The Cow (film)

This article is about the 1969 Iranian film. For other films of this or similar names, see Cow (disambiguation) § Film and television.
The Cow

DVD cover
Directed by Dariush Mehrjui
Produced by Dariush Mehrjui
Written by Dariush Mehrjui
Gholam Hossein Saedi
Starring Ezzatolah Entezami
Firouz Behjat-Mohamadi
Mahmoud Dowlatabadi
Parviz Fannizadeh
Jamshid Mashayekhi
Ali Nassirian
Ezatallah Ramezanifar
Esmat Safavi
Jafar Vali
Music by Hormoz Farhat
Cinematography Fereydon Ghovanlou
Release dates
  • 1969 (1969)
Running time
100 minutes
Country Iran
Language Persian

The Cow (Persian: گاو, Gāv or Gav) is a 1969 Iranian film directed by Dariush Mehrjui, written by Gholam-Hossein Saedi based on his own play and novel, and starring Ezzatolah Entezami as Masht Hassan. Critics widely consider it the first film of the Iranian New Wave.[1][2]


The story begins by showcasing the close relationship between a middle-aged Iranian villager Masht Hassan and his beloved cow. Hassan is married but has no children. His only valuable property is a cow that he cherishes as the only cow in the village. When Hassan must leave the village for a short time, the pregnant cow is found dead in the barn. Hassan's fellow villagers fear his reaction and cover up the evidence of the death and tell him upon his return that his cow has run away. Finding great difficulty confronting the loss of his beloved cow, as well the loss of livestock that affects his social stature at the village, Hassan gradually goes insane following a nervous breakdown and believes he is the cow, adopting such mannerisms as eating hay. His wife and the villagers try in vain to restore his sanity. The film ends with Hassan's death.


The Samanid prince Nooh ibn Mansur was reported to have thought of himself as a cow. He was subsequently cured of his delusion by the medieval Persian physician Avicenna. It is possible that elements of the plot of The Cow were inspired by this.1


Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini was reported to have admired this film. This in turn was reported to have been the saving grace that allowed Iranian cinema to continue rather than being banned after the Iranian Islamic Revolution.[3]



  1. A different lens
  2. “The Cow” and the Birth of Iranian New Wave
  3. "The Cow « Thirtyframesasecond". 2008-11-13. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
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