defused bomb sits in the home's courtyard. One day, a boy named Carlos (Fernando Tielve) arrives at the home with two republicans, they both ask Cesares and Carmen to take him in because his father died fighting the fascists. Casares and Carmen take him in, and the boy soon strikes up an unlikely friendship with Jaime (Íñigo Garcés), a boy with a reputation for tormenting other kids. But Carlos soon begins having visions of a mysterious apparition he can't identify, and hears strange stories about a child named Santi who went missing the day the bomb appeared near the orphanage.