10 Best Mexican Gangster Movies

Thursday, January 20 by Annette Smith

If you’re a fan of crime films, you’re probably familiar with these 10 best Mexican gangster movies. Crime films in this genre generally focus on three things: violence (mafia wars and gang violence), the life of a criminal and the crime victims.

Movie gangsters are street-smart tough guys with self-destructive tendencies. Mexican gangster films, like most gangster films, often present a morality lesson. If this kind of movie appeals to you, consider choosing your next video rental from the list below. They’re listed alphabetically by title.

  1. “American Me” First on the list of best Mexican gangster movies is “American Me.” Edward James Olmos directs and stars in this 1992 crime film. The plot centers on a member of the Mexican mafia who serves a prison sentence, gets released, falls in love and re-evaluates his gangster lifestyle.
  2. “Blood In, Blood Out” “Blood In, Blood Out” is a 1993 Mexican gangster movie originally titled “Bound By Honor.” The film is based on the true story of Jimmy Santiago Baca, a writer and poet of Mexican and Apache descent. The movie features Damian Chapa, Jesse Borrego and Benjamin Bratt.
  3. “Colors” “Colors” is the oldest film on this list of Mexican gangster films. The 1988 movie stars Sean Penn, Robert Duvall and Maria Conchita Alonso. It focuses on an experienced cop and his rookie partner who work the dangerous gang-controlled barrios of Los Angeles.
  4. “Desperado” “Desperado,” sometimes known as “Robert Rodríguez: Desperado” and “El Mariachi 2,” is a 1995 action film. The story centers on a gunslinger at war with a local drug runner. A sequel to “El Mariachi,” the film is the second installment in the “Mexico Trilogy.” It features Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek and Joaquim de Almeida.
  5. “El Mariachi” The 1992 film “El Mariachi” is the first movie in the “Mexico Trilogy.” Directed by Robert Rodriguez, the movie focuses on a traveling mariachi musician. Mistaken for a murderous criminal, he must hide from the Mexican gangsters who want him dead. The cast includes Carlos Gallardo, Consuelo Gomez and Jaime de Hoyos.
  6. “Mexican Gangster” “Mexican Gangster” is a 2008 low-budget movie about a real-life Mexican gangster who tries to go clean. The film, which received mixed reviews from audiences and critics, features Damian Chapa, John Loretto and Tom Druilhet.
  7. “Mi Familia” “Mi Familia” is a 1995 film about a multi-generational Mexican-American family. It traces the immigrant family through their various trials, tragedies and triumphs. The all-star cast includes Edward James Olmos, Jimmy Smits, Esai Morales, Jacob Vargas and Jennifer Lopez.
  8. “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” is the 2003 installment in the “Mexico Trilogy.” Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, and Johnny Depp star in this film about a hit man, a psychotic government agent, a corrupt Mexican general, and international espionage.
  9. “One Eight Seven” “One Eight Seven” is a 1997 film starring Samuel L. Jackson, John Heard and Kelly Rowan. The story centers on a Los Angele high school teacher in trouble with a Mexican gang. The movie’s title comes from a California Penal Code number, 187, which stands for murder.
  10. “Revenge” Last on the list of ten best Mexican gangster movies is “Revenge.” The 1990 film stars Kevin Costner, Anthony Quinn and Madeleine Stowe. The story revolves around a retired Navy aviator who leaves the United States for a relaxing life in Mexico. His troubles being when he meets a beautiful woman, the wife of his wealthy friend (a powerful Mexican crime boss).

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