Che: Part One (The Argentine) (2009)



Critic Consensus: Though lengthy and at times plodding, Soderbergh's vision and Benicio Del Toro's understated performance ensure that Che always fascinates.

Che: Part One (The Argentine) Videos & Photos

Movie Info

Nearly 40 years after Che Guevara's execution in Bolivia, director Steven Soderbergh retraces the life of the iconic Cuban revolutionary in this nearly four-and-a-half-hour saga. Part 1 begins on November 26, 1956, as Fidel Castro (Demián Bichir) sails into Cuban waters with 80 rebels in tow. Among those rebels is Argentine doctor Ernesto "Che" Guevara (Benicio Del Toro), a man who shares Castro's dream of overthrowing corrupt dictator Fulgencio Batista. As the struggle gets under way, Guevara … More

Rating: R (for some violence)
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Peter Buchman, Benjamin A. van der Veen, Benicio Del Toro, Steven Soderbergh, Benjamin A. VanDerVeen
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 14, 2009
Box Office: $1.5M
IFC Films


as Ernesto Che Guevara

as Raul Castro

as President René Barri...

as Mario Monje

as Camillo Cienfuegos

as Ciro Redondo

as Rogelio Acevedo

as Little Cowboy

as Alejandro Ramirez

as Moises Guevara

as Ciro Algaranaz

as Fidel Castro

as Regis Debray

as Capt. Vargas

as Lisa Howard

as Ciros Bustos

as Celia Sanchez

as Interpreter
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Che: Part One (The Argentine)

All Critics (135) | Top Critics (31)

Soderbergh has made two almost perfect war films, more like the Rings Trilogy than The Green Berets.

Full Review… | October 1, 2009
MovieTime, ABC Radio National
Top Critic

There is precious little in these movies to fill out our understanding of what it was that made Che a rebel, a leader of men, and the repository of the romantic dreams of several generations of armchair revolutionaries

Full Review… | March 6, 2009
Top Critic

The myth somehow deserves better.

Full Review… | August 16, 2011
East Bay Express

The quality of the film is more than a testament to Mr Del Toro's acting skills, it is a reminder that Hollywood can make great films without 'selling out'.

Full Review… | March 24, 2011
What Culture

The director sees Guevara as a pure humanitarian. ... The films are excellent, but understanding this complex historical figure requires more than one source.

Full Review… | January 26, 2011

Soderbergh has no interest in sentimentality, or back story, or even really in Guevara's philosophy, except as a rigorously footnoted onscreen reflection. Practically rejecting outright the concept of poetic license, Che is radical as a biopic.

Full Review… | June 13, 2010

Audience Reviews for Che: Part One (The Argentine)

A sprawling, epic look at the life of Che Guevara through the lense of Steven Soderbergh. Del Toro is brilliant in the lead.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer


I should have hated this film. I feel like the legend of Che has become so distorted & romanticized, that whatever your cause, you can invoke the name of Che to further it. On top of this, every college student with access to a Hot Topic has donned a shirt with the figure's face on it, without the benefit of knowing the context of the original movement. The last thing I needed was further ambiguity.
However, Soderbergh's film seems to revel in this ambiguity. Che was a zealous ideologue, ardent supporter of justice (no matter how perverse his idea of justice became), and a romantic. I feel as though Soderbergh captures this very well and made really the only film you could make about such an enigmatic figure. One devoid of understanding.
Were Soderbergh to take a stance and really dive into what drove Che, he would be making a judgement. Whether he would decide that Che's pursuits were righteous, or a parade a violence driven by delusion, Soderbergh would have to judge his character. And how do you do that when he means so many things to so many different types of people?
I think by abandoning the conventional narrative, and showing vignettes of his life rather than presenting it chronologically, Soderbergh continues to let the audience decide.
Sure, I understand the criticism that by not showing Che commit the violent acts himself in a way absolves him of the crimes & creates in essence, a fairly tale. Yet, I think Che's pursuits were of a very macabre fairy tale.
Will I be watching this film every weekend? No way. Do I think Soderbergh could have tightened up the film overall and cut some of the fat? Absolutely. None the less, I think Soderbergh made the only film that could be made about this infamous revolutionary. It's terrifically filmed, impeccably acted, & I think Soderbergh deserves a lot of credit for bringing this controversial life to the big screen.

Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

The more details you know about Che Guevara going into Part One of Steven Soderbergh's "Che," the easier you'll embrace it. Soderbergh has a very unusual, emotionally distant, non-linear approach to this film, and while it's admirable, it's hard for a non-history buff like myself to totally grasp the story. Granted, this film isn't exactly about Che's life (which is misleading, but certainly thought provoking) and more about specific pieces (or more accurately, conversations) of a man's life that Soderbergh found intriguing. Of course, the film is beautifully shot and expertly acted, but just be warned, do your homework before hand- it will help.

It's also mandatory that you view both parts to "Che," for neither film is satisfying on it's own.

Steven Carrier

Super Reviewer

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