The Mambo Kings

1992

The Mambo Kings

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

81%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 26

69%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,122
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Movie Info

Based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Oscar Hijuelos, The Mambo Kings are brothers Cesar (Armand Assante) and Nestor Castillo (Antonio Banderas), Cuban musicians who immigrate to New York City to find fame and fortune in 1950s America. After hitting it big on the nightclub circuit, the duo scores a huge chart hit with "Beautiful Maria of My Soul," a song penned by the sensitive Nestor in an attempt to exorcise the spirit of the woman who broke his heart. The hit captures the attention of the patron saint of Cuban musicians, Desi Arnaz (played by his son Desi Jr.), who enlists the Castillos to appear on his I Love Lucy television program. As quickly as the Mambo Kings' star rose, however, it begins to fall; they never again achieve the kind of attention lavished on them following their TV appearance. The doomed Nestor marries a woman named Delores (Maruschka Detmers), but can never shake his love for Maria; compulsive womanizer Cesar loves Delores himself, while his arrogance continually alienates key figures in the star-making machinery.

Cast

Armand Assante
as Cesar Castillo
Antonio Banderas
as Nestor Castillo
Desi Arnaz Jr.
as Desi Arnaz Sr.
Celia Cruz
as Evalina
Tito Puente
as Himself
Roscoe Lee Browne
as Fernando Perez
Ahn Duong
as Ismelda Perez
Helena Carroll
as Mrs Shannon
John Herrera
as Luis Fajardo
Vitamin C
as Redhead on Bus
Joe Conzo
as Killer
Miller P.
as Killer's Girlfriend
Doug Barron
as Mike Wells
Jose Alberto
as Johnny Casanova
Frank Grillo
as Machito
Ron Townson
as Empire MC
June Brown
as Portly Woman
Valerie McIntosh
as Tracy Blair
Jonathan Del Arco
as Young Cesar
Salvador Miranda
as Young Nestor
Rene Monteaqudo
as Robertico
Ryan Howell
as Kid with Basketball
Dawn McKinster
as Poolside Patron
Julie Pinson
as 2nd Girlfriend
Cynthia Santos
as Mario's Girlfriend
Susie Stillwell
as Club Patron
Maiquel Saurez
as Cleaning Lady
Natalie Zimmerman
as 3rd Girlfriend
Debra Scott
as Enchantment
Scott Cohen
as Bernardito
Pete MacNamara
as Johnny Bing
J.T. Taylor
as Frankie Suarez
James Medina
as Manny - The Mambo Kings Band
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Critic Reviews for The Mambo Kings

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (5)

Audience Reviews for The Mambo Kings

  • Mar 04, 2009
    I liked how serious both the musicians were about music in this film. That isn't portrayed convincingly in film very often.
    Morris N Super Reviewer
  • Nov 27, 2007
    Two ambitious Cuban brothers come to New York to make a name for themselves as musicians during the mambo craze of the 1950's. By day they work hard at manual labor, at night they are transformed; but the pressures of fame threaten to drive them apart. Academy Award Nominations: Best Song ("Beautiful Maria of My Soul").
    Martin D Super Reviewer

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