7.6/10
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81 user 55 critic

Buena Vista Social Club (1999)

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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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
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Joachim Cooder ...
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Rubén González ...
Himself
Orlando 'Cachaíto' López ...
Amadito Valdés ...
Himself
...
Himself
...
Himself
Pío Leyva ...
Himself
Manuel 'Puntillita' Licea ...
Himself
Juan de Marcos González ...
Himself
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Storyline

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) »

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

4 June 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Havana Rhapsody  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$127,370, 6 June 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$6,997,620, 30 January 2000
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Depois Daquele Baile (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Candela
Written by Faustino Oramas
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User Reviews

This could have been a brilliant documentary

And why wasn't it? The editing, the shaky hand held cameras which made it difficult to read the subtitles, the musical numbers cut off before completion, the insertion of Ry Cooder and or his son into practically every frame, the story management - why did it not show the preparation and rehearsals leading up to the climax of Carnegie Hall. The touristy reactions in New York were too kitchsy for words and took the dignity of these brilliant musicians away. I wanted more of these musicians' stories and my favourite sequence was of the pianist playing in Havana and all these tiny little ballerinas dancing around him, caught up in the magic. More of the history of the Buena Vista Social Club would have been wonderful also - this was sad in its omission. These incredible musicians were not served well here.


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