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American Me [HD DVD]

4.5 out of 5 stars 236 customer reviews


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PRODUCT ALERT:
• IMPORTANT NOTICE: This high-definition disc will only play in an HD DVD player. It will not play in a standard-definition DVD player, Blu-ray player, or PS3.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In what The Hollywood Reporter calls "a brilliant debut", award-winning actor Edward James Olmos sets the screen ablaze with his directorial bow - a powerful, stunning examination of a Latino crime lord, set against a backdrop of prejudice and hopelessness. Olmos stars as Santana, a youth from the streets of East Los Angeles who becomes the leader of the Mexican Mafia behind the gates of Folsom Prison. Once out, Santana discovers that the harsh reality of barrio life and his blood-stained past will not give him the chance to turn his back on his former way of life. With a vehement anti-drug and anti-gang theme, American Me is an explosive and unforgettable epic.

Amazon.com

Actor-turned-director Edward James Olmos set out to spread the word against the destructiveness of gang violence with this 1992 gritty drama. Set in the barrios of East Los Angeles, he attempts to cover 30 years in the life of a family with strong gang ties. This brutally realistic story may not intentionally glorify violence, but it offers no answers. (Olmos actually shot the prison scenes in Folsom, which explains their harsh reality.) Great performances though, especially by Olmos and William Forsythe. Olmos plays a gang leader released from prison who is finally in touch with himself, only to realize it is too late. The one major problem with this well-intentioned flick is that it is rated R for violence, nudity, and profanity. Therefore, the kids who most need its message are not, in theory, the ones who will see it. --Rochelle O'Gorman

Special Features

  • Lives in Hazard Documentary
  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Edward James Olmos, William Forsythe, Pepe Serna, Danny De La Paz, Evelina Fernandez
    • Directors: Edward James Olmos
    • Writers: Floyd Mutrux, Desmond Nakano
    • Producers: Edward James Olmos, Sean Daniel, Robert M. Young
    • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital-Plus 5.1), French (Dolby Digital-Plus 2.0)
    • Subtitles: French
    • Dubbed: French
    • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
      R
      Restricted
    • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
    • DVD Release Date: June 26, 2007
    • Run Time: 126 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (236 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B000OHZL3U
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,272 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "American Me [HD DVD]" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    By A Customer on April 26, 2003
    Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
    This is some info for anyone who thinks this is just a movie. Welcome to the reality of L.A. gangs. This movie was not just a story made up in someone's head, it's the truth, that is why this movie is so explicit. Jail is never a place where anything is sugar coated and neither is this movie. A big thumbs up to Mister Olmos on the history of The Mexican Mafia. If you don't agree, do the research on the movie characters, it's an eye opener.
    Comment 31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    This movie gave me nightmares for a week. Seriously, I felt physically ill while watching this movie. It's been a long time since I saw a movie this graphic in nature. Frankly, it's not for the squeamish or overly sensitive crowd. With that being said, it's a typical prison drama. You pretty much have the usual rape, death by shankings, and rioting scenes. To this day, I have never seen a prison movie that ended on a good note, and I certainly can't remember anything good about this one either. This movie was just sad and depressing from start to finish. Edward James Olmos plays a youth who's life is a downward spiral soon as he's sent to a youth detention center. Of course, he's raped there by another male youth (which he kills). From there, he gains respect, but he also gains a sure ticket into prison as soon as he turns 18. This movie is sad because even after he gets out of prison he can't seem to make it on the outside or blend into society because he's been locked away for so long, and he still has that prison mentality. Ultimately that leads to his demise. That's pretty much what this movie is about..nothing real impressive! I do think what pushes it over the edge is the brutality of the rape scenes. I must admit watching a man being tied down and gang raped by 4 inmates was enough to haunt me for a while. Especially, the fact that they were sick enough to enjoy this at the same time, and be so kind as to use KY Jelly first. What happens after that I won't even mention. This movie is not for kids at all. However, I do suggest that it be shown to all teens and pre-teens who think their so tough, and that jail is a place they truely want to be. I think that after they see this it might change quite a few minds.
    1 Comment 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    This is the most brilliant film I have seen about East Los Angeles. It's about consequences which follow action, and about those victims that fall between them. It's about the true struggle that Mexican-Americans face in the Barrio and about the air of violence and hatred that these children grow up in. Violence conceives violence, and creates a cyclical conundrum in which escape is futile. I see that the Editorial Reviewer on this page wanted to see a solution to our problem. Well miss O'Gorman, if we could find a solution, trust me, we would fix it. As for now, things stay as it is (to some extent) portrayed on the film. The film uses juxtapositions of scenes of love with scenes of violence and creates an aesthetic captured only by great story tellers (such as Tolstoy which you see the main character reading in the film). This film is beautiful and Olmo's life's work. A must see for those interested in ELA culture.
    Comment 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: VHS Tape
    I felt this movie gives a true, powerful glimpse on real prison life, and the lives of criminals that believe that what they do is needed to survive. This movie was gripping from beginning to end. People must realize that this is a movie that shows what it's like in reality. The content in this movie occurs everyday! This video can give you an awareness of what occurs in reality. This is an excellent video, and I suggest you go rent right now!
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    By A Customer on April 11, 2000
    Format: VHS Tape
    The powerful story line combined with the tremendous talent of Olmos & Forsythe brings to the screen the horrible facts of drugs, gangs and life doing HARD TIME. Olmos first directorship adds to this story the emotion he obviously feels and his concern to tell a story that needs to be told in its complete honesty. I know..I've been there & do not wish to go back.
    Comment 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    Edward James Olmos pulls no punches in this violent, mesmerizing film, which spans 30 years of a Mexican-American family plagued by gang violence and tragedy. Olmos masterfully portrays Santana, leader of the notorious Mexican Mafia freshly released from Folsom State Prison. With an institutionalized mindset and lack of knowledge of the modern outside world, the powerful gang leader has tremendous difficulties adjusting to his new surroundings. He immediately hooks up with his gang cronies looking to expand La Eme business (Forsythe is especially memorable as J.D., based on real-life former LE member Joe "Peg Leg" Morgan) and even falls for a woman along the way. It isn't long before Santana realizes that he will most likely never get adjusted to society and live a normal life. Gritty and harsh, 'American Me' is a gripping crime drama that displays an in-your-face reality of a criminal enterprise that too few films dare to expose so vividly. Enjoy.
    Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    This poignant, exciting, realistic tale of human iniquity and eventual spiritual resurrection evokes, and is mostly equal to, "Once Upon A Time in America". Olmos' directing and acting are both brilliant; in a genre where there's a strong temptation for the actors to ham it up with gang signs and baggy pants, he has inspired real sincerity and genuine emotion. Never for a moment do any of the protagonists seem like they are trying to act cool; it's entirely convincing. The voiceovers - You Ride, Behind Pride, Thinking you can hide; the music - the killing of one of Santana's own accompanied by the desperate "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"; the wealth of expression on the actors' faces - as when Santana learns his mother has died; all add up to create an extraordinary atmosphere. Colors, light, shadows are all beautifully arranged; an especially effective scene being when La Eme and Nuestra Familia file into the prison's cinema, their light and dark blue shirts the only colors. Superb performances by JD, Mundo, Puppet, Little Puppet, Cary; sorry, I don't know all their real names, but they are to be congratulated. Make sure you wait for the closing credits to hear "Ain't No Sunshine".
    Comment 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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