86 user 59 critic

Buena Vista Social Club (1999)

1:36 | Trailer
Aging Cuban musicians whose talents had been virtually forgotten following Castro's takeover of Cuba, are brought out of retirement by Ry Cooder, who travelled to Havana in order to bring the musicians together, resulting in triumphant performances of extraordinary music, and resurrecting the musicians' careers.


Wim Wenders


Wim Wenders (by), Nick Gold (original concept)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 21 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Octavio Calderon Octavio Calderon ... Self - Musician
Joachim Cooder Joachim Cooder ... Self
Ry Cooder ... Self
Angel Terry Domech Angel Terry Domech ... Self
Ibrahim Ferrer ... Self
Ibrahim Ferrer Jr. Ibrahim Ferrer Jr. ... Self
Manuel Galbán Manuel Galbán ... Self - Musician
Hugo Garzón Hugo Garzón ... Self
Carlos Gonzalez Carlos Gonzalez ... Self
Juan de Marcos González Juan de Marcos González ... Self
Rubén González Rubén González ... Self
Pío Leyva Pío Leyva ... Self
Manuel 'Puntillita' Licea Manuel 'Puntillita' Licea ... Self
Orlando 'Cachaíto' López ... Self
Manuel 'Guajiro' Mirabal ... Self


A group of legendary Cuban musicians, some as old as their nineties, were brought together by Ry Cooder to record a CD. In this film, we see and hear some of the songs being recorded in Havana. There is also footage from concerts in Amsterdam and New York City's Carnegie Hall. In addition, many of the individual musicians talk about their lives in Cuba and about how they got started in music. Written by George S. Davis

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Cubas Poesie Cubas Musik, Cubas Menschen, Cubas Poesie [The music of Cuba, the people of Cuba, the poetry of Cuba] See more »


Documentary | Music


G | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The sequence in the cigar factory was filmed without a permit. See more »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Jack Black/The Strokes (2002) See more »


Chattanooga Choo Choo
Written by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon (as Mark Gordon)
Published by EMI Feist Catalog Inc.
See more »

User Reviews

Give Ry Cooder a break!
14 March 2003 | by rogar131See all my reviews

So a man who chases an enthusiasm for Cuban music and ends up spending his own resources to record and popularize a bunch of musicians who would have died in obscurity otherwise, takes great pains to present the music in a relatively unaltered state (unlike some such other world music experimenters like Sting and Paul Simon), and even removes much of his own contributions from the recording mix, is a self-aggrandizing cultural imperialist. The proof of the man's real intentions lies on the disc, an understated and moving documentation of a era that got plowed under by the cold war.

As for the film, indeed it's not perfect. It would be nice to have full songs, but they decided not to go with a strict concert film and concentrate on the project and the stories behind it. If you want more, the CD is easily available and highly recommended. When I saw this movie at the Lincoln Plaza cinema in Manhattan, I decided when the movie ended to trek over a few blocks to the local record store to see if they had the Cd in stock, As I walked down the street, I noticed that most of the people who had just seen the film were going the same way, and indeed, appeared to have the same idea I did (it was a packed show, by the way). It is perhaps a weakness of the film that it depends on the album for it's interest and power, but it is a loving document of the process.

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Official Sites:

PBS [United States]


Germany | USA | UK | France | Cuba


English | Spanish

Release Date:

4 June 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Havana Rhapsody See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$127,370, 6 June 1999

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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