California Cowboys (1984)
"Escape from El Diablo" (original title)

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Ratings: 4.9/10 from 34 users  
Reviews: 1 user | 1 critic

A young American is framed and thrown into a Mexican prison. His friends journey to Mexico to break him out.



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Credited cast:
Jimmy McNichol ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Luis Barboo ...
Asher Brauner ...
Steve Caballero ...
José María Cañete ...
Suzanne Danielle ...
Penelope Horner ...
Mother Superior
Mike McGill ...
Tommy "D"
Patrick Mower ...
Juan Carlos Naya ...
Patricia Quinn ...
Bernard Seray


Pauli and his friend Daniel hop on their bikes and ride across the border to Mexico to try out a bar called Rosa's Cantina, which happens to be next to the infamous El Diablo prison. Though some of the locals try to warn the two gringos away, Pauli unwisely insists on going in. In the course of the evening, he manages to start a fight with the many prison guards unwinding from work, and gets arrested. Daniel, who managed to avoid arrest, tries repeatedly to negotiate for Pauli's release, but eventually decides that the only way to free his friend is for him to take more direct action. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <>

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Release Date:

8 June 1984 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

California Cowboys  »

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User Reviews

"Midnight Express" for teenyboppers
21 August 2004 | by (Minneapolis) – See all my reviews

This movie's more than 20 years old and yet no one, as yet, has offered any comments on it, so here goes ...

Although it has the superficial quality and low-budget look of a straight-to-video feature, "El Diablo" offers an hour-and-a-half of time-killing entertainment for the undemanding and easily-pleased. Its plot vaguely calls to mind "Midnight Express" since it involves a young American male thrown into a brutal foreign prison, but the treatment has a light "Beach Party" touch befitting its youthful cast of blond and bland Californians. These cast members get to indulge in surfboarding, in-line skating, motorbiking, skateboarding, and windsurfing, and there are a number of comedy scenes mixed in with scenes of Timothy Van Patten being beaten up in prison by a sadistic guard. The results are never very convincing but the movie makes no demands on its audience and is content to be seen and then forgotten.

"El Diablo" gives Ethan Wayne (John's son) his first adult role though "adult" may not be an accurate term. He plays one of those "mysterious strangers" who comes to the aid of Jimmy McNichol but his character is poorly developed and his tough-guy actions are unpersuasive. (Seeing him and McNichol fight off a gang of thugs borders on the laughable.) Wayne, does, however, offer a bit of "beefcake" for those looking for some youthful "eye-candy."

The Mexican Tourist Bureau will be understandably displeased with this movie's patronizing stereotypes.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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