Esai Morales - Rotten Tomatoes

Esai Morales

Highest Rated:   96% La Bamba (1987)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Brooklyn, New York, USA
A New York-born actor of Puerto Rican descent whose performances in such efforts as La Bamba and Rapa Nui offered a lingering, devastating sense of depth, Esai Morales found success on screens both large and small. Frequently challenging stereotypes and always imbuing his characters with individuality, he was first inspired at the age of 12 by Al Pacino's searing performance in Dog Day Afternoon in 1975. Speaking only Spanish until the age of five, Morales showed talent in a series of stage roles in and around New York City. He graduated from New York's prestigious High School of the Performing Arts before appearing in productions at the Ensemble Theater Studio (El Hermano) and New York's Shakespeare Festival in the Park (The Tempest). In 1982, the actor made his screen debut in the Paul Morrissey film Forty Deuce. His role as Sean Penn's imposing nemesis in the following year's Bad Boys offered a horrific glimpse of the violence of juvenile detention facilities, and, in 1987, Morales cemented his reputation as a talent to watch when he played ill-fated rock & roll singer Ritchie Valens' brother in La Bamba. Equally adept at playing menacing tough guys or more sensitive characters, Morales eschewed stereotypes with roles as an Irish bootlegger in Bloodhounds of Broadway (1989) and an Argentine gangster in Naked Tango (1991). A memorable role as an Easter Island native involved in a painful civil war in 1994's Rapa Nui earned him rave reviews, despite going largely unseen, and the handsome actor was again impressive as a Mexican-American youth in My Family the following year. Morales also drew praise in 1997 for his top-billed role in The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca, and after portraying the father of Cuban refugee Elian Gonzales in the made-for-TV feature A Family in Crisis: The Elian Gonzales Story, Morales stood out with an ALMA-nominated role as Lt. Tony Rodriguez in the enduring police drama NYPD Blue. He also appeared in such features as Paid in Full (2002) and Isla Bella (2004), and had a recurring role in PBS's eagerly anticipated Mexican-American-themed series American Family. In addition to his TV and film work, the self-described activist volunteers time to such organizations as the Earth Communications Office, the Wildlife Preservation Fund in Costa Rica, and the Health Education AIDS Liaison.

Photos

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet Never Back Down: No Surrender
  • Actor
2016
No Score Yet Casa Vita
  • Rodrigo
2016
54% Spare Parts
  • Mr. Santillan
2015
No Score Yet Playin' for Love
  • Principal Jose Marti
2015
No Score Yet Jarhead 2: Field of Fire
  • Cpt. Jones
2014
No Score Yet Teachers (Saving Westbrook High)
  • Manny Cortez
  • Executive Producer
2013
4% Atlas Shrugged: Part II
  • Francisco d'Anconia
$2.6M 2012
No Score Yet Seattle Superstorm
  • Tom Reynolds
2012
62% Gun Hill Road
  • Enrique
  • Executive Producer
$0.2M 2011
60% Cherry
  • Wes
$11.6k 2010
No Score Yet King of the Avenue
  • The Devil
2010
No Score Yet Kill Kill Faster Faster
  • Actor
2008
No Score Yet La Linea (The Line)
  • Pelon
2008
No Score Yet Once upon a Wedding
  • Pineda
2007
No Score Yet Beisbol: The Latin Game
  • Actor
2007
50% Fast Food Nation
  • Tony
$1M 2006
No Score Yet How to Go Out on a Date in Queens
  • Frankie
2006
No Score Yet The Virgin of Juarez
  • Young Priest
2006
No Score Yet American Fusion
  • Jose
2005
52% Paid in Full
  • Lulu
$3.1M 2002
No Score Yet The Adventures of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina
  • Vergas Mouse
2002
29% American Virgin
  • Jim the Director
2000
No Score Yet Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman
  • Actor
2000
No Score Yet Southern Cross
  • Philip Solano
1999
No Score Yet Atomic Train
  • Noris `Mac' MacKenzie
1999
80% The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit
  • Dominguez
1998
No Score Yet The Real Thing
  • Collin
1997
29% The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca
  • Ricardo
1997
No Score Yet Scorpion Spring
  • Astor
1996
No Score Yet Dog Watch
  • Actor
1996
No Score Yet Dogwatch
  • Murrow
1996
85% My Family
  • Chucho
1995
No Score Yet Deadlock 2
  • Actor
1995
No Score Yet The Burning Season
  • Jair
1994
No Score Yet Rapa Nui
  • Make
1994
6% In the Army Now
  • Sgt. Stern
1994
No Score Yet Don't Do It
  • Charles
1994
No Score Yet Ultraviolet
  • Nicholas Walker
1992
14% Freejack
  • Ripper
1992
No Score Yet Naked Tango
  • Zico
1991
No Score Yet A Climate For Killing
  • Actor
1991
No Score Yet Amazon
  • Actor
1990
No Score Yet Bloodhounds of Broadway
  • Handsome Jack Maddigan
1989
50% The Principal
  • Raymi
1987
96% La Bamba
  • Bob Morales
1987
No Score Yet On Wings of Eagles
  • Actor
1986
89% Bad Boys
  • Paco
1982
No Score Yet The Great Love Experiment
  • Actor
1982

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Chicago P.D.
2014
  • Chief Lugo
  • 2017
20% Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders
2016
  • Mateo Cruz
  • 2017
No Score Yet Blue Bloods
2010
  • Sgt. Trey Delgado Trey Delgado
  • 2016
  • 2015
No Score Yet From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series
2014
  • Malvado Lord Amancio Malvado
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
69% From Dusk Till Dawn
  • Actor
  • 2015
53% The Brink
2015
  • Julian Navarro
  • 2015
No Score Yet Criminal Minds
2005
  • Mateo Cruz
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
No Score Yet Major Crimes
2012
  • Actor
  • 2013
56% Magic City
2012-2013
  • Carlos Ruiz
  • 2013
  • 2012
No Score Yet Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
1999
  • Actor
  • 2012
57% Fairly Legal
2011-2012
  • Aaron Davidson
  • 2012
  • 2011
80% Caprica
2010
  • Joseph Adama
  • 2011
  • 2010
No Score Yet CSI: Miami
2002-2012
  • Stephen Madsen
  • 2010
No Score Yet Real Time With Bill Maher
2003
  • Panelist
  • 2008
89% Burn Notice
2007-2013
  • Ernie Paseo
  • 2007
No Score Yet American Experience
1988
  • Voice
  • Narrator
  • 2001
No Score Yet The Twilight Zone
1985-1989
  • Jesse
  • 1989
No Score Yet George Lopez
2002-2007
  • Manny

Quotes from Esai Morales' Characters