American Playhouse (1980–1994)
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The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez 

The retelling of an incident in Gonzales, Texas in 1901 revolving around a stolen horse, mistaken identity and a killing. An unusual story of the all too usual exploitation of the powerless in Texas History.

Director:

Robert M. Young
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Edward James Olmos ... Gregorio Cortez
James Gammon ... Sheriff Frank Fly
Tom Bower ... Boone Choate
Bruce McGill ... Reporter Blakely
Brion James ... Captain Rogers
Alan Vint ... Mike Trimmell
Timothy Scott ... Sheriff Morris
Pepe Serna ... Romaldo Cortez
Michael McGuire ... Sheriff Glover
William Sanderson ... Cowboy
Barry Corbin ... Abernathy
Jack Kehoe ... Prosecutor Pferson
Rosanna DeSoto ... Carlota Muñoz
Buddy Vigil Buddy Vigil ... Skin
Zach Porter Zach Porter ... Fly's Posse
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Storyline

The entire cause of the problem evolves from the use of a deputy to translate. His command of Spanish is inadequate and he mistranslates what a witness tells the sheriff as to whether the real perpetrator of the crime is riding a mare (yegua) or a male horse (caballo). This error results in destroying a family and the death of an innocent man. Written by Dave Anderson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The true story of one man who made a difference.


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The author of the book, Américo Paredes, hated this movie. According to Paredes, Gregorio Cortez did not shed one tear while he was in jail and yet, Cortez cries in the movie. Anytime someone would ask him his thoughts about the movie, he would be so angry about it that he would refuse to discuss the movie and instead, would have his wife tell them why he disliked it. See more »

Goofs

In the movie Cortez appears to be riding to the border through the Texas Hill Country, traversing high hills covered in cedar with low mountains in the background, and arrives near the Rio Grande in a mountainous area - obviously in West Texas. In reality, Cortez rode south from Karnes County and was captured near El Sauz in Starr County, mostly flat area with very low hills, if any, then known as "the wild horse desert" filled with prickly pear cactus and mesquite - not at all like the countryside depicted in the movie. See more »

Quotes

Boone Choate: Well, you know how it is in this business. One slipup... adios!
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Connections

Referenced in Spy Kids (2001) See more »

User Reviews

 
A film deserving re-discovery-- a gritty allegory of bilingualism
10 September 2000 | by jwarthen-3See all my reviews

Robert Young is an American director whose fitful opportunities to direct nearly always has turned up singular results. This treatment of the legend of a master horseman who evaded capture during weeks of vigilante pursuit shows Young's usual care with milieu, historical detail, and shadings of character. Olmos is a splendid icon in the lead, but the revelation is James Gammon, who never had a better film role, and the supporting cast is studded with fine character actors (including two who come over w/Olmos from the BLADE RUNNER set to appear here). A climactic scene, involving a female translator working between law and prisoner in a tiny cell, has stayed in my mind for 18 years for its depiction of a heartbreaking communion between adversaries. But Young knows what Westerns do best-- trains and horses, the two most cinematic subjects in the world-- and they're both here in aces.


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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

29 June 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Balada de Gregorio Cortez See more »

Filming Locations:

Cerrillos, New Mexico, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,305,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,477, 21 August 1983

Gross USA:

$804,963

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$804,963
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color
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