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El Norte (1983)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 3,284 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 »

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Title: El Norte (1983)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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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
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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, 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:

 »
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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 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 Enrique sees that Rosa has died, for a couple seconds we still see her breathing. See more »

Quotes

Border patrol officer 1: [to Enrique and Rosa in Spanish] Do you know how to read and write?
Rosa Xuncax: [to Enrique in Mayan] Why does he want to know that?
Enrique Xuncax: [to Rosa in Mayan] I don't know, but I think it's a trick. We'd better lie.
Border patrol officer 2: What are they saying?
Border patrol officer 1: I don't know. They're not speaking Spanish. They must be speaking some kind of Indian language.
Border patrol officer 2: Well, what the fuck good are you?
Enrique Xuncax: [to the officer in Spanish] No, we can't read or write.
Border patrol officer 1: They don't know how to read and write.
Border patrol officer 2: Well, that's some great system you got there.
Border patrol officer 1: Okay.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) See more »

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Emperor Waltz
Written by Johann Strauß
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User Reviews

 
Deeply moving film--highly recommended
5 December 2003 | by (Rockville MD) – See all my reviews

I saw El Norte (The North) some years ago when my then girlfriend (whose father was from Mexico) rented the video and made me watch it. I'm glad she did. It covers the very basic quest story of a brother and a sister who flee Guatemala (where the indigenous population was being exterminated) through Mexico to try and find a new life in the US. Along the way they encounter all the setbacks you would imagine, including a few you don't expect. This is a serious and dramatic film that is also not afraid to find the humor that can still occur in the midst of deep struggle.

I understand that this movie was made on a shoestring and at times it shows. But the story and the acting more than carry the day. Its creative team (Gregory Nava and his wife Anna Thomas) are also responsible for the movies Selena and Mi Familia (among others), both excellent films. I think that the real history of most people living on the earth, who live ordinary lives and struggle against sometimes oppressive forces outside their control, has largely gone unwritten. In its own small way, this movie begins to make up the deficit.

Excellent--highly recommended


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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
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