12 Classic Films Set In Latin America You Have To Watch At Least Once

1. Diarios De Motocicleta  / The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

The Motorcycle Diaries follows the account of the young Che Guevara before he became a Marxist revolutionary. With his friend Alberto Granado, they travelled over 8,000km through Argentina, Chile and Peru, some of which was on a 1939 Norton 500cc called The Mighty One.

2. Cidade de Deus / City of God (2002)

City of God tells the story of the favelas of Rio de Janeiro between the 60s and 80s. A number of storylines intertwine including that of a young man called Rocket whose dream to become a photographer comes true when he begins supplying a newspaper with photos of criminal activity in the favelas.

3. Mi Mejor  Enemigo / My Best Enemy (2005)

My Best Enemy is set in the 1979 Beagle conflict between Chile and Argentina. Two small patrol units from both sides who have become lost in the Patagonian steppes begin interacting with each other whilst searching for the border.

4. Fitzcarraldo (1982)

Fitzcarraldo is based on the true story of an Irish adventurer in the early 20th century who tries to access rubber in a hidden valley in the Amazon. His outlandish plan involved hauling a boat from one river to another with grave consequences.

5. Aguirre, Wrath of God (1972)

Aguirre, Wrath of God is West German film loosely based on a conquistador’s search of el dorado in between the Andes and Amazon in what is now known as Peru.  The film’s opening sequence shot of armour-clad Spaniards on the side of Huayna Picchu is breathtaking.

6. Amores Perros (2000)


Amores Perros is often referred to as the ‘Mexican Pulp Fiction’. Three different stories become intertwined and connected by a car crash in Mexico City. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in the year of its release.

7. María Llena Eres De Gracia / Maria Full of Grace (2004)

Maria Full of Grace is the story of a Colombian teenager who, after becoming pregnant, takes the risky decision of becoming a heroin drug mule and flying to New York.

8. The Mission (1986)

The Mission is a British drama about a Jesuit missionary in South America during the 18th century whose aim was to convert the local Guaraní community to Christianity. Set with the mighty Iguazú falls as the backdrop and starring Robert de Niro, this is a must for any film fan.

9. Tropa de Elite / Elite Squad (2007)

Elite Squad semi-fictional account of the highly trained BOPE police squad whose dangerous job is  to clean up the crime ridden streets of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas and a captains search for a replacement for his job. The film also has an excellent sequel – Elite Squad: The Enemy Within which was released in 2010.

10. Frida (2002)


Frida is the biography of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, her tangled relationships including her affair with the Marxist revolutionary and theorist Leon Trotsky, political stance, illness and of course, her art. The film stars Salma Hayek.

11. No (2012)

After coming under international pressure, Augusto Pinochet is forced to call a referendum on his Chilean presidency. The ‘No’ campaigners enlist the help of Rene Saavedra, an advertising executive, to help create a plan to win the election.

12. The Galapagos Affair (2014)

This recent full length documentary tells of the mysterious goings on amongst the first inhabitants of Floreana Island in the Galapagos. Using rare archive footage and interviews with the islanders today it tells of the murder and disappearances that remain a riddle to this day. Cate Blanchett narrates.

To start planning your holiday to Latin America, get in touch.

RELATED: The best Latin American films of 2017

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