7.6/10
2,464
26 user 34 critic

Men with Guns (1997)

Humberto Fuentes is a wealthy doctor whose wife has recently died. In spite of the advice of his children, he takes a trip to visit his former students who now work in impoverished villages... See full summary »

Director:

John Sayles

Writer:

John Sayles
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Limbo (1999)
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In an economically devastated Alaskan town, a fisherman with a troublesome past dates a woman whose young daughter does not approve of him. When he witnesses the murder of his shady brother, he, the woman and the kid run to the wilderness.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: David Strathairn, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Vanessa Martinez
Passion Fish (1992)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

After an accident leaves her a paraplegic, a former soap opera star struggles to recover both emotionally and mentally, until she meets her newest nurse, who has struggles of her own.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Mary McDonnell, Alfre Woodard, Angela Bassett
Silver City (2004)
Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

The discovery of a corpse threatens to unravel a bumbling local politician's campaign for governor of Colorado.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Chris Cooper, Thora Birch, Maria Bello
Matewan (1987)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A labor union organizer comes to an embattled mining community brutally and violently dominated and harassed by the mining company.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Chris Cooper, James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell
Lone Star (1996)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

When the skeleton of his murdered predecessor is found, Sheriff Sam Deeds unearths many other long-buried secrets in his Texas border town.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Peña, Stephen Mendillo
City of Hope (1991)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An intersecting tale with a multitude of characters living lives which, in one way or another, revolve around an old apartment block scheduled to be demolished.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Vincent Spano, Tony Lo Bianco, Stephen Mendillo
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A woman and her new husband returns to her hometown roots in coastal northern Florida, and must deal with family, business, and encroaching real estate development.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Angela Bassett, Edie Falco, Alex Lewis
Comedy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A mute alien with the appearance of a black human is chased by outer-space bounty hunters through the streets of Harlem.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Joe Morton, Daryl Edwards, Rosanna Carter
Honeydripper (2007)
Crime | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

1950. Rural Alabama. Cotton harvest. It's a make-or-break weekend for the Honeydripper Lounge and its owner, piano player Tyrone "Pine Top" Purvis. Deep in debt to the liquor man, the ... See full summary »

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Danny Glover, LisaGay Hamilton, Yaya DaCosta
Amigo (2010)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A fictional account of events during the Philippine-American War.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Joel Torre, Chris Cooper, Garret Dillahunt
Eight Men Out (1988)
Drama | History | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A dramatization of the Black Sox scandal when the underpaid Chicago White Sox accepted bribes to deliberately lose the 1919 World Series.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: John Cusack, Clifton James, Michael Lerner
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Fontayne is enlisted by Bernice - her estranged old friend and current parole officer - along with a disgraced cop to search for Bernice's son, who went missing on the Mexican border.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: LisaGay Hamilton, Yolonda Ross, Edward James Olmos
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Federico Luppi ... Dr. Fuentes
Damián Delgado ... Domingo, the Soldier
Dan Rivera González Dan Rivera González ... Conejo, the Boy
Tania Cruz Tania Cruz ... Graciela, the Mute Girl
Damián Alcázar ... Padre Portillo, the Priest
Mandy Patinkin ... Andrew
Kathryn Grody ... Harriet
Iguandili López Iguandili López ... Mother
Nandi Luna Ramírez Nandi Luna Ramírez ... Daughter
Rafael de Quevedo Rafael de Quevedo ... General
Carmen Madrid Carmen Madrid ... Angela, Dr. Fuentes' Daughter
Esteban Soberanes Esteban Soberanes ... Raúl, Angela's Fiancé
Alejandro Springall ... Carlos, Dr. Fuentes' Son
Maricruz Nájera Maricruz Nájera ... Rich Lady
Roberto Sosa ... Bravo
Edit

