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Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)


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

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

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

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


Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 284,584


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

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


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Critic Reviews for Once Upon a Time in Mexico

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.

Full Review… | September 18, 2003
Boston Globe
Top 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.

Full Review… | September 16, 2003
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | September 15, 2003
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | September 13, 2003
Top 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

A whiz-bang kick in the pants.

September 12, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

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

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

Full Review… | October 14, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

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

Full Review… | September 23, 2004

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.

Full Review… | February 24, 2004
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.

Full Review… | January 5, 2004
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.

Full Review… | January 1, 2004

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

Full Review… | November 16, 2003

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

Full Review… | November 14, 2003

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.'

Full Review… | October 22, 2003
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.

Full Review… | October 8, 2003
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.

Full Review… | October 7, 2003
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.

Full Review… | October 6, 2003

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

Full Review… | October 1, 2003

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

Full Review… | September 28, 2003
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.'

Full Review… | September 26, 2003

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

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.

Marc L.
Marc Lewis

Super Reviewer

Once Upon a Time in Mexico Quotes

Agent Sands:
Are you a Mexi-CAN or a Mexi-CAN'T?
– Submitted by JuanYamanda R (24 months ago)
Agent Sands:
Does 'it' have a name?
They call him 'El', as in 'The'.
Agent Sands:
I know what it means... thank you.
– Submitted by Nick S (2 years ago)
Practice shooting, not drinkin.
– Submitted by Alfonso E. V (3 years ago)
Agent Sands:
Are you a MEXI-CAN or a MEXI-CAN'T?
– Submitted by Alfonso E. V (3 years ago)

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