Chicano Gang Movies

Tuesday, April 19 by Ed Mulero

Chicano gang movies represent the hardcore Mexican street life where guns, low riders and tough women reside. These movies show the complex world of Chicano gang life as many members live fast and die young due to wars, drugs or scraps with the law.  The lifestyle of the Chicano gangs featured in movies delves into the deep roots of Mexican, hip-hop and violent cultures that all blend into one. Chicano gangs are some of the most feared across the Unites States and most movies try to capture the raw energy and brutality affiliated with them. Chicago gang movies don't play when it comes to set trippin', dog eat dog life of these notorious members from their respective 'hoods.

  1. "American Me" Edward James Olmos directs and stars in this crime drama about a Chicano gangster's life throughout the years. Santana falls in love with a local woman from L.A. which makes him take inventory of his life. His release from prison allows him a chance to find a place in the world that has drifted by him due to his life of crime.
  2. "Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life)" This movie follows the Chicana gangsters life from the perspective of two best friends, Mousie and Sad Girl. Their friendship erupts into violence when Sad Girl becomes pregnant with Mousie's drug dealing boyfriend, Ernesto. Allison Anders wrote and directed this inside portrait of the women who struggle to manage life and family in the violent gang world.
  3. "Harsh Times" Christian Bale and Freddy Rodriguez play best friends, Jim and Mike, who grew up in the Chicano gang neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles. Jim struggles with adjusting to normal life after his traumatic tour of duty in the Army and Mike tries to grow up by looking for a job and cleaning up his wayward life. David Ayer wrote and directed this searing drama about difficult balance between responsibility and redemption.  
  4. "Blood In, Blood Out" Two half-brothers, Paco and Cruz portrayed by Benjamin Bratt and Jesse Borrego, are members of the East L.A. gang called the "Vatos Locos" in 1972. Their life of violence and drugs causes their cousin Miklo, Damian Chapa, to end up in prison, Cruz turns into a heroin addict despite his talent as an artist, and Paco later becomes a cop. Taylor Hackford directs this movie based on the true life experiences of the poet Jimmy Santiago Baca.
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