12 user 6 critic

Noriega: God's Favorite (2000)

The story of Panamanian general Manuel Antonio 'Tony' Noriega, whose meteoric career, from utter poverty, as a soldier and CIA informant who also served as source to various other powers ... See full summary »



1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »


Credited cast:
Vicky Amador
President Nicky Barletta
Felicidad Noriega
Major Giroldi
Colonel Diaz-Herrera
Sabi Dorr ...
Father Jorge
Drug Dealer
Michael Sorich ...
Jorge Luis Abreu ...
Witch Doctor
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Adela Giroldi


The story of Panamanian general Manuel Antonio 'Tony' Noriega, whose meteoric career, from utter poverty, as a soldier and CIA informant who also served as source to various other powers and even the Colombian drug mafia he claims to fight valiantly to please CIA director and later U.S. president Bush Sr., starts when he confesses to a priest, reminiscing how he has experienced such luck that he believes himself to be God's favorite- each time he takes more risks people tell him he went too far, but always seems to get away with it. In his marriage, he is constantly unfaithful to Felicidad 'Fela', notably with his mistress Vicky Amador. After public opinion, domestic and U.S., was scandalize by the brutal torture, rape and decapitation of generally respected Dr. Hugo Spadafora, he sees to it that the blame goes to President Nicky Barletta, only one year in office. When he feels forced to destroy a drug lab of the Medellin cartel he accepted payment from, even Fidel Castro tells him a ... Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

6 June 2001 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Noriega  »

Filming Locations:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Near the end of the movie, the Nuncio warns Noriega that if he isn't careful, he'll end up like Mussolini, strung up by his heels. Bob Hoskins, who played Noriega, had already met that fate in the 1985 movie biography of Mussolini, whom he played. See more »


Manuel Noriega: You want some friendly advice? I suggest you kill yourself.
Major Giroldi: That is against my religion.
Manuel Noriega: [smiles unpleasantly] Then give me your weapon, and place yourself in God's hands...
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User Reviews

More light entertainment than historical fact but is an interesting and fun movie
23 August 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

When the previous ruler dies in a plane crash, General Noriega seizes control of Panama despite having a history of corruption and cruelty. With connections to both drug cartels and the CIA, Noriega is a typically small-time 'tin-pot dictator' who finds himself being forced out of power by those around him until he takes it by force. With a battle of words and might with the US, Noriega gradually finds himself out of his depth as he tries to get more and more of what he wants.

I didn't know anything about Noriega before I watched this movie – in fact if I had known less then I might have assumed that this was a biopic about an American rapper! However the film opens with a 'history for dummies' about Panama and Noriega that helps set the scene for a story that is very simplistic and liberal with the facts but is still fun and interesting to watch. The film sweeps across Noriega's connections with cartels and the US and focuses more on his character than anything else. The sweep of facts means that it is difficult to trust it and it is not a film to watch if you wish to be well informed but it seems to touch on the bullet points as a vague summary and I found it valuable to take in the basics and learn a little if not a lot. The film pitches the film with an amusing air and it follows this through into the title character.

Here Noriega is a character of some comedy but not totally played for laughs. He is greedy, corrupt and desperate and, as such, could easily be any similar ruler of a small country! The film paints this character for entertainment rather than education but at times it manages to adopt a serious enough tone to avoid just being a bit of fluff. In fact it also injects humour into the role the US plays in the country and it is none too flattering in its depiction of the CIA etc. This is not to say that this is very real because I doubt that this is the full story as it should be told but it is enough to do the job. Hoskins was a strange choice but he does it quite well and is responsible for good a good job mixing the humour with the serious side even if he doesn't give a performance so much as a caricature of a small time dictator! The support cast is mostly good and has quite a few familiar faces but the film pretty much belongs to Hoskins.

Overall not a great film if you are looking for a factual story that you will learn from but it is an entertaining film that has enough basis in fact to be interesting and to give you a good overview of the man's story. The amusing tone makes for an enjoyable story and, although not a great performance, Hoskins does well to mix the comic with the serious and produce a film that is interesting and entertaining and worth seeing as long as you come prepared for the fact that it is far from being a factual historic film.

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