23 user 53 critic

Cocaine Cowboys (2006)

In the 1980s, ruthless Colombian cocaine barons invaded Miami with a brand of violence unseen in this country since Prohibition-era Chicago - and it put the city on the map. "Cocaine ... See full summary »


Billy Corben





Cast overview, first billed only:
Jon Roberts Jon Roberts ... Self
Al Sunshine Al Sunshine ... Self
Sam Burstyn Sam Burstyn ... Self - Criminal Defense Attorney
Mickey Munday Mickey Munday ... Self / Tow Truck Driver
Bob Palumbo Bob Palumbo ... Self - Special Agent, Drug Enforcement Administration (as Bob Palombo)
Toni Mooney Toni Mooney ... Self - Jon Robert's Ex-Girlfriend
Edna Buchanan Edna Buchanan ... Self - Former Crime Reporter, Miami Herald
Joseph Davis Joseph Davis ... Self - Former Chief Medical Examiner, Miami-Dade County (as Dr. Joseph Davis)
Al Singleton Al Singleton ... Self - Homicide Detective, Miami-Dade Police Department
Louis Caruso Louis Caruso ... Self - Criminal Defense Attorney (as Louis Casuso)
Raul Diaz Raul Diaz ... Self - Former Narcotics Detective, Miami-Dade Police Department
Jorge Ayala Jorge Ayala ... Self - Enforcer (as Jorge 'Rivi' Ayala)
Nelson Andreu Nelson Andreu ... Self - Retired Homicide Detective, Miami Police Department
Conrad Gomez Conrad Gomez ... Assassin
Kelly Hughes Kelly Hughes ... Radio Room Girl


In the 1980s, ruthless Colombian cocaine barons invaded Miami with a brand of violence unseen in this country since Prohibition-era Chicago - and it put the city on the map. "Cocaine Cowboys" is the true story of how Miami became the drug, murder and cash capital of the United States, told by the people who made it all happen. Written by rakontur

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The incredible true story that inspired "Scarface" and "Miami Vice".

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing graphic crime images, drug material and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Blanco was killed by two gunmen on a motorcycle as she walked out of a butcher shop in her hometown, Medellín, on September 3, 2012. The Miami Herald cites El Colombiano newspaper reports that one man fired two bullets into her head, executing her in the type of "motorcycle assassination" she has been credited with inventing. See more »


Griselda Blanco: [Last Title card] Griselda Blanco was released from prison on June 6, 2004.
See more »


References The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight (1971) See more »

User Reviews

Fast-paced and entertaining retelling of Miami's 'Cocaine Wars'
20 April 2017 | by tomgillespie2002See all my reviews

Anyone familiar with the story of Pablo Escobar and the Medellin Cartel will know how the mass manufacturing and distribution of cocaine turned Colombia into a war zone, with top politicians and judges routinely assassinated, and gang wars spilling violence onto the streets on a daily basis. Billy Corben's documentary Cocaine Cowboys focuses on the effect the most fashionable drug of the 80s had on Miami, which was the main entry point for masses of imported cocaine. Soon enough, the city once seen as the holiday spot for retired old folks was turned into the richest place in the world, with luxury car dealerships and expensive jewellery shops popping up all over, and of course, lots and lots of banks. The sudden boom was all down to cocaine consumption, and this came with a heavy price.

Corben tells the story using a variety of interviews, news reports, archive footage and photographs, lending a voice to everyone from smugglers, enforcers, politicians and law enforcement. The most fascinating insight is given by pilots Jon Roberts and Mickey Munday, who decided to get into the drug trade early on, making an unfathomable fortune in the process. They offer entertaining anecdotes about their experiences, and were making so much money that they lived in little fear of getting caught, even buying their own airports to import the goods in complete secrecy. Roberts and Munday were just regular guys who never dreamed that they could ever become so wealthy, and made sure to enjoy the high-life while it lasted. The main threat came from the cartel itself, which was so powerful and far-reaching that one foot out of line and you were dead, often by way of horrific torture.

The film's final third focuses heavily on the 'Cocaine Wars' that became so out-of-hand and brazen that it led to military intervention. This segment is told through the recollections of the deceptively charming inmate Jorge 'Rivi' Ayala, a former hit-man for crime family matriarch Griselda Blanco - known as the 'Godmother' - a woman capable of unspeakable cruelty and brutality. If she didn't like your face, you were a goner, and often entire families, including young children, were wiped out in order to leave no witnesses. It's a mind-blowing tale of how one drug can have such a devastating effect on a country, and it's told in a fast-paced, almost coked-up fashion, with the clever use of subtle animation to make stills feel alive, and a wealth of shocking and revealing archive footage to paint a clear picture of a city in crisis. A 'Reloaded' edition was released in 2014, which adds over 30 minutes of footage and provides updates on some of the subjects. I've seen both, and the original, shorter version tells a much tighter story.

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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

23 November 2007 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Cocaine Cowboys - Die wahre Geschichte hinter Scarface und Miami Vice See more »

Filming Locations:

Miami, Florida, USA


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$36,295, 29 October 2006

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Rakontur See more »
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Technical Specs


| (short) | (Reloaded edition)


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