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A Mexican-American Mafia kingpin is released from prison, falls in love for the first time, and grows introspective about his gangster lifestyle.

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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Pedro Santana
Vira Montes ...
Esperanza Santana
Roberto Martín Márquez ...
Acha (as Robert Martin Marquez)
...
Yolanda
Joe Aubel ...
Tattoo Artist
Rob Garrett ...
Zoot Riot Bystander
...
Young Sailor
Cody Glenn ...
Older Sailor
...
Police Officer
Panchito Gómez ...
Young Montoya Santana (as Panchito Gomez)
Albert Joe Medina Jr. ...
Street Mechanic
Alex Solís ...
Street Mechanic (as Alex Solis)
Raymond Amezquita ...
Abuelito
...
Young JD
...
Young Mundo
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Storyline

This epic depiction of thirty years of Chicano gang life in Los Angeles focuses on a teen named Santana who, with his friends Mundo and the Caucasian-but-acting-Hispanic J.D., form their own gang and are soon arrested for a break-in. Santana gets into trouble again and goes straight from reform school to prison, spending eighteen years there, and becoming leader of a powerful gang, both inside and outside the prison, while there. When he is finally released, he tries to make sense of the violence in his life, in a world much changed from when last he was in it. Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In prison they are the law. On the streets they are the power.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and sensuality, and for language and drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 March 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sans rémission  »

Box Office

Budget:

$16,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$13,086,430 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The enforcer leader of the Aryan Brotherhood during the killing spree in Compton is played by legendary biker-movie star William Smith. See more »

Goofs

When the Mexican inmates are walking up with the mop and bucket to assassinate the African-American inmate, it shows the African-American inmate lying in just a t-shirt on his bed. In the next scene, after he's caught on fire, he's wearing his long sleeve button up. See more »

Quotes

Dornan: What I'd like to do now is to interview each of you individually. Who wants to go first?
Montoya Santana: Corky.
Dornan: Corky.
Puppet: Santana, how was the bus ride home?
Montoya Santana: Sunshine felt good.
Puppet: This is my brother, ese. They call him, Little Puppet. He's a genious, homes.
Mundo: Hey, don't get carried away.
Puppet: He does the placas in East L.A. Check it out.
[Shows a tatoo with naked babe]
Mundo: Nice tits.
[...]
See more »

Connections

References The Hard Way (1943) See more »

Soundtracks

Heaven and Paradise
Written by Don Julian
Performed by Don Julian & The Meadowlarks
Courtesy of Dooto Records
by arrangement with Original Sound Entertainment/Celebrity Licensing Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Stoic and Intense
20 April 2009 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Edward James Olmos both directs and stars in American Me with a mostly Latino cast which depicts a Chicano life influenced both by circumstances and bad choices. The story with a prologue depicting his parents during the Zoot suit riots during World War II right up to almost the present time. Olmos plays a gang leader and we see his rise and fall in the criminal profession which starts with an arrest as a juvenile.

It's a stoic and intense portrayal that Olmos gives to his own direction. Olmos did his own research for the part, but more than that he lived it being born and growing up in the Mexican American area of East Los Angeles.

In the story Olmos and his two running buddies, William Forsythe and Pepe Serna while in prison found a Mexican American gang, La Primavera and in prison they pretty much the Latino inmate population. As they gradually finish their sentences and are released the gang takes it shape and control of various rackets in the Barrio. Of course they also have to deal with other gangs, black gangs, Aryan Brotherhood, and some rival Chicano crews. That last sets in motion the downfall of Olmos.

The story is narrated in flashback by Olmos writing a letter to his younger brother while he's back in prison. It's a mournful plea for the kid not to make the same choices he did. American Me is a very good film, the personal project of a very talented man.


7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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