Great Films to Inspire Travel to Latin America

Here’s a selection of some great films about travelling in, or life in, a variety of Latin American countries. Great to watch just before you travel!

1. Buena Vista Social Club - a mixture of half biography of legendary old Cuban musicians and half a glimpse of life in past and modern day Havana.  Oozing in charm, watch this before any trip to Havana.

2. The Motor Cycle Diaries - a great film chronicling the 1952 journey by Motorcycle of Che Guevara and a friend all over South America. Che Guevara went on to become an infamous Marxist revoluntionary, but this film shows a human side to him - a young man generally pissing about and mis-behaving on a grand tour of countries including Peru, Argentina and Chile.

3. Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid  - a 1969 Western  starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford as bank robbers who flee USA because too many people are after them.  Of all places to go they choose Bolivia, where they rob some more banks, get pursued a little more and ultimately get killed near Tupiza.  This is a great one to watch if you’re heading to Tupiza or Southern Bolivia.

Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid in Bolivia
Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid - were ultimately killed in Bolivia.

4. City of God - an award winning film about life and gang culture in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas (slums). Most of the actors are indeed real life slum-dwellers, making it a remarkable film with a gritty edge.

5. Desperado - a cracking, light-hearted action film set in Mexico starring Antonio Banderas as a Mariachi (traditional Mexican Singer) pulling machine guns out of his guitar case as he seeks revenge on a drugs baron.  Easy to watch, especially the ultimately cool Banderas and stunning Salma Hayek.

Salma Hayek
Salma Hayek in Desperado.

6. Black Orpheus - a 1959 film set during Rio de Janeiro’s carnival.  A buzzing love story full of colour, music and Brazilian culture  - do watch it before going to carnival!

7. Amazon - ok it’s not a film, but a BBC TV documentary series, but it’s inspirational to watch Bruce Parry’s journey of the Amazon river, from it’s “source” in Peru to where it reaches to Atlantic in Brazil.  It’ll make you want to visit before it’s all been wrecked…

2 Responses to “Great Films to Inspire Travel to Latin America”

  1. Will check out Desperado. I didn’t know about that one.

    In addition to the Motorcycle Diaries, there have been some other great movies out of Latin America. Amores Perros, Y tu mama tambien, and Maria Full of Grace are all top notch movies.

  2. Great additional suggestions Steven - all are fine films you mention, but Amores Perros and Maria full of Grace - would they inspire you to visit Latin America? Or put you off the idea with stereotypically inaccurate representations of gangsters and drug mules?

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