Old Gringo

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"A woman inspired by a man of dreams swept into the arms of a general, and drawn into a worlds of danger."
  • R
  • 1989
  • 1 hr 59 min
  • 5.8  (2,069)

Old Gringo, released in 1989, is a Western adventure film based on Carlos Fuentes’ novel, The Old Gringo. The film stars Jane Fonda, Gregory Peck, and Jimmy Smits in leading roles. The story is set in Mexico, during the Mexican Revolution in 1913. Harriet Winslow (Jane Fonda), an American schoolteacher, leaves her privileged life in the United States to take a teaching job in Mexico. Once there, Harriet meets the legendary American writer, Ambrose Bierce (Gregory Peck), who also happens to be the “Old Gringo” of the title. Bierce has decided to leave the United States and come to Mexico, where he believes he can experience some adventure before he dies.

Bierce and Harriet form a bond and he becomes a mentor to her. He teaches her about life and love before eventually disappearing into the landscape. Harriet is left feeling sad and alone, missing the old man who had helped her to understand life.

But Bierce does not disappear without a trace. Instead, he ends up crossing paths with General Arroyo (Jimmy Smits), a ruthless military man who is fighting against the revolutionary Pancho Villa. Arroyo has an intense fascination with Bierce and is convinced that he has intimate knowledge about the United States military strategy that he can use against them. He captures Bierce and plans to use him as a bargaining chip, but Bierce's intelligence and resourcefulness could give him one last chance to live.

The film is a thought-provoking exploration of the human condition and the complexities of a country in flux. The Mexican Revolution serves as the backdrop, revealing the harsh reality of life during wartime, but it is the intimate relationships between the characters that really shine.

Fonda and Peck are both impressive, delivering powerful and nuanced performances. Fonda, in particular, portrays Harriet's transformation from a timid woman to one who is brave and assertive with poise and grace. Peck is equally wonderful in his portrayal of the Old Gringo, who has spent his life searching for something greater than himself.

Meanwhile, Smits is excellent as General Arroyo, a ruthless character who displays a surprising depth of emotion despite his brutal nature. His character presents the moral dilemma of the story, as he is both a villain and a tragic figure shaped by his culture and circumstances.

One of the most impressive aspects of the film is its cinematography. Director Luis Puenzo beautifully captures the sweeping landscapes of Mexico, creating a sense of awe and wonder that draws viewers deeper into the story. The hauntingly beautiful score by Lee Holdridge further enhances the film's emotional impact and helps to immerse the audience in its world.

In summary, Old Gringo is a powerful and moving film that explores the complexities of human relationships set against the backdrop of a nation in upheaval. The film's incredibly talented cast, stunning cinematography, and haunting score all come together to create a cinematic tour de force that is both emotionally resonant and visually stunning.

Old Gringo is a 1989 action movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 59 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.8.

Old Gringo
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 59 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.8  (2,069)