7.7/10
3,936
47 user 25 critic

El Norte (1983)

R | | Drama | 27 January 1984 (USA)
Peasants escaping mindless labor and a murderous Guatemalan government head to America in hopes for something better.

Director:

Writers:

(story),

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Arturo
...
...
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

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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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

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The immigration office scene was shot in an actual immigration office in California. David Villalpando and Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez were legitimately anxious while filming this scene, because they did not have official working papers that would have permitted them to work legally in the United States and were only carrying travel visas. Fortunately, none of the actual immigration officers second-guessed. 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.
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Connections

Featured in Life Itself (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Emperor Waltz
by Johann Strauss
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User Reviews

 
One of the most amazing Latin American films ever!
24 June 2002 | by (Tucson, AZ) – See all my reviews

What a beautiful, powerful and endearing film that Gregory Nava has given the general film watching public. While few people have ever seen this film, it rates as one of the best films ever in regards to Latin American cinema. Sure, the budgetary constraints can be seen in many parts of this film, but the overall artistic stamp of the film more than makes up for the lack thereof. In our current society of anti-immigration,

one has to experience the pain and torment some of the people have to experience just to get the chance to live in America. This spirit alone gives me respect for most working immigrants, even if some are illegal. Even 20 years from now, Latin American film courses will still use this film as one of its finest examples.


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