7.7/10
4,544
52 user 26 critic

El Norte (1983)

R | | Drama | 27 January 1984 (USA)
Trailer
1:33 | Trailer
Peasants escaping mindless labor and a murderous Guatemalan government head to America in hopes for something better.

Director:

Gregory Nava

Writers:

Gregory Nava (story), Anna Thomas
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ernesto Gómez Cruz ... Arturo
David Villalpando ... Enrique
Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez ... Rosa
Alicia del Lago Alicia del Lago ... Lupe
Mike Gomez ... Informer
Jose Martin Ruano Jose Martin Ruano ... Foreman
Stella Quan Stella Quan ... Josefita
Heraclio Zepeda Heraclio Zepeda ... Pedro (as Eraclio Zapeda)
Emilio Gomez Ozuna Emilio Gomez Ozuna ... Luis
Daniel Lemus Valenzuela Daniel Lemus Valenzuela ... Encarnacion
Rodrigo Puebla Rodrigo Puebla ... El Puma the Soldier
Yosahandi Navarrete Quan Yosahandi Navarrete Quan ... Josefita's Daughter
Rodolfo De Alexandre Rodolfo De Alexandre ... Ramon
Emilio Del Haro Emilio Del Haro ... Truck Driver
Jorge Moreno ... Old Man on Bus
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Storyline

Peasants, tired of beingnothing more than manual laborers, are discovered by the Guatemalan army. After the army destroys their village, a brother and sister, decide they must flee el Norte. After receiving help from friends and advice from a veteran immigrant on strategies for traveling, they make their way to Los Angeles. Written by Ed Cannon <ecannon@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The magical film that reveals the world between the dream and the reality

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

Spanish | Maya | English

Release Date:

27 January 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El Norte See more »

Filming Locations:

Guatemala City, Guatemala See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$27,920, 15 September 2019

Gross USA:

$27,920

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$27,920
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The immigration office scene was shot in an actual immigration office in California. David Villalpando and Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez were legitimately anxious while filming this scene, because they did not have official working papers that would have permitted them to work legally in the United States and were only carrying travel visas. Fortunately, none of the actual immigration officers second-guessed. See more »

Goofs

When Enrique sees that Rosa has died, for a couple seconds we still see her breathing. See more »

Quotes

Border patrol officer 1: [to Enrique and Rosa in Spanish] Do you know how to read and write?
Rosa Xuncax: [to Enrique in Mayan] Why does he want to know that?
Enrique Xuncax: [to Rosa in Mayan] I don't know, but I think it's a trick. We'd better lie.
Border patrol officer 2: What are they saying?
Border patrol officer 1: I don't know. They're not speaking Spanish. They must be speaking some kind of Indian language.
Border patrol officer 2: Well, what the fuck good are you?
Enrique Xuncax: [to the officer in Spanish] No, we can't read or write.
Border patrol officer 1: They don't know how to read and write.
Border patrol officer 2: Well, that's some great system you got there.
Border patrol officer 1: Okay.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Shawshank Redemption (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Emperor Waltz
by Johann Strauss
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Deeply moving film--highly recommended
5 December 2003 | by enddustSee all my reviews

I saw El Norte (The North) some years ago when my then girlfriend (whose father was from Mexico) rented the video and made me watch it. I'm glad she did. It covers the very basic quest story of a brother and a sister who flee Guatemala (where the indigenous population was being exterminated) through Mexico to try and find a new life in the US. Along the way they encounter all the setbacks you would imagine, including a few you don't expect. This is a serious and dramatic film that is also not afraid to find the humor that can still occur in the midst of deep struggle.

I understand that this movie was made on a shoestring and at times it shows. But the story and the acting more than carry the day. Its creative team (Gregory Nava and his wife Anna Thomas) are also responsible for the movies Selena and Mi Familia (among others), both excellent films. I think that the real history of most people living on the earth, who live ordinary lives and struggle against sometimes oppressive forces outside their control, has largely gone unwritten. In its own small way, this movie begins to make up the deficit.

Excellent--highly recommended


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