Cinco de Mayo, May 5th, 2023 is right around the corner! Many here in the United States mistake the day for Mexico’s independence day, but in fact, this is not correct. The day actually marks when the Mexican army beat the French forces at the Battle of Puebla, also known as the Franco-Mexican War, and the last time a European force invaded anywhere in the Americas. In honor of Cinco de Mayo here in the States, Mexican culture is celebrated with mariachi music, Mexican cuisine with authentic Mexican food, Cinco de Mayo crafts, and Mexican cinema. There are some great movies that highlight Mexican heritage, and I have a list of some of the best. Check out this collection of the best Cinco de Mayo movies 2023 to watch in honor of Mexico’s victory at the Battle of Puebla day.
Best Cinco De Mayo Movies 2023
Plot: El Mariachi, a former musician, plunges headfirst into the dark border underworld when he follows a trail of blood to the last of the infamous Mexican drug lords, Bucho, for an action-packed, bullet-riddled showdown. With the help of his best friend and a beautiful bookstore owner, the Mariachi tracks Bucho, takes on his army of desperados, and leaves a trail of blood of his own. Directed by Robert Rodriguez.
Star Cast: Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas, Steve Buscemi, Cheech Marin, Quentin Tarantino, Joaquim de Almeida
Cinco De Mayo: La Batalla (The Battle)
Plot: As the conquering French army attempts to establish a monarchy in Mexico, General Ignacio Zaragoza assembles a ramshackle regiment in a bid to defend the city of Puebla for a legendary battle. Outnumbered and outgunned, the brave soldiers fight to drive out the invading forces as the flames of war stoke the passions of two young Mexican lovers.
Star Cast: Kuno Becker, Liz Gallardo
The Book of Life
Plot: In the Mexican town of San Angel, Manolo, Maria and Joaquin have been friends ever since childhood. Although their lives have taken different paths — Maria was sent to Europe, Joaquin joined the military, and Manolo studied to become a bullfighter — one thing remains the same: Manolo and Joaquin both want to marry Maria. Little does the trio know that battling husband-and-wife deities have made a high-stakes wager on the love triangle’s outcome.
Star Cast: Diego Luna, Zoë Saldana, Channing Tatum, Guillermo del Toro
Y Tu Mama Tambien
Plot: The lives of Julio and Tenoch, like those of 17-year old boys everywhere, are ruled by raging hormones, intense friendships, and a headlong rush into adulthood. Over the course of a summer, the two best friends, while living out a carefree cross-country road trip with a gorgeous older woman, also find connection with each other, themselves and the world around them.
Star Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, Maribel Verdu
Plot: Biopic of the bold and controversial life of artist Frida Kahlo. Set in Mexico City, this visually evocative film traces her lifelong, tempestuous relationship with her mentor, along with her illicit affairs with Trotsky and various women. Her forward-thinking artistic, political and sexual attitudes are explored as we witness a hard-drinking, passionate woman of the early 1900s, which earned an Oscar nomination for Salma Hayek.
Star Cast: Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina, Edward Norton, Antonio Banderas
Plot: It’s 1944 and the Allies have invaded Nazi-held Europe. In Spain, a troop of soldiers are sent to a remote forest to flush out the rebels. They are led by Capitan Vidal, a murdering sadist, and with him are his new wife Carmen and her daughter from a previous marriage, 11-year-old Ofelia. Ofelia witnesses her stepfather’s sadistic brutality and is drawn into Pan’s Labyrinth, a magical world of mythical beings.
Star Cast: Ivana Baquero, Doug Jones, Ariadna Gil
Plot: “Amores Perros” is a bold, intensely emotional, and ambitious story of lives that collide in a Mexico City car crash. Inventively structured as a triptych of overlapping and intersecting narratives, “Amores Perros” explores the lives of disparate characters who are catapulted into unforeseen dramatic situations instigated by the seemingly inconsequential destiny of a dog named Cofi.
Star Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Vanessa Bauche, Emilio Echevarria
Plot: Mexican rancher Emiliano Zapata becomes a revolutionary when corrupt President Porfirio Diaz ignores the needs of his people. Zapata, his brother Eufemio and northern rebel Pancho Villa mariachi band together behind Diaz’s political opponent, Francisco Madero. But when Madero’s administration, particularly General Victoriano Huerta, proves just as corrupt as the one it replaced, Zapata is spurred to further action.
Star Cast: Marlon Brando, Fay Roope, Anthony Quinn, Alan Reed, Harold Gordon, Frank Silvera
Plot: Despite his family’s generations-old ban on music, young Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead. After meeting a charming trickster named Héctor, the two new friends embark on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.
Star Cast: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Gabriel Iglesias
Plot: Biographical story of the rise from nowhere of early rock and roll singer Ritchie Valens who died at age 17 in a plane crash with Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper.
Star Cast: Lou Diamond Phillips, Esai Morales, Danielle von Zerneck, Rosanna DeSoto