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Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)



Average Rating: 6.3/10
Reviews Counted: 163
Fresh: 111 | Rotten: 52

Violent, pulpy, loopy fun, with Depp stealing the show.


Average Rating: 6.3/10
Critic Reviews: 36
Fresh: 25 | Rotten: 11

Violent, pulpy, loopy fun, with Depp stealing the show.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 284,418

My Rating

Movie Info

Director Robert Rodriguez returns to the characters of his breakthrough hits El Mariachi and Desperado in this grand scale south-of-the-border action-adventure saga. Sands (Johnny Depp) is a rogue CIA agent who is working in cahoots with Mexican officials who've caught wind of a plan by corrupt military leader General Marquez (Gerardo Vigil) and ruthless drug kingpin Barillo (Willem Dafoe) to assassinate Mexico's president (Pedro Armendáriz Jr.). Sands needs to recruit a gunman to take out


Drama, Action & Adventure

Robert Rodriguez

Jan 20, 2004


Sony Pictures Releasing - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (175) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (111) | Rotten (52) | DVD (45)

A movie with that many freaks and creeps should be a lot more exciting than this one actually is.

September 18, 2003 Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Comment (1)
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A mess of a movie that nevertheless entertains because each individual piece stands high enough on its own merits that it's not necessary to look hard at the nonsensical linking material.

September 16, 2003 Full Review Source: ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

... this proves as the opposite of Cabin Fever, you can spill a lot of blood in a gratuitous, but very entertaining way.

September 15, 2003 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper | Comment (1)
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Make no mistake, this movie is a mess. But, wow, what a mess!

September 13, 2003 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Depp, a mere two months after his scene-stealing turn in Pirates of the Caribbean, once again is the best thing about a very silly movie.

September 12, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A whiz-bang kick in the pants.

September 12, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

January 16, 2011 Full Review Source: IGN DVD

Like an R-rated, violent Roadrunner cartoon.

December 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

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

June 13, 2009 Full Review Source:

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

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

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

January 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Portland Mercury

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

October 14, 2004 Full Review
Kansas City Kansan

A splendid cast and spectacular orgies of carnage combine to produce a surprisingly creaky, labored, and boring movie.

September 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Style Weekly (Richmond, VA) | Comment (1)

Over the top and all over the place, Once Upon A Time In Mexico is as unruly as it characters: joyously style-driven as a Bond movie but with its own set of style guidelines.

February 24, 2004 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Once Upon a Time in Mexico is the film I've wanted to see from Robert Rodriguez since he made Desperado in 1995.

January 5, 2004 Full Review Source: Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)
Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)

Once Upon a Time in America is an action packed western fairy tale. It may not make much sense... but then, it doesn't have to.

January 1, 2004 Full Review | Comments (2)

An enjoyable cap to the El Mariachi trilogy that occasionally disappoints, but never mars the good name of its predecessors

November 16, 2003 Full Review Source:

This is a film with too many dum dums and not enough drama.

November 14, 2003 Full Review Source: RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland) | Comment (1)

Assumindo as funções principais da produção, Rodriguez apresenta-se como verdadeiro autor de seus filmes. Pena que um não muito bom.

November 7, 2003
Cinema em Cena

'One area Rodriguez has not managed to nail down is telling a compelling narrative.'

October 22, 2003 Full Review
Star Newspapers (Chicago, IL)

God bless Johnny Depp. For the second time this year, the man has almost single-handedly redeemed an action movie that would otherwise be indistinguishable from the pack.

October 8, 2003 Full Review Source: New Times
New Times

Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek co-star in this continuation of the El Mariachi story... but it's Johnny Depp who steals the show.

October 7, 2003 Full Review Source: EDGE Boston
EDGE Boston

Rodriguez puts a lot of mindless violence on the screen. Moment to moment the films is unpredictable, but on the large scale the plot is old, predictable, and familiar.

October 6, 2003 Full Review

Rodriguez inserts loud, frenetic and oddly bloodless gun battles wherever possible and to constantly diminishing effect.

October 1, 2003 Full Review Source: eye WEEKLY

A sprawling, chaotic mess of a movie that is still incredibly enjoyable.

September 28, 2003 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

'Once Upon A Time in Mexico plays like a delirious combination of A Fistful of Dollars, The Revenger's Tragedy and Airplane.'

September 26, 2003 Full Review Source: Teletext

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
December 22, 2012
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.
November 4, 2011
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.
June 7, 2011
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

This movie proves that Robert Rodrigeuz is capable of making great movies. This movie has fantastic acting, some funny moments, and a coll but unrealistic plot.

The main reason I love this movie is it has my all time favorite movie quote:
"El, you really must try this because it's puerco pibil. It's a slow-roasted pork, nothing fancy. It just happens to be my favorite, and I order it with a tequila and lime in every dive I go to in this country. And honestly, that is the best it's ever been anywhere. In fact, it's too good. It's so good that when I'm finished, I'll pay my check, walk straight into the kitchen and shoot the cook. Because that's what I do. I restore the balance to this country. And that is what I would like from you right now. Help keep the balance by pulling the trigger."

The only bad I can think of is that sometimes all the violence is kind of unnecesary. People shoot each other for practically no reason at all sometimes. In the real world, this amount of violence would never happen, even in a poor, crime filled area.

The acting is amazing. Banderas was pretty good, but what really makes this movie? Johnny Depp as Agent Sands. It is some of the best acting I've ever seen. It's realistic, stylish and sometimes humorous or dark. Think Bullseye only not as evil.

The fight scenes in this movie have more choreography then some of the best superhero films. It's like a bit of a more intelligent Tom and Jerry, in a good way. The church battle in particular was amazing.

Overrall, this is an amazing movie. For anyone who loves a smart but wacky action movie, I suggest Once Upon A Time In Mexico today.
May 20, 2011
Marc L.
Marc Lewis

Super Reviewer

    1. Agent Sands: Are you a Mexi-CAN or a Mexi-CAN'T?
    – Submitted by JuanYamanda R (21 months ago)
    1. Agent Sands: Does 'it' have a name?
    2. Cucuy: They call him 'El', as in 'The'.
    3. Agent Sands: I know what it means... thank you.
    – Submitted by Nick S (2 years ago)
    1. Lorenzo: Practice shooting, not drinkin.
    – Submitted by Alfonso E. V (3 years ago)
    1. Agent Sands: Are you a MEXI-CAN or a MEXI-CAN'T?
    – Submitted by Alfonso E. V (3 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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