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El Norte (1983)

 VHS Tape
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000294GDQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #410,719 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much Better Than Survival Shows August 25, 2002
I purchased a copy of this film in the 80's. It is one of the most powerful statements about the kinds of things which were happening in Central America during a time when most Americans lived in belief of their government's lies. It also is a most powerful statement about family and the strength one draws from that connection. The real problems in adjusting to a different culture without losing those values with which one has been raised is also a theme of this movie. I still rank it as one of the best movies I have ever seen. I would like a copy again as mine disappeared to one of the people to whom I lent it. If it becomes available in either DVD or VHS I would certainly recommend the purchase and I would be first in line. El Norte.....que magnifico!!!!!!!
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61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EL NORTE May 7, 2002
I have never seen a better movie than this one, I will never see another movie like this one.
It is a "masterpiece", it is the only movie that is based on the reality of the world (filmed in Guatemala, Mexico and United States) not only it showed the life of the 80's (the massacres of people by the governments of our countries) and it also tells how and why most of us came to this country "The North" seeking not only refugee but also a new life after being abused and tortured by the law enforcement of the Central American governments. This is the case of a brother and sister who's father is decapitated and tortured by the Guatemalan soldiers just because they don't agree with the way rich people treated their countrymen. THE BEST MOVIE EVER !... Subtitled both English/Español and Español/English. A must have, a must see.
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50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
El Norte depicts the plight of a brother and sister. They are Mayan Indians living in Guatemala but after their father is murdered in a rebellion and their mother is arrested, they have to flee their country to save their lives. They are headed north, through Mexico and then on the United States, which, like so many immigrants before them, seems like the Promised Land of electricity, flush toilets and big cars.

First they have to travel through Mexico and make believe they are Mexicans. When they finally get to Tijuana they have the difficult task of finding a way across the border without being robbed by the many unsavory characters who all compete for their small amount of money. Their first attempt ends in failure but eventually they make it by crawling on their hands and knees through a sewer pipe where they are attacked by rats. Once in Los Angeles their lives seem to improve, but they soon discover the reality of being illegal. This is not a happy story and the ending is sad and left me with a feeling of hopelessness.

One of the most striking things about the film is its innocence. It certainly was filmed on a shoestring budget and has none of the special effects we've come to expect in Hollywood films. Sometimes it had the look and feel of an amateur production, the violence looked staged, the camera often focusing on a full moon rather than or more complex shots. The acting, however, was so good that I forgot they were acting and soon was completely involved in this very human story. It was plain and simple real life. And there was humor here too, especially when the young woman gets a maid's job and has to learn to use a washing machine. However, like real life, things don't always work out for the best.

I guess I've always been aware of the plight of illegal immigrants. But I have never felt it more deeply than through this film. Highly recommended.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important educational film April 3, 2005
Format:VHS Tape
The value of this film by director Gregory Nava does not diminish with time. I have shown it to audiences several times, and I continue to recommend it. It is not entertainment; rather it can give the engaged viewer an important educational experience about the reality of life for many Indigenous people who are forced to flee their homelands. It portrays the life of an Mayan brother and sister who are forced to leave Guatemala, their homeland, in search of survival in "El Norte." But they discover that the U.S.-Mexico border is a virtual war zone. The film ends in the tragedy that represents the reality of life for many Native people, whose status as "illegal aliens" is less than the humanity that they deserve.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impatiently waiting May 6, 2004
This movie is by far one of the most well written stories about the struggles of Central American people. I am Guatemalen, so I can truly relate to this story. I've yet to watch this movie with out crying at the end. The movie captures the essence and the culture of Guatemalen people. The culture is one of very tight-nit families with old fashion values. Although this movie takes place in the 80's and a lot has changed in Guatemala since then, I can tell you for a fact that the people have not. I've gone to Guatemala many times, most recently a month ago. It would truly be paradise if it were not for the immense poverty level. I was born here in the United States, but I know the struggles my parents went thru when the came at the age of 19. Please release this movie on DVD! I do have it on VHS (and I guard it with my life) but unfortunately there is also static at the beginning. If you have not watched this movie, make sure that you do.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a cinemagraphic masterpiece May 31, 2004
This film is a visual and audio masterpiece. I first saw it as a univeristy student on my campus. Then i happened on it when Rite Aid was closing out its video store for ten bucks. I use it for teaching my Spanish classes. My students are able to see Mayan culture and hear the language. They are also able to hear the distinction between Guatemalan and Mexican Spanish. Before I show the film I read them selections from Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigobera Menchu's autobiography, I, Rigoberta. It is important for them to understand the plight of Latin American people and their struggle for a better existence. (I'm trying to locate the soundtrack if anyone can assist me.)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A soulful movie on illegal immigration.
A different perspective on immigrating into the US
Published 1 month ago by Jersey Guy
4.0 out of 5 stars A story as true today as at the time of its original release
A bit dated in its depiction of the two main protagonists, but still very moving story of the fraught journey of a young brother and sister forced to leave Guatemala during the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by JCY 500
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great movie but very old
Published 1 month ago by lorena y diaz
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great for a better understanding of the violence against the indigenous/Mayas of Guatemala in the 20th century.
Published 2 months ago by Nancy Z
5.0 out of 5 stars Two cultures meet.
The director brought out a very accurate display of the cultural differences between Mexicans and Guatemalans and the way they see each other. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Joel
5.0 out of 5 stars El Norte
This is a great and classic film....essential for a high school/ college class..contains totally contemporary themes...a must see for students!
Published 3 months ago by Julianne Powell Curtis
5.0 out of 5 stars An awesome movie for students and anyone else who loves Hispanic...
I really love to show this movie to my Spanish students. I have been showing it for over 20 years now. My students get so into it! Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking.
An engaging story that yanks at the heart strings. Vivid and bold. 'Tho not a recent film, it is timely and elegant for its' message.
Published 3 months ago by Whitey
5.0 out of 5 stars El Norte Is At The Top Of The World
I just donated my DVD copy of this title, which this blu ray copy is intended to replace, to my expatriate Brazilian professor of a Latin American Cinema class for use in her... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Hoosier
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. A feast for the eye, ear, and heart
This film is a rare and empathetic look at the immigration crisis along the U. S. southern border. It is a brilliantly realized summary of the struggle of impoverished, persecuted... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Marshall Jose
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