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Herod's Law (La Ley de Herodes) (2003)

Damián Alcázar , Pedro Armendáriz Jr. , Luis Estrada  |  R |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Damián Alcázar, Pedro Armendáriz Jr., Delia Casanova, Juan Carlos Colombo, Alex Cox
  • Directors: Luis Estrada
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: February 3, 2004
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000TPA56
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,549 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Herod's Law (La Ley de Herodes)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Mexico, 1949. The fable of a janitor turned mayor on a little town lost in the Mexican desert, who gradually realizes how far his new acquainted power and corruption can get him. After the corrupt former mayor is killed by the peasants, poor janitor Juan Vargas is appointed new mayor of a desert town in central Mexico. Although he tries to bring the motto of the ruling party to town (modernity, peace and progress) he realizes soon that there's nothing to do against corruption?except to become corrupt. Step by step, helped by his pistol, Juan Vargas becomes the law and the worst major in the town's history.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Funny Political Satire December 5, 2004
This very funny movie satirizes the PRI party of Mexico, political corruption, and human nature. After the townspeople of a tiny, isolated, extremely poor Mexican town rise up against their corrupt mayor, the ruling party names a minor political functionary, selected for his stupidity, to preside over (and avoid trouble in) the town pending the selection of candidates for the next election. What ensues in illustration of the maxim that power corrupts is both hilarious and appalling. With amazing location shots that take you to the poorest regions of Mexico, where residents may not even speak Spanish, memorable characters (including an American), and a wonderful mambo orchestra score, this movie is definitely recommended.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
This is a movie that illustrates very well the way Mexican politics were handled for so many years by the ruling party (PRI), unfortunately some of it still remains, if not all.
I own the Spanish VHS version and to me it was hilarious while at the same time very realistic.
A word of warning: if you are not Mexican or at least from other latinamerican country, you might not get all the jokes, or reasoning behind some actions. You have to be familiar with the culture. Then again, if you buy it, you may watch it again, perhaps in the company of a hispanic friend.
I really recommend it both as a comedy, and as a "general culture" must-have.
As a bonus, you will learn several Spanish bad words, should you want to impress your friends!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Movie Made Me Laugh Loudly August 13, 2004
I am very pleased to see La Ley de Herodes with subtitulos. I have wanted to share it with friends who live here near the border [San Diego] but don't speak Spanish well enough to get some of the humor. This is a great piece of political satire. I am sorry it didn't have broader distribution in the US. It is really a remarkable movie, not often does one see film that is this viscious about the powers that be come out of Mexico. It is a part of the rebirth of Mexican cinema that is so enjoyable.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Octavio Paz Didn't Explain it All March 1, 2004
By A Customer
I saw this movie originally in Mexico where I lived for years. It had been banned for some time. This movie goes far beyond politics and gives an extremely good insight into the mentality of a national psycosis. There are a good part of the society that does not view the world as such but generally one must be aware and cautious in dealing in Buisness, personal relationships and many other sociological interactions. To many one who takes advantage of another person is considered clever (this is good) and the blame lies on those who allow themselves to be taken advantage of. This is the only country in Latin America where Hijo de la chin#%$#@ is the worst insult. The realization of this among many in Mexico has made them question whether not only how this attitude has affected their politics but also their commercial and personal relationships.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review for Herod's Law February 15, 2011
By edgardo
La Ley De Herodes
Review by Edgardo

The Golden Age of Mexican Cinema seems to be in resurgence. A Mexican Film maker Luis Estrada has produced a wicked satire on a political system (and political party as well). And he names the culprit. From 1927 up until the election of Vicente Fox in 2000, the PRI party reigned supreme on a throne of corruption over Mexico. The film is set in the 1930's or early 40's and has a delightful mambo score that uplifts this oftentimes grim comedy. La Ley de Herodes doesn't dwell much on the big dogs at the top, but more the politics of the small village level. Damian Alzar in the lead role of the Janitor turned small town mayor, or "Presidente Municipal" is perfect as the likeable dolt that the party bosses select to head the town of San Juan de Los Saguares, a mostly Indian village in the mountain deserts of Central Mexico. Where the only vegetation seems to be the tall Saguaro cactus. What the janitor turned mayor doesn't know is that the inhabitants of the village have killed the last several mayors that the party had sent to the town, the last one by decapitation. The Indians are incredibly poor, everyone is dirty and dusty, the village school lies in ruins, and most of the inhabitants don't even speak Spanish. There are just a few characters with any integrity what so ever. If an American director had made the film it would have been lambasted as racist and ethnically stereotypical. Still, even with being a being a Mexican Film it was suppressed and banned for years

The acting is first rate and it is hilarious...It is a guilty pleasure at times. The innocent patsy janitor grows into a first rate thieving PRI politician with the huge Mexican Criminal Code book in one hand and a pistol in the other.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This political satire is not so far to be untrue. The slow raise of a nasty goalkeeper who ascends the stairs of power through a demolishing process of annihilation of ethic values (which obviously had been expressed previously by Shakespeare in Richard III).

Vargas is an insignificant but faithful member of the ruling class at that moment. he is sent to a forgotten point of the Mexican Geography where nobody seems to know it. The story is told in 1949, and progressively you may realize how the entire system is so corrupted that soon he will be part of this nasty whirlwind in which everybody is aware of it and no one makes nothing to avoid it. And Vargas will make all what his survival hyena's attitude orders it. Every person who dares to intervene or contradict him is an enemy of the Revolution.

The magnificent plot will experience a clever twist of fate and you will be shocked by the acidic finale.

One of the ten best Latin American films of the decade. Don't overlook it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 11 days ago by Saul carbajal
5.0 out of 5 stars A universal tale!
As a corrupt mayor is lynched by the town's furious residents, the party appoints a new mayor as a figurehead until the elections. Read more
Published 2 months ago by sevencrystalballs
2.0 out of 5 stars g p walker
Other than some ironic humor, this movie portrays lascivious immorality, multiple murders, cruelty, political asininity, and rewards all of it with SICK humor, stupidity, greed,... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Annette C. Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars
This movie is great! I got if for my husband for christmas. It arrived sooner than I expected it to. I
Published 9 months ago by Biseida Duque
1.0 out of 5 stars don't work
I bought this dvd and don't work, in two dvd players say "this dvd is broken or the dvd can't be learned".
Published 14 months ago by Kaloian Vargas pashov
4.0 out of 5 stars A parody of Mexican politics
When you live in a plutocracy, where money is the reason people go into politics, power corrupts absolutely. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Roberta M. Jensen
5.0 out of 5 stars Herod's LAw
THe movie was great, i actually ordered the movie for a college class that im taking.. the quality was perfect even if it wasn't new!
Published on October 16, 2011 by Jean<3
5.0 out of 5 stars Wicked Humor!!!
A low level official with the PRI gets sent to clean up a tiny town outside of Mexico. He soon becomes more corrupt than his predecessor in the Mayor's office. Read more
Published on February 5, 2010 by Jonathan Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Muy Bueno
Excellent movie, not only accurate of Mexico's political culture but not far from the US's either. Funny dark satire, you won't regret buying this one.
Published on October 20, 2006 by Dark Horse
4.0 out of 5 stars Very provocative!
This film lends a surprisingly accurate (albeit quite satiric) perspective on the state of Mexico's political culture.
Published on February 2, 2006 by TED
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