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American Me (1992)

 -  Biography | Crime | Drama  -  13 March 1992 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 5,182 users   Metascore: 66/100
Reviews: 45 user | 17 critic | 11 from Metacritic.com

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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Title: American Me (1992)

American Me (1992) on IMDb 7.2/10

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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 year 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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Most of the extras who were dressed as prisoners quit after the first day of filming. They were kept in a gated area next to an open sewer and had to ask guards to use the bathroom. Guards are used to ignoring prisoners, so they mostly ignored extras dressed as prisoners. They weren't given enough water and lunch wasn't served until late in the day. Conditions slightly improved on the second day, but on the third and final day of filming at Folsom Prison there were about 25 of the 200 that showed up on the first day. 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 laying in just a t-shirt on his bed and in the next scene after hes caught on fire he's wearing his long sleeve button up. See more »

Quotes

Young Montoya Santana: [Mundo is being devoted into the gang] Come on, give me your hand. You know what, ese, White Fence, Maravilla, Lomita, they've been around here longer than us, you know. It's cool. We've got our own clika, strong clika. Finally getting into our own, gaining respect.
Young JD: Our clika, our barrio, our family - that's all we got, ese.
Young Mundo: Simon.
Young JD: When we were kids, belonging felt good. But having respect, that feels even better.
Young Montoya Santana: Cause La Primera lives through us. It gives to us. It is us. We make it, carnal, ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

References Quiet Please: Murder (1942) See more »

Soundtracks

No Sunshine
Written by Kid Frost (as Arturo Molina Jr.) and Bill Withers
Performed by Kid Frost
Courtesy of Virgin Records America Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent directorial debut from Edward James Olmos.

American Me (1992) was the directing debut of long time character actor Edward James Olmos. This film is a historical fiction depiction of the rise of La Emme, The Mexican Mafia. The movie follows the lives of three street gang members who by a sad twist of fate end up in Juvenille Hall. From there they graduate to the big time. Folsom Prison. Inside the walls of Folsom, the three form the most powerful gang inside the California Penal System.

Olmos turns the story into a Shakespherian tragedy. A story about a dangerous cycle that repeats over and over within certain communities and how the lack of education can be dangerous. Like they say, an idle mind is the devil's playground. Many of these characters had too much "idle time" before they hit rock bottom. Olmos' direction, editing and use of lighting is that of a long time film-maker. The cinematography complements his directorial style. He makes these figures into noble persons who live and die by a code forged from blood, shanks and sweat. Great stuff from Mr. Olmos, a true masterpiece from a first time director.

Sadly, Mr. Olmos has took a lot of flack for this film and has made some powerful people very angry. If I were him I would have taken a safer route and gave the prison gangs some fake names and cut all ties to any "Technical Support" but that's not his style. He should be commended for his efforts because others wouldn't have the courage or conviction to do this. Mr. Olmos doesn't glamorize the lifestyle either. Although they're men of honor amongst themselves I wouldn't want to be in their shoes. But what people have to do to stay alive in prison should not be looked down upon and on the other hand, when one's on the outside they should leave what they learned within the prison walls. Because it's a whole different ball game out here.

Highly recommended.


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