Buena Vista Social Club (1999)

G  |   |  Documentary, Music  |  4 June 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 12,586 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 79 user | 48 critic | 19 from Metacritic.com

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) »


Cubas Poesie Cubas Musik, Cubas Menschen, Cubas Poesie [The music of Cuba, the people of Cuba, the poetry of Cuba] 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 Keeping the Faith (2000) See more »


Nuestra Ultima Cítá
Written by Forero Esther
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User Reviews

Flawed, yet touching and ultimately beautiful work
4 March 2000 | by (Sarah Lawrence College) – See all my reviews

Is this film perfect? By all means, no. In places the camera work waves out of control, and the constant featuring of Ry Cooder grows tedious. Yet despite all of this, there are certain images that this film captures that have refused to leave my mind. I get chills just thinking about Eliada Ochoa tearing up during her rendition of "Silencio" as she is filmed before an audience of thousands in Stockholm. I will never forget Ruben Gonzalez sitting at his piano basking in applause. And, of course, seeing Ibrahim Ferrer walk through the streets of midtown Mannhattan in utter awe is enough to make any man choke up. Though flawed, this picture never fails to stand as moving testament to the triumph of the human spirit. For these beautiful moments alone, I give this poignant film a 10.

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