Old Gringo

1989

Adventure / History / Romance

6
IMDb Rating 5.8/10 10 2128 2.1K

Director

Top cast

Jane Fonda as Harriet Winslow
Gregory Peck as Bitter
Sergio Calderón as Zacarias
Jimmy Smits as Arroyo
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.06 GB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 58 min
Seeds 16
1.97 GB
1920*1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 58 min
Seeds 18

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Nazi_Fighter_David 7 / 10

A good film about a young general who wants to change the world, and an old writer who wants to bid it farewell

The time of the film is 1913, when the American frontier was closing fast… Mexico, on the other hand, was still in a romantic era, the time of Pancho Villa and the Mexican Revolution… Luis Puenzo presented the violent scenes passionately and it is his passion that makes the picture interesting… His use of slow motion to prolong dying remembered me the great Sam Peckinpah in his great Western "The Wild Bunch."

The film begins with Harriet Winslow (Jane Fonda), a repressed American spinster caught in the middle of the Mexican Revolution, when Pancho Villa's revolutionary army was moving against important families in Mexico, declaring them enemies of the Revolution and confiscating all their property…

The state of Chihuahua was in that moment revolutionary country, and Winslow was seen heading to the Miranda hacienda controlled by Federales…

At first, Harriet (who accepted a job as a governess) saw herself caught in a shoot-out and asked for help to return to the border… but later on, she starts to see that something in her face has begun to open… Her clear blue eyes were sweeter than before… And since she never felt in love for being always afraid of the unknown, it was here where her life begins, in a land where death was not the end, but only the beginning…

Jimmy Smits had his moments when he told our heroine that the battles have made him general… The land that he fought for and the people he has killed, starting with the old landowner who raped his mother and made him a bastard… His mother was an Indian peasant while his father was a rich aristocrat… This wasn't just his history… It was the history of everybody in Mexico…

Peck does a fine job in his touching portrait of the intolerable gringo old enough to be an observer… He had dared to say farewell to a world, where he wrote every day of his life without exception… He wrote when his youth drifted by, and while love betrayed him… Ambrose Bierce grows fond of the young general, considering him too much like him, capable of fighting for words written on pieces of paper… In an especially poignant scene, his best moments come long before the end, when not knowing if this might perhaps be Harriet's ' first time' he requested that she participates with him in what will undoubtedly be his 'last time…'

"Old Gringo" depicts the Mexican music, life of the Mexican people, their special cult to the death, their drunken fiesta, their cheerful whores trading sex for books, the faces of the children, sometimes observers, sometimes participating in the whole twisted ethic of violence…

There is some nice cinematography in the film, and the Mexican countryside is well taken… Most of the film's action takes place in a fine hacienda

Reviewed by planktonrules 5 / 10

It looks nice...but that's all...

The idea for this film isn't bad. Back in 1913, a sickly and aging writer (Ambrose Bierce) decided to go to one of the most exciting and dangerous places on the planet--Mexico during the revolution that followed the ouster of the dictator, Porfirio Diaz. While no one knows for sure why he chose to do this, the film's contention that he was suicidal and wanted to "go out with a bang" seems quite reasonable. However, exactly what happened to the man is a total mystery--and to this day no one knows exactly what happened to him. Contact with his simply stopped! This film seems to create a fictionalized idea of what COULD have happened to Bierce (played by Gregory Peck). However, the film did so by creating a fictionalized character of an American teacher (Jane Fonda) who gets tricked into walking into the midst of the fighting--and, naturally, slowly is won over to the side of the soldiers of Pancho Villa--though Villa himself does not appear in the film until the end. In the meantime, Fonda and Peck meet with and spend time with General Aroyo (I have no idea if he was a real person or fictionalized--I assume he was fictionalized since I found nothing on him on the internet). Aroyo is played by Jimmy Smits.

So what did I think of this film? Well, on one hand it was a lovely film. The music and cinematography worked together to make a film that was quite pleasing to the senses. The slow pacing and evocative spirit was quite nice. Plus, the three leads are all very good actors and you have to respect their talents. However, despite these factors, the film also had a lot of problems--too many to make it worth seeking out yourself. While it looked good, the film was, after a while, incredibly boring. The plot just seemed to stagnate after a while and seemed to go no where--like they never really worked out the plot completely. And, the most serious problem is that it's hard to like or relate to the characters. Just when you start to connect with them, they behave in ways that make you either hate them or wonder what the @%## motivates them. It's rare to see a movie that has characters that are more ill-defined--and excellent acting can't make up for that.

There is one final problem with the film, though most who watch it won't realize it. As a history teacher, I was well acquainted with the Mexican revolution. The various factions, frankly, were all pretty screwed up! While there were things to admire about Pancho Villa and his faction, he was also a blood-thirsty bandit as well as reformer--provided HE was the one doing all the reforms. As for the alternatives, they weren't any better. The ideas of land reform and democracy were wonderful--too bad no one leading any of the factions really did anything to actually improve the lot for the average Mexican! A lot of people died, but essentially the country wasn't much better off when all was said and done. So, in a war when there are no clear "good guys", who do you care about in this film?!

As for Miss Fonda and Mr. Peck, they both have been long-time leftists--and very pro-revolution. I strongly suspect that this is why they made this film. I am all in favor of revolution when it means getting rid of evil, but like the Beatles song "Revolution", such movements need to have more to them than just a desire to change things. I wish in hindsight they'd chosen a more productive and life-changing revolution to dramatize--such as the "Velvet Revolution" Czechsolovakia or the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Just my two cents worth.

Reviewed by bkoganbing 6 / 10

Old Gringo Review

Mexico in the teen years of the last century was no place to be, not even for Mexicans as the country broke down completely after the overthrow of dictator Porfirio Diaz. A lot of people grabbed for power, including one Pancho Villa who got emboldened enough to cross the U.S. border and shoot up Columbus, New Mexico. That got Woodrow Wilson to sending the army to capture Villa without success.

But that's getting way ahead of this story. It concerns American writer Ambrose Bierce who went to revolutionary Mexico and disappeared into obscurity much in the manner of the French poet Francois Villon. The plot of this film offers a theory as to what could have happened to Bierce.

Dominating the film is Gregory Peck in the title role. He captures Bierce in all of his sardonic cynicism for which his writing lives on. This Bierce has all the reason to just want to leave his world behind, his wife had recently died, but not after being discovered to be involved with another man. Two of his three children, both of his sons died violent deaths. Bierce was a man who felt he had no reason to live on.

Peck gets involved with two other people in a romantic triangle, Jane Fonda as a spinster who gets hired to tutor some landowner children and Jimmy Smits who's using the revolution to settle some personal scores with that same landowner family. In fact Smits gets himself rather caught up in the whole ambiance of being to the manor born with what he feels are good reasons.

All though all three of the leads have been in much better product, Old Gringo still is a good piece of cinema and does capture some of the anarchy that was revolutionary Mexico.

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