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The Motorcycle Diaries (Widescreen Edition)

4.1 out of 5 stars 447 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Based on a true life story, The Motorcycle Diaries is an inspiring and thrilling adventure that traces the youthful origins of a revolutionary spirit. The film follows two daring friends, Ernesto "Che" Guevara (Gael García Bernal, Y Tu Mama Tambien) and Alberto Granado (Rodrigo de la Serna), who hop on the back of a beat-up motorcycle for a breathtaking and exciting road trip across Latin America. From executive producer Robert Redford and acclaimed director Walter Salles (Central Station) comes a life-changing journey that critics are hailing as "Magnificent!" (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)

Special Features

  • Deleted Scenes
  • A Moment with Alberto Ganado
  • Making of The Motorcycle Diaries
  • A Moment with Gael Garcia Bernal
  • "Toma Uno" ("Take One") with Gael Garcia Bernal
  • Music of the Road: An Interview with Composer Gustavo Santaolalla
  • Cast and Filmmakers

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Gael Garcia Bernal, Rodrigo De la Serna, Mia Maestro
    • Directors: Walter Salles
    • Writers: Jose Rivera
    • Producers: Michael Nozik, Edgard Tenembaum, Karen Tenkhoff, Robert Redford
    • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
    • Subtitles: English, French
    • Dubbed: French
    • 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: Focus Features
    • DVD Release Date: February 15, 2005
    • Run Time: 127 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (447 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B00005JNCZ
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,561 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "The Motorcycle Diaries (Widescreen Edition)" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    As most potential viewers know, this film is based on diaries and letters to home written by Ernesto "Che" Guevara during a motorcycle and foot tour of a significant portion of South America during the early 1950s, years before Guevara achieved international renown as a Communist and Latino revolutionary. Thus, the film functions as an attempt to get at the heart of the person who preceded the myth. The film is therefore difficult to judge as pure cinema. Is this, on its own merits, a great film? Or is it a great film about Che Guevara? Interestingly, the person I saw this film with knew absolutely nothing about the subject of the film before it started, and did not connect Ernesto Guevara with Che Guevara until very late in the film. Her reaction was interesting. Until she realized that it was about Che, she says that she considered it a decent but only slightly above average "road" picture, but it gained considerably in her estimation once she realized who the film was about. I think she was correct, and I would agree with those who feel that what merits the film has depends to some degree on who the film is about. If Ernesto hadn't become Che, it would be a good film but of considerably less interest than it is.

    The film does a good job of rooting Che's eventual concern with the liberation of the oppressed by depicting his broad and constant encounters with everyday people throughout the continent. Camus wrote that it was important to side with the victims and not the executioners, and in his travels Ernesto spends most of his time with the victims. His near-epic exposure to the continent clearly condition his sympathies and inform his vision. At the end of the film it is easy to understand why Che chose a life dedicated to aiding the oppressed in Cuba and elsewhere.
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    4 Comments 282 of 307 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    ...I want to offer an almost-opposite reaction. Yes, I admit I went into the theater not knowing a) much at all about Che Guevara, or b) that the film was even about Che. I was mesmerized all the way through, by the subtle messages about the plight of working-class Latin Americans, by the sweeping landscapes and by the fantastic performances. Once I (finally) figured out that the Ernesto Guevara in this film was indeed *the* Ernesto Guevara, I thought, "How brilliant." It doesn't set out to portray him as a saint (as a previous reviewer said), or as a villain-in-the-making. It's a very rare thing in cinema, or history studies in general: a portrait of a man as a man. What you make of the path Che later chose as a result of these experiences is a different matter entirely, and one frankly not related to this film at all.

    Some have cried, "Would you enjoy a movie that portrayed a young Hitler sympathetically?" My answer: a) that's really not an accurate comparison, and b) maybe, if it were this well written and acted and filmed. Imagine the story of the Beer Hall Putsch told in such a way that we really got into the youthful main character's mind to discover its workings and motivations. It wouldn't excuse what he did, but explain it in a more insightful way than the boiled-down mush we are served in our history books. This is what cinema should be used for more often.
    2 Comments 42 of 45 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    This is a tough review to write because of the subject matter we're dealing with: a militant revolutionary who became Castro's right-hand man during the 1959 Cuban revolt. But here in THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES film, we don't see this man; we see instead the formation of the person whom this man (Ernesto "Che" Guevara played by the talented Gael García Bernal)would become. He's a young idealist living in South America when he and a friend (Alberto Granado played by up-and-coming actor Rodrigo de la Serna) decide to take a road trip across the continent before bellying down into their chosen carriers in medicine.

    The film succeeds in giving us a very myopic view of these two men: Guevara for the initial changes he begins to go through as he witnesses injustices to the low and poor; Granado for his love of women and grudging dedication to Guevara. We travel with them on a 1939 Norton 500 motorcycle (my hat's off to the two actors who had to ACTUALLY learn to ride one of these behemoths!) as they argue with each other over money, their deficient form of transportation, and Guevara's unflinching honesty when asked delicate questions (this is brought into focus when they first meet a man - who looks very German - in a small village and asks Che and Granado to look at a lump on his neck, which Granado diagnoses as a cyst but Che calls a tumor).

    The cinematography was done exceptionally well on a small budget. The beauty of Machu Picchu, the green forests of Peru, the nothingness of various deserts, all added great visuals for the viewer.

    The film's faults lay with its omissions. Yes, Che was a thinking man. Yes, Che was concerned with humanity as a whole. But Che was also somewhat of a bigot.
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    Comment 66 of 84 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    When I visited South America on my own extended trip a couple of years ago, I was amazed how many times I saw pictures of Che Guevara everywhere I went....cafes, outdoor bulletin boards, art galleries, even department stores. Now I understand why. Having just read his diary, I was greatly anticipating this film, and my interest only heightened when I started seeing the travelogue shots in the previews. I am happy to report the film surpasses my expectations on almost every level. It is exquisite - perceptively directed, beautifully photographed and wondrously acted by a cast headed by two charismatic actors who tap deep into the hearts and souls of their characters. Whereas the book is more observational, the movie provides a more involving feeling in its portrait of a young man on the brink of his political awakening. It starts out somewhat deceptively as a comic buddy picture with the young Ernesto Guevara (pre-Che), a medical student, leaving his family and accompanying his seemingly more worldly pal Alberto Granado, a biochemist, on a dilapidated 1939 Norton motorbike traversing South America from their native Buenos Aires to Caracas. It is obvious what Alberto's hormonally charged intentions are on this months-long journey, but at 23, Ernesto is at a more sensitive juncture in his life where his encounters and observations have a deeper impact on his ideology.

    What I really like about the film is how it changes in tone and texture as the boys' hunt for adventure evolves into life-changing experiences for both of them. The motorbike acts as a metaphor for this change, as it unsurprisingly breaks down forcing them to open their eyes to the poverty and quiet struggle of the local people in each of the countries they visit.
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    Comment 24 of 29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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