6.8/10
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19 user 2 critic

Zoot Suit (1981)

A kind of musical accompanying the story of the early 1940's and the effect that the "zoot suit" (a man's suit of long jacket and pegged pants, always worn with a long keychain that looped ... See full summary »

Director:

Luis Valdez

Writer:

Luis Valdez (play)
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Daniel Valdez Daniel Valdez ... Henry Reyna
Edward James Olmos ... El Pachuco
Charles Aidman ... George Shearer
Tyne Daly ... Alice Bloomfield
John Anderson ... Judge F.W. Charles
Abel Franco Abel Franco ... Enrique
Mike Gomez ... Joey / Jose Torres
Alma Martinez ... Lupe (as Alma Rosa Martínez)
Francis X. McCarthy ... Press (as Frank McCarthy)
Lupe Ontiveros ... Dolores
Ed Peck ... Lieutenant Edwards
Robert Phalen Robert Phalen ... District Attorney
Tony Plana ... Rudy
Rose Portillo ... Della
Marco Rodríguez ... Smiley / Ismael Torres
Edit

Storyline

A kind of musical accompanying the story of the early 1940's and the effect that the "zoot suit" (a man's suit of long jacket and pegged pants, always worn with a long keychain that looped almost to the ankle.... the rebellious fashion of young men) had on the morals and attitudes of the people of that era. Written by BOB STEBBINS <stebinsbob@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Musical

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

January 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Chicanos Story See more »

Filming Locations:

Prescott, Arizona, USA

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$63,356, 4 October 1981, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,256,082
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Sensurround

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character of Henry Reyna was based upon the real-life zoot-suiter Henry "Hank" Leyvas, who was tried and wrongfully convicted for first-degree murder of Jose Diaz, after an incident on 1 August 1942. The film and the play that preceded it conformed to the facts of the actual case. The appeals court overturned the earlier verdict and Reyna and his friends were set free in 1945, following the Zoot Suit Riots and the banning of zoot suits in Los Angeles (courtesy of the Los Angeles City Council) in 1944. Many futures and outcomes for Reyna were given in the film and the play. In real life, Leyvas was convicted some years later for selling drugs. He served ten years and was released, and soon opened a family restaurant. He died of a heart attack in 1971. See more »

Quotes

Henry Reyna: I was supposed to report to the Navy tomorrow!
El Pachuco: They'd give you those tight pants to make your ass look like an apricot.
Henry Reyna: So what business is it of yours? It's my ass!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film opens with the 1940's Universal logo. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Zenaida
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Daniel Valdez
See more »

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User Reviews

An intense, moving musical drama about overcoming prejudice
4 October 2001 | by gaynor.wildSee all my reviews

This is one of the best statements, made musically, about anti-Mexican-American prejudice ever made. It is set in Los Angeles, during World War 2, when young 'chicanos' or 'pachucos' used the unique style of the zoot suit to set themselves off, and establish a florid machismo. Some of the plot is based on an actual incident. The movie is made as if showing a staged 'play,' in front of an 'audience,' in order to make particular statements about the way things appear to be. Edward James Olmos is the spirit of Pachuco, haunting Henry Reyna, the central character. We are brought to feel intensely both the striving for self-expression of the chicano youth, and the intense prejudice (based, as always, on ignorance) of the larger anglo society against them. Those of us who are anglos also come to identify with the anglos in the story who genuinely care for them and for justice. Four stars, especially for anyone from the southwest who is not a bigot.


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