When school teacher Harriet Winslow goes to Mexico to teach, she is kidnapped by Gen. Tomas Arroyo and his revolutionaries. An aging American, Ambrose "Old Gringo" Bierce also in Mexico, ... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay) (as Aida Bortnik) | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Col. Frutos Garcia
Jenny Gago ...
La Garduna
Gabriela Roel ...
La Luna
Zacarias (as Sergio Calderon)
Monsalvo (as Guillermo Rios)
Samuel Valadez De La Torre ...
Consul Saunders
Anne Pitoniak ...
Mrs. Winslow
Pancho Villa (as Pedro Armendariz Jr.)
Stanley Grover ...
Gen. Saunders
Josefina Echánove ...
Clementina (as Josefina Echanove)
Capt. Ovando (as Pedro Damian)


When school teacher Harriet Winslow goes to Mexico to teach, she is kidnapped by Gen. Tomas Arroyo and his revolutionaries. An aging American, Ambrose "Old Gringo" Bierce also in Mexico, befriends Gen. Arroyo and meets Harriet. Bierce is a famous writer, who knowing that he is dying, wishes to keep his identity secret so he can determine his own fate. Though he likes Arroyo, Bierce tries to provoke the General's anger whenever possible in an attempt to get himself killed, thus avoiding suffering through his illness. Winslow is intrigued by both Bierce and Arroyo, and the men are in turn attracted to her. She becomes romantically involved with Arroyo. When Winslow learns of Bierce's true identity (a writer whose work she has loved and respected for years), she is singlemindedly determined to fulfill his dying wish. Written by E.W. DesMarais <jlongst@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A woman inspired by a man of dreams swept into the arms of a general, and drawn into a worlds of danger.


R | See all certifications »





Release Date:

6 October 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gringo viejo  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$34,000,000 (estimated)


$3,574,256 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Luis Valdez, who helmed " La Bamba " , was originally supposed to direct. He envisaged Peter O' Toole as Ambrose Bierce. See more »


At the end of the movie as Harriet Winslow is crossing the Rio Grande, the river flows from right to left. If she were actually crossing the border from Mexico to America (northward), the river would flow from left to right (eastward). See more »


Mrs. Winslow: How can you be so disrespectful of your father's memory?
Harriet Winslow: I'm not being disrespectful, Mother. I'm being honest. From now on, I'm gonna be honest with my father's memory.
See more »


Referenced in American Dad!: Camp Refoogee (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Some GREAT performances- Peck is Inspiring
26 August 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There is more soul in this film than in 50 'modern' films.

While there is a lot of bad acting, and many other flaws in this movie, there are some GREAT scenes, great dialog, great characters, and great performances. Gregory Peck has some very memorable, outstanding monologues, there are many interesting and complex relationships, and there are no simple resolutions to conflicts.

Again- there are many areas of the film that do not work: doesn't matter, ignore them. There is tremendous depth here, and a lot of value to draw from the good parts of this movie. Peck and Smits are great, and even Fonda has some excellent moments.

They don't make 'em like this any more, and they don't make actors like Peck.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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