MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 1,510 this week

El Norte (1983)

7.8
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 3,293 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 44 user | 25 critic | 5 from Metacritic.com

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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(story),
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb Picks: August

IMDb's editors share the movies and TV shows they recommend for August 2014.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 26 titles
created 28 Jan 2011
 
a list of 38 titles
created 03 Jun 2012
 
a list of 25 titles
created 17 Jan 2013
 
a list of 28 titles
created 18 Jun 2013
 
a list of 21 titles
created 2 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "El Norte" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: El Norte (1983)

El Norte (1983) on IMDb 7.8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of El Norte.
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Shipwrecked on an island, the castaway boys eventually revert to savagery despite the few rational kids' attempts to prevent that.

Director: Peter Brook
Stars: James Aubrey, Tom Chapin, Hugh Edwards
Man Push Cart (2005)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A night in the life of a former Pakistani rock star who now sells coffee from his push cart on the streets of Manhattan.

Director: Ramin Bahrani
Stars: Ahmad Razvi, Leticia Dolera, Charles Daniel Sandoval
Alambrista! (1977)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

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.

Director: Robert M. Young
Stars: Domingo Ambriz, Trinidad Silva, Linda Gillen
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A documentary about a pet cemetery in California, and the people who have pets buried there.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Lucille Billingsley, Zella Graham, Cal Harberts
Fail-Safe (1964)
Adventure | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

American planes are sent to deliver a nuclear attack on Moscow, but it's a mistake due to an electrical malfunction. Can all-out war be averted?

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Henry Fonda, Walter Matthau, Fritz Weaver
Blood Diamond (2006)
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A fisherman, a smuggler, and a syndicate of businessmen match wits over the possession of a priceless diamond.

Director: Edward Zwick
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An eccentric and dogmatic inventor sells his house and takes his family to Central America to build an ice factory in the middle of the jungle. Conflicts with his family, a local preacher ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Weir
Stars: Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, River Phoenix
Deliverance (1972)
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before it's turned into one huge lake, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock takes his friends on a river-rafting trip they'll never forget into the dangerous American back-country.

Director: John Boorman
Stars: Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Set in 1898, this movie is based on the true story of two lions in Africa that killed 35 people over a nine month period, while a bridge engineer and an experienced old hunter tried to kill... See full summary »

Director: Stephen Hopkins
Stars: Michael Douglas, Val Kilmer, Tom Wilkinson
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Bonds of loyalty are put to the test when a hitman's son witnesses what his father does for a living.

Director: Sam Mendes
Stars: Tom Hanks, Tyler Hoechlin, Rob Maxey
Sin Nombre (2009)
Adventure | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Honduran teenager Sayra reunites with her father, an opportunity for her to potentially realize her dream of a life in the U.S. Moving to Mexico is the first step in a fateful journey of ... See full summary »

Director: Cary Fukunaga
Stars: Paulina Gaitan, Marco Antonio Aguirre, Leonardo Alonso
Twister (1996)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Bill and Jo Harding, advanced storm chasers on the brink of divorce, must join together to create an advanced weather alert system by putting themselves in the cross-hairs of extremely violent tornadoes.

Director: Jan de Bont
Stars: Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Cary Elwes
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ernesto Gómez Cruz ...
Arturo
...
Enrique
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
Edit

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, uneducated, and illegal immigrants. Written by Ed Cannon <ecannon@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

27 January 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Au nord le paradis  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was originally shot for TV to premiere on PBS in 1983. But after an overwhelmingly positive reception at the Telluride Film Festival, the producers of American Playhouse decided to give the film a theatrical release and delayed the PBS TV-premiere for two years. See more »

Goofs

When Rosa dies, Enrique cries and hugs her with his head on her chest. A closeup shows Rosa's hand on her stomach. The next, longer shot shows her hand is at the top of her thigh. 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 »


Soundtracks

Tierra Mestiza
Written by Gerardo Tamez
Performed by LOS FOLKLORISTAS
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Journey through the Americas
9 April 2004 | by (Corpus Christi TX) – See all my reviews

Like Ruben Martinez's recent nonfiction work on Latino emigrants, "Crossing Over," Gregory Nava's film, "El Norte," begins with a re-working of the Passion Play--only this time the Christ figure is Arturo Xuncax, a Guatemalan Indian and guerilla leader, who's betrayed to the landowner/elites by one of his own followers. As a result, Xuncax and his "disciples" are killed in a bloody nocturnal raid staged by the elites' enforcers--members of the Guatemalan military--and Arturo's severed head is suspended by rope from a tree limb to serve as a warning to others who may conspire against the Oppressor.

Viewers are forgiven, therefore, if they expect a story of political martyrdom and vengeance, since it is Arturo's son, Enrique, who takes up the machete that his murdered father (a "Man of Peace") refused to bring along with him to his fate. Instead, Enrique is advised by a friend to strike out to "el Norte." And since the military has vowed to de- populate Arturo's village, this would appear to be sound advice.

Thus begins one of the best "journey" films ever made. Enrique and his sister, Rosa (presumably, both are still in their teens), make the long trek from their once-idyllic Central American mountain village to what they mistakenly believe will be a comfortable, material existence in California, US of A.

While the Guatemalan scenes in "El Norte" are dark, foggy, murky, and formally paced, the second section of the film (subtitled "El Coyote") begins with a blast of mariachi music and we see the pair of young travelers on a bright, sunlit, modern Mexican highway. Most of this section deals with Rosa and Enrique's efforts to cross the Mexi-Cali border, yet this portion also gives the director a chance to delineate the personalities of his hero and heroine.

Enrique is characterized as an idealist, a dreamer, eternally kind at heart to everyone. No less kinder is Rosa. But as Enrique explains to a retired smuggler, "I think she is stronger than the two of us put together." He's right. Rosa possesses a harder edge than Enrique--an inner strength, in fact, that makes her the emotional and spiritual center of the film. On a bus ride through the Mexican countryside, she refuses to close the window next to her seat, despite the protests of a man sitting behind her; she refuses to be prevented from embracing and observing life as it truly is. Rosa is a realist. While in Tijuana, she explains to Enrique that the sale or pawning of their mother's jewelry is the only practical way they can finance their crossing over to America. Enrique, ever the sentimentalist, objects. But Rosa insists; and in the end, she wins this minor argument.

Brother and sister do manage to make it across the borderline--but at a terrible price that doesn't become evident until the film's conclusion.

"El Norte" was made on a shoestring; but Nava's direction is clever, sometimes in a style reminiscent of late-50's French New Wave, but more often as naturalistic as an Upton Sinclair novel. Indeed, a scene showing Enrique flexing his muscles while begging for work with a construction crew seems an obvious reference to Sinclair's "The Jungle."

The film is very well-cast, every scene directed economically but effectively. There is no waste-motion in this movie. Its rhythm is lyrical without being needlessly reflective. The acting is first-rate, especially the performances of two of the minor players: Lupe Ontiveros (as Nacha, Rosa's friend in Los Angeles) and Trinidad Silva (as Monte, the cynical, opportunistic baseball fanatic).


9 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
DVD of El Norte coming Elnortefan
Crossing the border-who helps them?? redvespagirl
Meaning of the final scene? ladynata
When... when will it hit DVD? paulvinny
Where to buy? cody_gaffney
those two old ladies gman93189
Discuss El Norte (1983) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?