After the birth of his first child, Roberto, a young Mexican man slips across the border into the United States. Seeking work to support his family back home, he finds that working hard is not enough.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Domingo Ambriz ...
Roberto
...
Joe
Linda Gillen ...
Sharon
...
Anglo Coyote
...
...
2nd Drunk
Ludevina Mendez Salazar ...
Roberto's Wife
Maria Guadalupe Chavez ...
Roberto's Mother
Rafaela Cervantes de Gomez ...
Midwife
Feliz Cedano ...
Tomato Field Mayordomo
Edward Lopez ...
Contratista
Evelyn Chieko Saito ...
Strawberry Field Owner
Tom Tar ...
Strawberry Field Owner
Gabriel Segura ...
Strawberry Field Mayordomo
Paul Berrones ...
Berto
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Storyline

After his daughter's birth, Roberto leaves his town in Michoacan to make money in the United States. He's "an illegal," crossing into California and taking work wherever he can: picking strawberries, grapes, lettuce, and cucumbers. He hitchhikes, rides freight trains, and depends on the kindness of strangers. Near Stockton, things look up when a sympathetic waitress gives him a place to live, and he gets a better job at a crop-dusting company. But immigration raids are a constant possibility that can end stability. Can Roberto hold onto his equilibrium in this foreign land where hard work is not enough? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

16 October 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Illegal  »

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| (director's cut)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Trivia

Robert M. Young's first feature film. See more »

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User Reviews

 
very humbling to watch as a gringo
16 May 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It is difficult to talk about this movie without getting political, but maybe that's the point? Not sure, anyways, there were a few very powerful moments in the film for me. The most common point of discomfort was the multiple times Roberto had all of his choices, and thereby his freedoms, taken away. He had a vision for what he wanted out of America, and it was uncomfortable to watch his version of how he wanted his life to go be shattered by the unforgiving reality of how undocumented workers are treated.

Perhaps the thing that struck me the hardest, however, was how quickly life changed. There were a few times throughout the movie where, without warning, Roberto's life was drastically altered. I was aware of the fact that this type of thing happens, but seeing it played out was emotionally exhausting, I can't imagine what it must be like to live it.

I really hope this film gets rediscovered. It's a seemingly very brutal and honest portrayal of the very difficult decisions and sacrifices migrant workers have to make.


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