Storyline

Humberto Fuentes is a wealthy doctor whose wife has recently died. In spite of the advice of his children, he takes a trip to visit his former students who now work in impoverished villages. His trip soon becomes a quest, politically awakening him when he finds out that one of his students was killed by the army. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some violent images | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Sony Classics

Country:

USA | Mexico

Language:

Spanish | Italian | English | Nahuatl | Maya | Tzotzil | Kuna

Release Date:

27 March 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hombres armados See more »

Filming Locations:

Mexico

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$2,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$22,132, 8 March 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$742,032, 26 April 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

John Sayles wrote his first draft in Spanish, the second in English and then polished it back into Spanish for his third draft. See more »

Quotes

Barber's Client: Nobody refuses the men with guns.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 56th Annual Golden Globe Awards (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Cumbia de Menor
Written by Raphael Coides
Performed by Lito Barrientos y Su Orquestra
Courtesy of Disco Fuentes Ltd.
By Arrangement with Vedisco Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Magical realism but little realism and no magic
26 May 2003 | by Howard SchumannSee all my reviews

In John Sayles, 1997 film Men With Guns, a widowed doctor, Humberto Fuentes (Fernando Luppi) leaves his practice in an unnamed Latin American country to search for medical students he trained to be doctors in Indian villages under the "Alliance for Progress". Filmed almost entirely in Spanish with English subtitles and based on stories by Francisco Goldman, the film is a fictional adventure story but suggestive of real events. Sayles has said, "As I was writing it, I made sure that almost all of the incidents are based on events that have happened somewhere else, almost to the exact detail."

Naively unconvinced that there is any danger from a guerilla war in the interior, Dr. Fuentes travels to remote areas to discover his "legacy". Soon he finds out the reality. His tires are removed, his wallet is stolen, his life is threatened, and he cannot get any information because people won't speak to him out of fear. He sees starving people, destroyed villages, and people who have lost their hope, while the world is ignorant of what is taking place. Dr. Fuentes picks up several travelling companions along the way; and learns more about the struggles they have endured. Each has lost something close to them. Domingo (Damian Delgado), a soldier has deserted his army, Conejo (Dan Rivera Gonzales), a very wise young boy has lost his parents, an ex-priest Padre Portillo (Damian Alcazar) has lost his faith, and a native woman has lost her voice after being raped by soldiers.

At the first village, a blind woman tells Dr. Fuentes that the "men killed one of his students with guns". When he asks her the reason, she says simply, "Because they had guns and we didn't". The film clearly shows the powerlessness of the Indians and peasants caught in the middle of a conflict they do not want to be involved in. Sayles shows peasants as little more than commodities who are used by the system: the Salt people, the Sugar people, the Coffee, Banana and Gum people, all surviving at subsistence level because of economic conditions beyond their control. The doctor finds out that it does not matter who is threatening the people, they are all just "men with guns" and Indians are just as capable of cruelty against their own people as government soldiers. Fuentes discovers that some of his students have been killed but keeps going from village to village to look for the rest. His expectations, however, are met only with one grim story after another. Weary but not despairing, he and his traveling companions set out on one last journey, a spiritual quest to find a city hidden in the rainforest called Circle of Heaven where the air is clear and there are no guns.

Men With Guns has a point to make but makes it early and often and there is little suspense or plot development in the last half of the film. Mr. Sayles has wisely kept the story as generic as possible but there is no indication of what the issues are or what the conflict is all about. It is well known that civilians and "innocent bystanders" are often the biggest victims in war. Beyond that, what is the film saying? Is it that resistance movements who might be fighting an uphill battle against a brutal dictator should lay down their arms? Aside from the problems I had with the issues, the characters come across as types rather than real people. Oblivious American tourists, played by Mandy Patinkin and Kathryn Grody, are too laughable to even warrant being called stereotypes. Though credit must be given for tackling a subject that most filmmakers would rather not hear about, Men With Guns is overlong and lacking in dramatic impact. Eventually, it veers off into magical realism with much self-consciousness but little realism and no magic.


17 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 26 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed