Filmmaker Matthew Heineman examines the state of the ongoing drug problem along the U.S.-Mexican border.


Matthew Heineman
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 19 wins & 36 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview:
Tim Nailer Foley ... Self (as Tim 'Nailer' Foley)
José Manuel 'El Doctor' Mireles ... Self - leader and founder, Autodefensas
Paco Valencia Paco Valencia ... Self - Autodefensas Comandante
Chaneque Chaneque ... Self - drug cartel thug
Caballo Caballo ... Self - drug cartel thug
Enrique Peña Nieto ... Self
Ana Valencia Ana Valencia ... Self - Manuel Mireles' wife
Estanislao Beltránin ... Self - spokesman, Autodefensas
Janet Fields Janet Fields ... Self - Tim Foley's girlfriend
Nicolás Sierra ... Self (as as Nicolás Sierra 'El Gordo')
Karla Karla ... Self
Alfredo Castillo Cervantes ... Self - Mexican political (as Alfredo Castillo)
María Imilse Arrué María Imilse Arrué ... Self (as María Imilse)
Shawn Wilson ... Self


A physician in Michoacán, Mexico leads a citizen uprising against the drug cartel that has wreaked havoc on the region for years. Across the U.S. border, a veteran heads a paramilitary group working to prevent Mexico's drug wars from entering U.S. territory. Written by Anonymous

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

: Rated R for violent disturbing images, language, drug content and brief sexual material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The Autodefensas group shown in the film was created by civilians to stand up against the cartels because the government is overrun with corruption. Individuals speak about how little the Mexican president (Enrique Peña Nieto) is doing. In the film, the Autodefensas is shown celebrating its one year anniversary on February 24, 2014. On that exact same day, TIME Magazine ran an issue with the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto with the headline "Saving Mexico." Nieto reportedly paid TIME $44,000 for this cover article coincidentally released on the same day as the Autodefensas anniversary. See more »


José Manuel 'El Doctor' Mireles: They took off the shirt of the Autodefensas only to put on the shirt of the government. But they continue to be a mafia, they continue to be criminals.
See more »


Featured in The Oscars (2016) See more »


En Las Calles
Written by H. Scott Salinas and Jose Cancela
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User Reviews

3 October 2015 | by peefynSee all my reviews

This documentary is about Mexico and cartels, but it is also about vigilantism in general. Is it OK to take the law into your own hands? Does this freedom corrupt? The documentary explores two (related) instances of vigilantism, and it does so in a critical, but nuanced way. It reflects upon the motives of the people involved, and their situation. This exploration is what really makes this documentary great. It throws some light on the situation in Mexico in a way that is both thrilling and heartbreaking - but by focusing on the acts of the vigilantes, the documentary becomes timeless.

The people behind this went to great lengths to get some really(!) impressive footage. How they convinced people involved to let them film all of this is beyond me.

A warning though: There were some scenes here where I had to look away because of the images shown.

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Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]




English | Spanish

Release Date:

3 July 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cartel Land See more »

Filming Locations:

Sasabe, Arizona, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,581, 5 July 2015

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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