Today Viridiana is regarded by many critics as a masterpiece; reception was not, however, as adamantly positive on initial release. After the film was completed and sent by the Spanish cinematographic authority to the Cannes Film Festival, and awarded, the government of Francisco Franco tried unsuccessfully to have the film withdrawn and banned its release in Spain. L'Osservatore Romano, the official newspaper of the Vatican, described the film as "blasphemous". The film was released there in 1977, after Franco's death, when Buñuel was 77 years old. However, the film was acclaimed at Cannes, winning the Palme d'Or. Buñuel later said that "I didn't deliberately set out to be blasphemous, but then Pope John XXIII is a better judge of such things than I am".
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From Wikipedia on its reception:
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