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Peasants escaping mindless labor and a murderous Guatemalan government head to America in hopes for something better.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ernesto Gómez Cruz ...
Arturo
...
Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez ...
Rosa
Alicia del Lago ...
Lupe
...
Informer
Jose Martin Ruano ...
Foreman
Stella Quan ...
Josefita
Heraclio Zepeda ...
Pedro (as Eraclio Zapeda)
Emilio Gomez Ozuna ...
Luis
Daniel Lemus Valenzuela ...
Encarnacion
Rodrigo Puebla ...
El Puma the Soldier
Yosahandi Navarrete Quan ...
Josefita's Daughter
Rodolfo De Alexandre ...
Ramon
Emilio Del Haro ...
Truck Driver
Jorge Moreno ...
Old Man on Bus
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Storyline

Mayan Indian peasants, tired of being thought of as nothing more than "brazos fuertes" ("strong arms", i.e., manual laborers) and organizing in an effort to improve their lot in life, are discovered by the Guatemalan army. After the army destroys their village and family, a brother and sister, teenagers who just barely escaped the massacre, decide they must flee to "El Norte" ("the North", i.e., the USA). After receiving clandestine help from friends and humorous advice from a veteran immigrant on strategies for traveling through Mexico, they make their way by truck, bus and other means to Los Angeles, where they try to make a new life as young, and undocumented immigrants. Written by Ed Cannon <ecannon@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The magical film that reveals the world between the dream and the reality


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

27 January 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Au nord le paradis  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jorge Moreno's final film. See more »

Goofs

The plane that taxis up to the airport building is a DC-10, but the plane seen lifting off towards Chicago is a 747. See more »

Quotes

Enrique's friend: You have to learn to talk like a Mexican. Tell me it's a hot day.
Enrique Xuncax: It's a hot day.
Enrique's friend: No! You won't make it two miles past the border. "It's a fucking hot day." Mexicans are always saying fuck. Fuck this, fuck that. Now try it again.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Intro by Nava to Journal (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Tierra Mestiza
Written by Gerardo Tamez
Performed by LOS FOLKLORISTAS
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User Reviews

 
An overlooked classic from Gregory Nava.
5 September 2005 | by (Sacramento, CA) – See all my reviews

El Norte (1983) is sadly an overlooked and underrated film from Gregory Nava. Before he made bio-pictures for Hollywood, Mr. Nava was a great film maker. His heart breaking EL NORTE is about two central American Indian peasants who risk everything so they could start a new life in the land of milk and honey "El Norte". They struggle through many hardships in their travels from Guatemala through the rough and wild terrain of Mexico and the sleazy "Coyotes" who always try to make a buck on the blood and sweat of these immigrant workers who want a chance at the American way of life.

Politics aside (people who have read my reviews know which side I stand on) you have to feel for these people who are willing to work for little just so they could have useless things. Ironically their hard work makes it able for people to buy at cost produce and cheaper goods. A gritty film that'll make you think about what these so called "illegals" have to go through. I wished this movie was available on d.v.d. in a restored format. I saw this film many years ago. The print was dark and grainy. The audio was no great shakes either. One day, people will be able to see this film. Until then check your local libraries or maybe by some ray of hope P.B.S. will air it once more (but considering the current leadership of P.B.S. that's highly unlikely).

Highest recommendation possible.


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