Once upon a Time in Mexico - Rotten Tomatoes

Once upon a Time in Mexico (2003)



Critic Consensus: Violent, pulpy, loopy fun, with Depp stealing the show.

Movie Info

Haunted and scarred by tragedy, El Mariachi has retreated into a life of isolation. He is forced out of hiding when Sands, a corrupt CIA agent, recruits the reclusive hero to sabotage an assassination plot against the president of Mexico, which has been conceived by the evil cartel kingpin, Barillo. But El Mariachi also has his own reasons for returning--blood revenge. The desperado returns with his two capable cohorts Lorenzo and Fideo. And the legend of El Mariachi reaches new heights of … More

Rating: R (for strong violence, and for language)
Genre: Drama , Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Robert Rodriguez
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 20, 2004
Box Office: $55.8M
Sony Pictures Releasing - Official Site


as El Mariachi

as Carolina

as Ajedrez

as Barillo

as General Marquez

as Gen. Marquez

as El Presidente

as Presidential Advisor

as Cab Driver

as Dr. Guevera

as Chicle Boy

as Mariachi's Girl

as Pistolera

as Hospital Administrat...

as Chief Federale

as Bachelorette

as Bull Fighter
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Once upon a Time in Mexico

All Critics (175) | Top Critics (40)

Still loaded with action and wonderful characters, but this is the least of the three pictures.

Full Review… | January 16, 2011

Like an R-rated, violent Roadrunner cartoon.

Full Review… | December 26, 2010
Common Sense Media

...a cartoonish action movie that entertains without garnering empathy for any of its characters, with the exception of Ruben Blades' Jorge.

Full Review… | June 13, 2009

Would be such a good movie, were it not so utterly ridiculous and laden with sheer stupidity and nonsense...

Full Review… | April 29, 2009
Cinema Crazed

Occasionally hits heights worthy of its Sergio Leone-inspired title ... but its manic invention exhausts more than enthralls.

Full Review… | January 21, 2005
Portland Mercury

To be fair, Rodriguez's wicked dialogue does elicit some laughs amongst the on-screen carnage.

Full Review… | October 14, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

Audience Reviews for Once upon a Time in Mexico

With an all-star cast and dynamic visualization, Rodriguez's third installment of the "El Mariachi" trilogy surpasses those that followed. With a dazzling presentation, violent storytelling and surprising performance from Johnny Depp, the film is a joy for those who love Rodriguez's films and/or just plain enjoy action films. 4/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer


Robert Rodriguez once again tries to out-pulp his long term collaborator Quentin Tarantino in yet another remake of El Mariachi. He makes no bones as to his intentions, the opening credit proclaiming it "A Robert Rodriguez flick" rather than "film", and the result is a slickly entertaining but rather vacuous affair. Desperado had just the right mix of drama, humour and action but this sequel is rather lacking in the dramatic momentum that involves the audience. I think the problem is that Banderas' character is easily the least interesting of the ensemble cast; he does little more than mope around and shoot stuff in increasingly over the top set pieces to the point where it starts to feel like a hispanic Jackie Chan movie without the jokes. Far more interesting is Johnny Depp's amoral and smart-mouthed CIA agent, complete with tourist's wardrobe, fake arm and collection of comedy moustaches; I couldn't help thinking that it would've been a much better film if HE were the central character. But as it is, it's a fun slice of popcorn entertainment, and with Depp, Banderas, Salma Hayek (who is otherwise wasted) and Eva Mendes in the mix, there's plenty of eye candy for both sexes.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

The conclusion to Robert Rodriguez's mariachi trilogy is a pretty epic, and really badass way to bring things to a close. There are however, too many subplots and characters, most of which don't make sense or are not handled all that well. I don't think that's why people wanna see this, or why they should see it though. This isn't about the plot or stories, but the stunts and spectacle. That's where this film really shines.

The action is intense, well choreographed, and plentiful. There are a few too mant characters, but some of them are still pretty cool and quirky, especially the one played superbly by Johnny Depp.

Doing just about everything but acting, Rodriguez delivers a rousing film here, and does a pretty excellent job (excluding the iffy screenplay, that is). This is probably #2 as far as ranking the trilogy goes, even though I've always had a soft spot for Desperado.

If you want crazy action done right, then don't hesitate to give this one a watch.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Once upon a Time in Mexico Quotes

– Submitted by JuanYamanda R (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Nick S (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Alfonso E. V (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Alfonso E. V (3 years ago)

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