Cocaine Cowboys

2006

Cocaine Cowboys

Critics Consensus

As frenetic, thrilling, and lacking in subtletly as its drug of focus...and just as likely to prompt some hard questions after it's gone.

69%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 51

79%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 77,109

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Movie Info

When brutal Colombian cocaine lords moved to Miami in the early '80s, they brought with them a form of decadence, drugs and debauchery that hadn't been seen since the Prohibition days. This stylized, high-energy film reveals how Miami went from a sleepy southern city to a drug-and-murder capital, as told by the people who put the vice in "Miami Vice."

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Critic Reviews for Cocaine Cowboys

All Critics (51) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (35) | Rotten (16)

  • Ropey graphics and sub-Scarface synth music simply add to the feeling that you're getting a low budget experience.

    February 6, 2018
  • A documentary examining the Miami drug wars of the early 1980s in exhaustive - and occasionally nauseating - detail.

    February 6, 2018 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Andrew Pulver

    Guardian
    Top Critic
  • Grisly crime scene snaps accompany the story, which makes Miami Vice look like a tea party and Florida like hell on earth.

    November 23, 2007 | Rating: 2/5
  • The haystacks of cash and coke are laughably insane - as is the head-count: thousands of people were gunned to death. This is the only state in the world where Scarface might raise a smile.

    November 23, 2007 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Too often the film crosses the line between recording his subjects' illegal activities and aggrandising them.

    November 23, 2007 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Neil Smith

    BBC.com
    Top Critic
  • It's the sort of glamour-meets-violence drugs-crime story on which lads' mags thrive: unqualified, over-reverent and hysterical.

    November 22, 2007 | Rating: 2/6 | Full Review…

    Dave Calhoun

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Cocaine Cowboys

  • Jul 22, 2013
    About a year ago, I got a copy of what was allegedly this film but was in actual fact the sequel..not to say that that wasn't a bad film but this one was the masterpiece. A very eye opening film about the ease to which drugs were imported into Miami before the War on Drugs and the impacts on the Miami economy.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • May 20, 2013
    Cocaine Cowboys is an interesting documentary about the cocaine trade in Miami in the 1970's. The subject is fascinating and the interviews are from the guys who took part in the illicit trade. Jon Roberts and Mickey Munday recount their experience. The film also takes a look at the lawlessness of Miami due to Cocaine wars. This film is raw, gritty and intense. The film is quite good, but due to kinetic editing and awkward pacing, it is hard to follow. It almost feels like the director didn't know to find a perfect pace for the film. Aside from that, this is still entertaining and there is plenty of information that will bring to light this interesting subject. This is not a film for everyone, but it is a must see for people interested in true crime subjects. This is a compelling film, but it should been done better. The way it was put together feels amateurish, but luckily enough the subjects tell a good account of events, which what makes this standout and overcome its flaws. Some of the accounts are quite bone chilling and disturbing. This is a worthwhile documentary, but not the best I've seen. The film feels like a made for TV documentary, but nonetheless it's interesting for what it is, but is not a film worth watching again and again. Cocaine Cowboys is flawed of course, but if you love true gangster stories of real accounts, then this is the film for you, but be warned, it's not well edited and it feels a bit rushed in terms of the way it was filmed. For such a topic, you'd think that it would be a great documentary, but it's merely a good one at best.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Aug 24, 2010
    Alex hit this one on the head. Questionable editing, and the American pilot guy is a big prick. Some of the things he says are just, "wow, really, man?" But interesting, nonetheless, in its depiction of the cartel.
    matt s Super Reviewer
  • Oct 22, 2009
    Great 70s/80s cocaine documentary
    Brody M Super Reviewer

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