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The Young and the Damned (1950)

Los olvidados (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | 24 March 1952 (USA)
A group of juvenile delinquents live a violent and crime-filled life in the festering slums of Mexico City, and the morals of young Pedro are gradually corrupted and destroyed by the others...


Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 12 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview:
La madre de Pedro
Alfonso Mejía ...
El Jaibo
El director de la escuela granja
Jesús García ...
El padre de Julián (as Jesús García Navarro)
Efraín Arauz ...
Sergio Virel ...
Miembro pandilla (as Sergio Villarreal)
Jorge Pérez ...
Javier Amézcua ...
Mário Ramírez ...


A group of juvenile delinquents live a violent and crime-filled life in the festering slums of Mexico City, and the morals of young Pedro are gradually corrupted and destroyed by the others... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The First Prize Winner "Best Directed Film 1951 Cannes International Film Festival" See more »


Crime | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 March 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los Olvidados  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

(RCA High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Recently a ninth roll of the movie was found after decades of thinking that the movie only had eight. The ninth roll includes an alternative "happy" ending, and is included in a new DVD released in Mexico with a book about the movie. See more »


Pedro: [addressing his mother, just before she leaves him at the Farm School] Just now you remember that I'm your son.
See more »


Featured in A Story of Children and Film (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

Not just an important note for Bunuel, but for neo-realism as well
1 September 2003 | by See all my reviews

Los Olvidados, translated as The Young and the Damned, is a treatise on the street-life of kids in Mexico City. There are at least three characters who are of focus here, and three others on the sidelines with equal importance: El Jaibo, a rough young man who's grown up on the street his whole life, and who's picked up more than his share of wicked, ego-driven habits; "Big Eyes" as he's called by a Blind Man (he's credited as Lost Boy on this site) is a kid whose lost his father, and is taken in by the old-fashioned, hardened old man, who lives next to the girl Meche; and Pedro, the hero, is deep down a good soul, but with a side that just wants to roam the streets, at the carelessness of his estranged mother, who like her son is poverty stricken. Pedro, one day, witnesses Jaibo commit a killing of a squealer, and this puts him in a bad position, as his relationship with his mother unfolds, and so on.

All through Los Olvidados, based on real events and real people from the streets, I kept on feeling for these people in the same way I did for the characters I saw in the neo-realism movies like La Terra Trema and Shoeshine. Here are people who are so starkly depicted who can practically smell the streets coming off of them. That they are non-professionals in real settings, like in those movies, and the stories are such simple yet heart-felt, goes to show the mastery of Luis Bunuel. While he became infamous for such films in the thirties like Un Chien Andalou and L'Age D'Or, and later for such originals like Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and the obscure Phantom of Liberty (the climax in that is something that could've inspired most gross-out comedies of late), this film displays his worth as a writer/director outside of the reputation he garnered in that he tells us the story, with the little details and complex emotions that the Italian directors were able to bring forth, while every once in a while reminding us that it is his brand of movie-making at work.

And, un-like his other works, he does this ever-so fleetingly that I only caught his style creeping in twice: the first was a tip of the hat to his surrealistic roots, when Pedro has a dream that seems to correspond perfectly to his truths and the truths of the neighborhood as he asks her why (in an earlier scene) she didn't give him any meat. She brings over a large piece of meat, and as she brings it to him a hand creeps up (Jaibo) that grabs at him to take it away. There is just enough imagery and just enough message that the dream works as one of Bunuel's best sequences. The second time was a very brief moment when Pedro is working with some chickens and eggs, and at one point Pedro looks at the camera and throws an egg at the lens. Indeed, this could be seen as out of place for such a straight-forward drama on torrents of youth that resonate generation after generation (this is inspired by neo-realism to an extent, yet probably inspired the likes of Clockwork Orange and even the recent City of God), however we get an inkling of what Bunuel is trying to tell us- these are real people in real settings and in a somewhat melodramatic story set in times of economic drought and such, and feel for them as I do - but don't forget, it's only a movie.

In my opinion, Los Olvidados should be discovered by movie buffs, since it is possibly Bunuel's most accessible work, but perhaps Discreet Charm would still be the first to see if wanting to get the Bunuel vein.

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