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Blood In, Blood Out (1993)
"Bound by Honor" (original title)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  30 April 1993 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 21,850 users  
Reviews: 126 user | 11 critic

Based on the true life experiences of poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, the film focuses on half-brothers Paco and Cruz, and their bi-racial cousin Miklo. It opens in 1972, as the three are members... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Magic Mike
Tom Towles ...
Red Ryder
Teddy Wilson ...
Lanny Flaherty ...
Big Al
Geoffrey Rivas ...
Karmin Murcelo ...


Based on the true life experiences of poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, the film focuses on half-brothers Paco and Cruz, and their bi-racial cousin Miklo. It opens in 1972, as the three are members of an East L.A. gang known as the "Vatos Locos", and the story focuses on how a violent crime and the influence of narcotics alter their lives. Miklo is incarcerated and sent to San Quentin, where he makes a "home" for himself. Cruz becomes an exceptional artist, but a heroin addiction overcomes him with tragic results. Paco becomes a cop and an enemy to his "carnal", Miklo. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


An epic story of three brothers. Bound by blood. Divided by fate. Driven by destiny.


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

30 April 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Blood In, Blood Out  »

Box Office


$35,000,000 (estimated)


$4,496,583 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut) | (original cut)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Originally titled "Blood In Blood Out", which is the motto of La Onda, the prison gang in the film. Before the film's release in Spring of 1993, the title and all posters were changed because Disney which produced the film under their Hollywood Pictures banner, felt that it would promote or influence violence especially among the L.A. gangs where the film actually takes place around East Los Angeles. Another possible reason was because of the aftermath of the L.A. riots during this period of time which the studio felt the film's title was too negative. Bound by Honor was chosen and actually portrays the film's message a little more clearly. See more »


When their rival gang is jumping Cruzito, and they drop him on the fire hydrant, the fire hydrant bends. See more »


Cruz: Hey homes you can't come here any more, unless you're gonna bust me.
Paco: ¿And who the FUCK gave you permission to use my little brother in your paintings?
Cruz: ¡I don't need permission from you, he's my carnalito too!
Paco: Don't you use Juanito as an excuse to wreck your life. ¡YOU DON' HAVE THAT RIGHT!
Cruz: Si culero, ¡¿I don't have that right, huh? Fuckin' right I don't
[while cutting Juanito's picture in his paintings]
Cruz: ¡I don't have that fuckin' right! ¿You want him out of my painting joto? ¡All right, all ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credits we see helicopter shots of Los Angeles. The movie ends with shots of the big tree (pina). See more »


References Star Trek (1966) See more »


Written by Arcalio Garcia, Pablo Tellez and Jorge Santana
Performed by Malo
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Barrio Epic
16 June 2009 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Based on the real life experiences of poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, Bound By Honor covers two decades in the latter half of the 20th century as seen through the eyes of half brothers Benjamin Bratt and Jesse Borrego and their cousin Damian Chapa. Growing up more or less together, all three start out as gang bangers, but each has a different destiny and in many ways one's destiny is caused by the actions of the others.

Borrego gets injured in a gang retaliation and works hard to not become a cripple. He does however become both a painter of note and a drug addict of considerable appetite. A tragedy there sets him and Bratt apart.

Bratt also winds up in a feud with Chapa. When both were young gang bangers and looking to retaliate for Borrego, Bratt and Chapa are arrested. Because this was Bratt's first offense he got a choice of the military or jail time and he chose the Marines. Chapa however was sent to prison, to San Quentin to be precise where he joined the Chicano prison gang La Onda. Pretty soon Chapa is high in the gang councils and deep in the politics of the prison. Bratt in the meantime joins the LAPD and destiny makes these two collide.

Bound By Honor has an epic quality almost a kind of Chicano Gone With The Wind. The mostly Hispanic cast do a great job in depicting life in the Barrio. The film runs just about three hours and it's a tribute to director Taylor Hackford that your interest doesn't flag for a minute.

Hackford also creates many interesting supporting characters two numerous to mention, always the mark of a good film. But your interest is always in the three leads. You get to care about what is to become of them, what destiny has in store.

There are certain similarities between Bound By Honor and the Edward James Olmos film, American Me. Personally I give a slight edge to this one, don't miss it if it is broadcast.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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