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Buena Vista Social Club (1999)

G  |   |  Documentary, Music  |  4 June 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 12,446 users   Metascore: 81/100
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Aging Cuban musicians whose talents had been virtually forgotten following Castro's takeover of Cuba, are brought out of retirement by Ry Cooder, who travelled to Havana in order to bring the musicians together, resulting in triumphant performances of extraordinary music, and resurrecting the musicians' careers.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 20 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Eliades Ochoa ...
Ry Cooder ...
Joachim Cooder ...
Omara Portuondo ...
Rubén González ...
Orlando 'Cachaíto' López ...
Amadito Valdés ...
Manuel 'Guajiro' Mirabal ...
Barbarito Torres ...
Pío Leyva ...
Manuel 'Puntillita' Licea ...
Juan de Marcos González ...


A group of legendary Cuban musicians, some as old as their nineties, were brought together by Ry Cooder to record a CD. In this film, we see and hear some of the songs being recorded in Havana. There is also footage from concerts in Amsterdam and New York City's Carnegie Hall. In addition, many of the individual musicians talk about their lives in Cuba and about how they got started in music. Written by George S. Davis

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

cuba | song | concert | singer | guitar | See All (13) »


In Havana, music isn't a pastime, it's a way of life. See more »


Documentary | Music


G | See all certifications »


Official Sites:


| | | |



Release Date:

4 June 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Havana Rhapsody  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$127,370 (USA) (4 June 1999)


$6,997,620 (USA) (28 January 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Buena Vista Social Club album was put together by guitarist Ry Cooder in 1997 as a means of recapturing the "lost" music of pre-revolutionary Havana. The story was later made into this movie. See more »


Referenced in Neues aus der Anstalt: Episode #2.4 (2008) See more »


Written by Rafael Hernández
See more »

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User Reviews

Well-done documentary about long forgotten Cuban musicians ...
14 March 2001 | by (Evansville, Indiana USA) – See all my reviews

1st watched 3/14/2001 - (Dir-Wim Wenders): Well-done documentary about long forgotten Cuban musicians and American country musician Ry Cooder's adventure into putting together this band. The music is captivating, the musician's come across as greatful wonderful people who just happen to be able to play their particular instrument very well. Tremendous look into Cuba and it's people with many shots of the city Havana. These musicians are very proud of their country and have no intention of difecting as we as Americans feel that they would because of our limited exposure into this culture. Rare opportunity to walk into a land and people that we don't often see.

19 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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