Zoot Suit (1981)

R  |   |  Drama, Musical  |  January 1982 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 807 users  
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?


Robert Beltran's film debut. See more »


El Pachuco: The Press distorted the very meaning of the word "Zoot Suit." All it is for you guys is another way to say Mexican
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

An intense, moving musical drama about overcoming prejudice
4 October 2001 | by (nashville, tn) – See all my reviews

This is one of the best statements, made musically, about anti-Mexican-American prejudice ever made. It is set in Los Angeles, during World War 2, when young 'chicanos' or 'pachucos' used the unique style of the zoot suit to set themselves off, and establish a florid machismo. Some of the plot is based on an actual incident. The movie is made as if showing a staged 'play,' in front of an 'audience,' in order to make particular statements about the way things appear to be. Edward James Olmos is the spirit of Pachuco, haunting Henry Reyna, the central character. We are brought to feel intensely both the striving for self-expression of the chicano youth, and the intense prejudice (based, as always, on ignorance) of the larger anglo society against them. Those of us who are anglos also come to identify with the anglos in the story who genuinely care for them and for justice. Four stars, especially for anyone from the southwest who is not a bigot.

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