304 user 343 critic

Savages (2012)

2:31 | Trailer
Pot growers Ben and Chon face off against the Mexican drug cartel who kidnapped their shared girlfriend.


Oliver Stone


Shane Salerno (screenplay), Don Winslow (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
2,197 ( 279)
7 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Blake Lively ... O
Taylor Kitsch ... Chon
Aaron Taylor-Johnson ... Ben (as Aaron Johnson)
Jana Banker Jana Banker ... Volleyball Girl
Candra Docherty Candra Docherty ... Grow House Girl
Nana Ghana ... Bicycle Delivery Girl (as Nana Agyapong)
Gary Stretch ... Bad Ass Biker
Benicio Del Toro ... Lado
Diego Cataño ... Esteban
Shea Whigham ... Chad
Karishma Ahluwalia ... Chad's Girlfriend
Joaquín Cosio ... El Azul
John Travolta ... Dennis
Jonathan Carr Jonathan Carr ... Valet
Demián Bichir ... Alex


In California, the former Navy SEAL Chon and his best friend, the peaceful botanist Ben, are successful entrepreneurs producing and dealing high-quality weed. Chon brought seeds from Afghanistan and Ben used his knowledge to develop the best marijuana in the country. Chon and Ben share the pothead lover Ophelia and she loves both of them since they complete each other - Chon is a powerful and strong lover and Ben is a sensible and loving lover. Their comfortable life changes when the Mexican Baja Cartel demands a partnership in their business. Chon and Ben refuse the deal and the leader of the cartel Elena sends her right-arm in America, Lado, to abduct Ophelia to press the American drug dealers. Chon and Ben ask the support of the dirty DEA Agent Dennis and get inside information to begin a secret war against the Baja Cartel to release Ophelia. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Young. Beautiful. Deadly.


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong brutal and grisly violence, some graphic sexuality, nudity, drug use and language throughout | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Uma Thurman, John Travolta's costar from Pulp Fiction (1994) and Be Cool (2005) was cast as "Paqu," O's mother, but her scenes were cut from the movie. See more »


After Chon stabs Dennis' hand, the scar appliance on Chon's right neck has torn away from his skin. See more »


[first lines]
O: [voice-over] Just because I'm telling you this story doesn't mean I'm alive at the end of it. This could all be pre-recorded and I could be talking to you from the bottom of the ocean. Yeah, it's that kind of a story. Because things just got so out of control.
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Alternate Versions

The Region 1 and Region A Blu-ray have a extended edition of the film. See more »


Referenced in Knight of Cups (2015) See more »


Do Ya
Written and Performed by Jeff Lynne
Courtesy of Big Trilby Records
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User Reviews

Entertaining, If A Bit Lackluster
6 July 2012 | by cadillac20See all my reviews

Oh, Oliver Stone. There was a time when Stone was a gigantic name in cinema. When a Stone movie came out, you knew what your were getting. But in the past several years since Any Given Sunday, things have changed. Where a new Stone film was something of an event, Stone being one of only a couple handfuls of directors who were really recognized in major cinemas, now we get films from the director that are fairly forgettable. Alexander, World Trade Center, W., Wall Street 2. These films all have one thing in common: mediocrity. Sadly, Savages can get added to that list. Now don't get me wrong, it's an entertaining film, but it's also wholly forgettable.

Firstly, I will say that Stone is still a master of the craft. Savages is directed with purpose and Stone brings out the best in his actors. But it's the story he's working with that never really shines. The film feels a bit slow. There's never any real tension involved, even if it isn't all that predictable. When we expect that there should be more action, the film barely has any. When we expect that we should anticipate more envelope pushing, the film shy's away. Where I expected to wince, grip the edge of my seat, and wait in anticipation of the next event, I found myself somewhat lulled by the lack of anticipation and tension. It really just does not exist, which is sad, because this is a film that had a lot of potential to be very exciting.

Now, I realize this is based on a novel, and having not read it, it's possible the film plays out the way the novel does. And we certainly get some great scenes and actors out of this. Our leads are likable, particularly Ben. Yes, they're criminals, but you never really feel like they're trying to do any real evil. In fact, Ben is such a likable guy that when you see what he inevitably has to do, you don't want him to make those choices, even when he has to make them. Chon is played almost polar opposite, and it works just as well. Even though he's cold and brutal, he's still likable in his loyalty to his friends and his realism. He's not the nice guy Ben is, but he's definitely the second half you know both Ben and O need. I'll get to O in a minute, but both Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch, two of the three youngest of the cast do a respectable job in their characters and are enjoyable to watch as they feel like a real family, much less friends. The rest of the cast bring their A game, with Travolta playing a dirty cop and Benecio Del Toro playing up his brutal, yet laid back enforcer. However, the truly shining star here is Salma Hayek, who gets the best character. Hayek's Elena is the most well rounded character, showing the sides of a brutal crime lord, a woman who still seems like she needs to prove herself while being surrounded by men, and a vulnerable mother who both wants a relationship with her estranged daughter, yet is proud to see her shun the family business and build a life of her own. It's a complicated role and Hayek excels in it.

This brings me to the one, glaring issue: O. Now, I like this character to an extent. As played by Blake Lively, she is a great anchor between the two lead males. However, she plays the character so inconsistently that I couldn't really get behind her. For one thing, throughout the entire film, we had to listen to her monologue and voice over the events going on. I don't mind a little narration here and there, but there's far too much and none of it is all that fantastically written. O is also an inconsistent character. She seems fairly level and grounded early on, but once she's kidnapped, we find her a whiny, rich brat making demands. She also seems to accept her situation a little too graciously. Of course, she's also treated with quite a bit of hospitality. Now, I don't know what other people's idea of the Mexican Cartel is, but the civility demonstrated here is not nearly as brutal or frightening as I'd expect it to be, especially in a film called Savages.

Of course, the worst criminal here is the story. Now, throughout it's decent. It's entertaining and there are a few, scattered exciting moments, but for the most part, it lacks tension or suspense. This is a film about the Mexican Cartel. The Cartel is one of the most ruthless criminal organizations operating on the continent today. And yet, I never truly felt our characters were in real danger. I was never entirely that scared for them and even Del Toro, who is certainly intimidating, comes off as vulnerable. I like Chon and Ben, but I don't really buy that they would have the kind of sway they had with the Cartel and I feel like there could have been a lot more tension involved here. There's also one massive issue in the final 15-10 minutes. I won't spoil it here, but suffice to say, it's a massive eye roller and it really does sour the entire experience a bit. It's not the deal breaker I think a lot of people have made it to be, but it is fairly glaring and really unnecessary.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Official Sites:

Universal Pictures




English | Spanish

Release Date:

6 July 2012 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Savages See more »


Box Office


$45,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,016,910, 8 July 2012

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (unrated)

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Datasat | Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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