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Che: Part One (2008)

Not Rated  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  24 January 2009 (USA)
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In 1956, Ernesto 'Che' Guevara and a band of Castro-led Cuban exiles mobilize an army to topple the regime of dictator Fulgencio Batista.



(screenplay), (memoir "Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War")
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Interpreter (as Óscar Isaac)
Pablo Guevara ...
Dinner Guest #1
Franklin Díaz ...
Dinner Guest #2
Armando Suárez Cobián ...
Dinner Guest #3
María Isabel Díaz ...
María Antonia
Mateo Gómez ...
Cuban Diplomat #1
Héctor (as Ramón Fernández)
Alejandro Ramírez (as Yul Vázquez)
Jose Caro ...
Esteban (as José Caro)
Pedro Adorno ...
Epifanío Díaz
Jorge Sotús (as Jsu García)


The Argentine, begins as Che and a band of Cuban exiles (led by Fidel Castro) reach the Cuban shore from Mexico in 1956. Within two years, they mobilized popular support and an army and toppled the U.S.-friendly regime of dictator Fulgencio Batista. Written by anonymous

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Release Date:

24 January 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Che  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$61,070 (USA) (12 December 2008)


$1,731,665 (USA) (15 May 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film is a tribute to the Marxist notion of advancement through two conflicting ideas, known as dialectics, with its division into halves, with two tempos, two color schemes, two aspect ratios and two approaches to chronology. Each half focuses on a different revolution, both fundamentally the same in theory but vastly different in outcome. See more »


There is a running camera shot at the UN of national flags, the current Canadian flag is displayed but it was first introduced in 1965, the movie scene is suppose to take place in 1964. See more »


[upon hearing that Batista has fled Cuba]
Ernesto Che Guevara: Nobody is going home on leave. We have only won the war. The revolution has just begun.
See more »


Follows Che: Part Two (2008) See more »


Oru de Igbodú Para Yemayá: Obatalá
Performed by Conjunto de Tambores Batá de Amado Diaz Alfonso
From the recording entitled "Sacred Rhythms of Cuban Santeria, S F40419"
Provided courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
(c) 1995. Used by Permission
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Rebel, rebel- this film is heavy…
30 January 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

He was a revolutionary fighter, a doctor, a social philosopher and a martyr who turned to armed warfare as a 'necessary' means of stamping out the foreign complexities, poverty and injustice that had bled South America for centuries. He was a Marxist, a writer, a guerrilla and a diplomat who rose to prominence as a leader of Fidel Castro's radical '26th of July Movement': a left wing political party that launched an armed invasion of Cuba rapt on toppling U.S backed dictator Fulgencio Batista. This historical revolt: the focal point of director Steven Soderbergh's enduring, coarse and superbly crafted part one of two biopic. A sometimes bitty, sometimes brilliant hand-held epic that succeeds in its failure to fall into the consumer culture camp that's exploited Ernesto 'Che' Guevara's image now for so long.

Steven Soderbergh refrains, then, from counteracting the magnitude of Che: Part One's dense political platform by ramping up the fireworks. This wont appeal to mainstream viewers. This is not a Cuban Braveheart. This is not some twisted Scarface prequel. There will be no post-movie pop-art. Che: Part One is an intelligent and vital take on the man behind the myth not a balls-to-the-wall action spectacle blaring with blood, bullets and CGI. It's a thorough and naturalistic treatise on iconic human drive and endeavour that infrequently shuttles between monochrome and Technicolor, between Che Guevara's 1964 delegation at the UN headquarters and time spent trudging through the Cuban jungle.

If your understanding of certain political ideals and movements are, at best, hazy- then it's best to steer clear of this one. You're likely are likely to find the first serving of Soderbergh's four-and-a-half-hour, two part political epic a little confusing. This ain't no Hollywood funded, slick and stylish, over-dramatic chronicle concerned with entertainment or income. This isn't 'Defiance' or 'Valkrye'. This is a well-researched, claustrophobic and paced political drama (shot in Spanish) where spurts of action, violence and humour are few and far between. Imagine Oliver Stone's 'Salvador' by the way of Terrance Mallick's 'The Thin Red Line': fragmented, anti-mainstream and very heavy-going.

The bravura Benicio Del Toro stars as Che and is quite excellent. He delivers a focused and unwavering performance worthy of a thousand accolades: his finest since '21 Grams'. The fact that Del Toro is fluent in Spanish also helps, as does a rallying and unknown supporting cast that work well as a low-key ensemble. It's all about Del Toro, though. His insurgent, intense and convincing Che is one marred by crippling bouts of asthma yet defined by a burning desire to educate and reform- to put his litigious beliefs into action and unite Latin America.

With Che: Part One, the diligent Steven Soderbergh has found his blend of realism and narrative, documentary and drama. As an avid Che fan and reader of his books and biographies, there is little doubt in my mind that this monumental work will stand as the first piece in the definitive two part screen portrait of one the twentieth century's most iconic, yet largely uncharted, political figures.

Final Verdict: While lesser films wallow in the limelight, Che: Part One stirs understated in the shadows seemingly content with the fact that it wont appeal to all, or many. Steven Soderbergh has crafted a very loyal and well-made biopic. One that demythologises, one that educates, one that excels and ensues Walter Salle's soul-searching Che preface: The Motorcycle Diaries.

27 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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