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Miss Bala (2011)

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After entering a beauty contest in Tijuana, a young woman witnesses drug-related murders and is forced to do the gang's bidding.


3 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Laura Guerrero
Juan Carlos Galván ...
Arturo Guerrero
Noé Hernández ...
Lino Valdez
Jessica Verduzo
Javier Zaragoza ...
Ramón Guerrero
Azucena 'Suzu' Ramos
Kike Cámara
Leonor Victorica ...
Luisa Janes
Gabriel Heads ...
Agent Bell
Hugo Márquez ...
Javi Fernández
Miguel Couturier ...
General Salomón Duarte
Eduardo Mendizábal ...
Sergio Gómez Padilla ...
Felipe Morales ...


At 23, Laura Guerro and her friend Suzu enter the Miss Baja pageant. Both qualify, and while Laura waits at a nightclub for Suzu to break away so they can go shopping, a heavily-armed drug gang murders drug enforcement officials there. Laura escapes unharmed but can't find Suzu, so the next day she looks for her; her dogged behavior brings her to the cartel's attention, and they force her to assist them as they menace her father and younger brother. Lino, the gang's leader, decides Laura should finish the pageant although her only interest is escape. Every day drags her deeper and corruption is pervasive. What alternative is there to death or prison? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some brutal violence and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

9 September 2011 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

Miss Bala: I vasilissa tis omorfias  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The character of Laura Guerrero was loosely based on Mexican model and beauty queen, Laura Zúñiga. On December 22, 2008, Laura Zúñiga along with seven men were arrested for narco-trafficking ties in Zapopan, Jalisco. See more »


Remade as Miss Bala See more »


Written by Emilio Kauderer
See more »

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User Reviews

"Eloquent, stylistic and dramatic..."
15 March 2013 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

Mexican screenwriter, producer and director Gerardo Naranjo's fourth feature film which he co-wrote with screenwriter Mauricio Katz, is inspired by real events in the life of a Mexican model and beauty pageant winner named Láura Zúñiga. It premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the 64th Cannes International Film Festival in 2011, was shot on locations in Mexico and is a Mexican production which was produced by producer Pablo Cruz. It tells the story about a 23-year-old woman named Laura Guerrero who lives with her father and younger brother Artoruro in the state of Tijuana, Bala California in Mexico. Laura enters a beauty contest called Miss Baja California with her friend Jessica at a place called Millennium, but whilst they are getting ready to go home a group of organized criminals surrounds the building.

Distinctly and brilliantly directed by Mexican filmmaker Gerardo Naranjo, this finely paced fictional tale which is narrated almost entirely from the main character's point of view, draws an instantly moving portrayal of a Mexican woman who unwillingly gets pulled into a drug trafficking war. While notable for its naturalistic milieu depictions, fine art direction by art director Ivonne Fuentes, sterling cinematography by cinematographer Matyas Erdely and use of sound, this character-driven and narrative-driven story depicts a somewhat sparse and engaging study of character.

This at times riveting action-drama which is set in in the westernmost city of Mexico in the early 21st century during an ongoing drug war between rivalling drug cartels and Mexican government forces and where a woman who wishes to win a contest so that she can give her brother a good education is taken hostage, is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative structure, substantial character development, prominent style of filmmaking and the fine and understated acting performance by Mexican actress Stephanie Sigman. An eloquent, stylistic and dramatic thriller.

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