10 Best Latino Gang Movies

Thursday, January 20 by sameerah blue

Throw on some khakis and get down with your inner cholo with the ten best Latino gang movies. The ten best Latino gang movies generally fall into three categories: inspirational, documentary and coming of age. They tell the stories of teachers who show kids that there is something better than the streets, the struggles of those who long to break free of the streets and how easy it can be to become content with violence. No matter which category the ten best Latino gang movies fall under, they are all brilliant snap shots of a part of American culture that most of us are lucky enough not to experience.  

  1. “American Me” (1992)-Edward James Olmos plays a gangster who comes full circle in this one of the ten best Latino gang movies. As a young man Santana and his two best friends form a gang and are arrested during a break in. Eighteen years later Santana runs one of the baddest gangs in or out of prison. Released back into society, this powerful gang leader begins to reevaluate his gangster lifestyle.
  2. “Blood in Blood Out” (1993)-Based on the story of poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, this is one of the ten best Latino gang movies, and looks at three friends who start out as members of an East L.A. gang and succumb to drug addition, prison and the dissolution of friendships.
  3. “Boulevard Nights” (1979)-This Latino gang movie starts with a kid joining a street gang to be cool and examines his life as he goes back and forth between contentment with the violence that comes along with gang life.
  4. “Mi Vida Loca” (1994)- This is one of best Latino gang movies to deal with the female aspect of gang culture. Mousey and Shy Girl share everything, including their baby’s daddy. When their baby’s daddy betrays them both, they begin plotting revenge, and a way out of the life.
  5. “Bangin: The Life of a Latino Gangster” (2004)-The only documentary to make this list of the ten best Latino gang movies, this film offers an unflinching look at "gangsta" life in South Central L.A.
  6. “Zoot Suit” (1981)-The second on this list of the ten best Latino gang movies to feature Edward James Olmos, this movie is a throw back to the Latino gang culture of the 1940s.
  7. “Stand and Deliver” (1988)-A classic among 80s films buffs, this one of the ten best Latino gang movies looks to the inspirational story of Jamie Escalante. Played by Edward James Olmos, Jamie uses the power of numbers to bring his class of misfits back from the brink.
  8. “Walk Proud” (1979)-The grand daddy of the ten best Latino gang movies,"Walk proud" is the movie that set the tone for almost every Latino gangster movie that has come since its release. It’s the story of a young man who realizes that he wants more than his hood can offer, but can’t find a away to break ties with the streets.
  9. “Living the Life” (2000)-The second of the ten best Latino gangster movies to deal with the female aspect of gang culture. This movie focuses on two female gang leaders who dance in local talent shows to relieve the stress of their dangerous lives.
  10. “Down for Life” (2010)-This movies looks at a female gang leader and the chaos that surrounds her. Instead of following the character through her life, this movie zeros in on one drama driven day in the life of a tough-as-nails gang banger girl.


Additional Resources:

"Walk Proud": http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080114/

"Living the Life": http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0187387/plotsummary

"Down for Live": http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1056477/

"Bangin": http://www.ovguide.com/movies_tv/bangin_the_life_of_a_latino_gangster.htm#

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