Zoot Suit (1981)

R  |   |  Drama, Musical  |  January 1982 (USA)
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Reviews: 20 user | 2 critic

A kind of musical accompanying the story of the early 1940's and the effect that the "zoot suit" (a man's suit of long jacket and pegged pants, always worn with a long keychain that looped ... See full summary »



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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Daniel Valdez ...
Henry Reyna
El Pachuco
George Shearer
Alice Bloomfield
Judge F.W. Charles
Abel Franco ...
Joey / Jose Torres
Lupe (as Alma Rosa Martínez)
Press (as Frank McCarthy)
Lieutenant Edwards
Robert Phalen ...
District Attorney
Rose Portillo ...
Smiley / Ismael Torres


A kind of musical accompanying the story of the early 1940's and the effect that the "zoot suit" (a man's suit of long jacket and pegged pants, always worn with a long keychain that looped almost to the ankle.... the rebellious fashion of young men) had on the morals and attitudes of the people of that era. Written by BOB STEBBINS <stebinsbob@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Musical


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

January 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Chicanos Story  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Broadway production of "Zoot Suit" opened at the Winter Garden Theater in New York on March 25, 1979 and ran for 41 performances. Charles Aidman, Mike Gomez, Abel Franco, Darlene Bryan, Luis Manuel, Edward James Olmos, Tony Plana, Rose Portillo, Geno Silva, Dennis Stewart, and Socorro Valdez recreated their stage roles in this filmed production. Edward James Olmos was nominated for the 1979 Tony Award (New York City) for Supporting or Features Actor in a Drama for "Zoot Suit" as El Pachuco and recreated his stage role in this filmed production. See more »


Press: You are trying to outdo the white man in exaggerated white man's clothes.
El Pachuco: Because everyone knows that Mexicans, Filipinos and Blacks belong to the huraache . . . the straw hat and the dirty overall.
Press: You savages weren't even wearing clothes when the white man pulled you out of the jungle.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film opens with the 1940's Universal logo. See more »


Referenced in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »


Performed by Edward James Olmos and the Zoot Suiterettes
See more »

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User Reviews

The Best Kind of Music
18 February 2005 | by (California) – See all my reviews

First off, Luis Valdez is a genius, he managed to take a real life story, and make it into a musical, not only was its the best kind of musical, with great acting and symbolism, but with meaning to the Chicano race.

This film is about Chicanos and their history during the 1940's, and even though it's about the gang, the actual Zoot Suit and the ending are all very symbolic, and this movie should be credited for all the creativity and work put into this brilliant masterpiece.

The songs were good, but what I really enjoyed was the acting, James Omos is talent behind measurement, yet he receives no credit for such a role. He doesn't play the role, he is the Zoot Suit. All around the acting from everyone was excellent, I wouldn't change a thing about the film.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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