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La Cucaracha (1998)

A desperate writer fights for survival when the Mexican mob involves him in murder.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Herberto Ortega
James McManus ...
Louis Graves
Tara Crespo ...
Lourdes Aguirre
Enrique Rinaldo ...
Woman Patient
Hotel Proprietor
Louis' Wife (as Felicia Khoja)
Armando José Durán ...
Federale (as Armando Jose Duran)
Fruit Vendor (as Alejandro Patino)
Fred Herrera ...
Los Trovadores Mariachi Band Member
Felipe De La Rosa ...
Los Trovadores Mariachi Band Member
Anselmo Rivera ...
Los Trovadores Mariachi Band Member


Walter has problems. He's an American who's recently moved to a small Mexican village where he wants to live and write, but he barely knows the language and has no money. He wants to write but has no idea how to do this and he has nothing in the US to go back to. He spends his nights in a broke down abandoned shed by the lake trying to write and he spends his days in a local tavern drinking local beer he can't afford and receiving some food on the account of the barkeeper's pity. He's truly a lost man waiting for something to happen and save him. That's when a shady man who writes epitaphs for the recently departed introduces himself. He wants Walter to do a job for him. A powerful local man committed a grave crime against his boss, a powerful shady local businessman, and he needs to die. Walter is offered 100 000 US dollars to be the triggerman. After some consideration, Walter accepts the offer, since they'll kill him if he doesn't, now that he knows their illegal plan. Besides, ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


To live the life he's always dreamed of he'll have to do the unthinkable. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »





Release Date:

23 April 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Botcsinálta bérgyilkos  »

Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$14,692 (USA) (23 April 1999)


$32,142 (USA) (28 May 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


James McManus' initial plan for the story was based on the idea of a man in a wheelchair rolling down a hill with guns blazing, akin to John Wayne in True Grit (1969). See more »


South of the Border (Down Mexico Way)
Written by Michael Carr and Jimmy Kennedy
Performed by Patsy Cline
Courtesy of MCA Records
By Arrangement with Universal Special Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

Film-making magic and artistry
17 October 2004 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

There are plenty enough reviews that summarize the plot and give the synopsis of the story but they rarely ever tell you about the movie itself and why you might like to see it. So, if you want to know what the movie is about read the plot outline, read some of the other reviews or read the back of the DVD box. If you want to know why I think this movie is really good, read on.

One of the things I like best about La Cucaracha is that nothing is revealed too soon. Like an intricately folded napkin in a fancy restaurant, the characters slowly unfold their secrets allowing glances at their true selves and in so doing, completely undo their original appearance. It is not until the very end that you know who anyone really is. Eric Roberts gives one of the most engaging performances and plays one of the most likable characters I've seen from him. He gives subtle urgency a whole new meaning. Don't be surprised if you find yourself leaning forward in your seat, your forehead furrowed as you listen to Walter coming clean with his true identity. You may even find yourself rethinking all those assumptions you've made about the people you've met in your past and the things you've done or have yet to do. The rest of the cast is spot on as well. Their characters are all dealing with the deep emotional impact and ramifactions of their own deeds and you feel their pain, you see it etched on their faces. Aspiring filmmakers can learn a lot from this one. The camera work and lighting are so precise that they work as unseen hands in helping the characters reveal themselves to us and each other. Audiences who just like watching a good movie with a good story and interesting characters will love it too. This movie shows the real magic and artistry of film-making.

James McManus wrote a really tight story with just enough humour to keep you from being drawn too deeply in the dark depression that is Walter's life. Jack Perez has once again proven his ability to pull an enormous and beautiful rabbit out of a very small hat. For a real treat and one of the best commentary tracks ever made, buy or rent the DVD.

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

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