El Norte (1984)

El Norte




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

"When will we find a home?" Rosa asks her brother Enrique at the end of their long journey. Alone in a strange land, they have only each other. The search for roots and the importance of family inform Gregory Nava's and Anna Thomas's lyrical and emotionally powerful El Norte, just as they will the filmmakers' later My Family, which showed at Sundance in 1995. One of the first films to portray faithfully the plight of Central American political refugees, El Norte is a remarkable fusion of … More

Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Art House & International, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Gregory Nava, Anna Thomas
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 20, 2009
Criterion Collection


as Enrique Xuncax

as Arturo Xuncax

as Lupe Xuncax

as Josefita

as Truck Driver

as Raimundo

as Bruce

as Carlos

as Man in Bus
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for El Norte

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.


Critic Reviews for El Norte

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (4)

From the very first moments of El Norte, we know that we are in the hands of a great movie.

Full Review… | September 19, 2014
Top Critic

It is beautifully lensed and comes across as a kind of giant Renaissance canvas.

Full Review… | September 19, 2014
Top Critic

El Norte is not exactly a great film, but it's a very good one that, through the devices of fiction, manages to provoke a number of healthily contradictory feelings about the world we all inhabit at the moment.

Full Review… | August 23, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

Though his subject is a serious one and his intentions are apparently noble, Nava has made a film that is essentially indistinguishable from Love Story.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

It's heartening to see this non-Hollywood production finding a solid niche in the commercial movie circuit.

Full Review… | September 19, 2014
Christian Science Monitor

Splendid on nearly every level.

Full Review… | September 19, 2014
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for El Norte


I'm sort of embarrassed that I like this so much, especially the part when it devolves into a horror story because of THE MICE OH MY GOD THE MICE, but I don't know - it's also kind of charming in its own simple way.

Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer

Brother and sister from Guatemala decide to seek refuge in the U.S. That's the first part. The second half details their life in that magical city in "the north" called Los Angeles. The last shot is heartbreaking. Well plotted film deservedly won an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

Mark Hobin

Super Reviewer


The simple story of a brother and sister who escape their oppressive home in Guatemala and make their way North to Mexico and eventually past the border into the US, and learn to live in America illegally and overcome their cultural differences. The scene in the sewage tunnel with the rats is horrific. I think the movie is pretty good on the whole, even if it isn't terribly complex.

Ken Scheck

El Norte Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss El Norte on our Movie forum!