Xicana/o Film Collection

We are in the process of including a selection of films for, by and about Xicanas/os in Aztlán Reads and Notes from Aztlán. The film list that appears below is part of the Chicana/o Studies Research Center at UCLA…


In June 1998, on nationwide television, the American Film Institute (AFI) unveiled its list of the 100 greatest American movies. The list included no independent films, no documentary films, no avant-garde films, no short narrative films, and precious few silent films. The list contained not one single film directed by women or racial minorities.

In December 1998, in the premier journal of Chicano studies, the Aztlan Film Institute (AFI) unveiled its list of top 100 films. The list presents a provisional Chicano film and video heritage, one that remains outside the official histories of the American cinema. Below are selected titles in chronological order by category. To see the full essay introducing the list, click here.


I Am Joaquin (1969) El Teatro Campesino
América Tropical (1971) Jesús Salvador Treviño
Requiem 29 (1971) David Garcia
Yo Soy Chicano (1972) Jesús Salvador Treviño
Cinco Vidas (1972) José Luis Ruiz
La Raza Unida (1972) Jesús Salvador Treviño
Si Se Puede (1973) Rick Tejada-Flores
Carnalitos (1973) Bobby Páramo
Cristal (1974) Severo Pérez
Garment Workers (1975) Susan Racho
The Unwanted (1975) José Luis Ruiz

Los Desarraigados (1975) Francisco X Camplis

Mascaras (undated) Francisco X Camplis
La Onda Chicana (1976) Efraín Gutiérrez
Agueda Martinez: Our People, Our Country (1977) Esperanza Vasquez
Chicana (1979) Sylvia Morales
Ballad of an Unsung Hero (1983) Isaac Artenstein and Paul Espinoza
Rag Top Ralph (1984) Juan Garza.
The Lemon Grove Incident (1986) Paul Espinoza
Santeros (1986) Ray Tellez
When You Think of Mexico: Commerical Images of Mexico (1986) Yolanda Lopez
No Porque lo Diga Fidel Castro (1988) Graciela Sanchez
La Ofrenda: The Days of the Dead (1988) Lourdes Portillo
Chicano Park (1988) Marilyn Mulford and Mario Barrera
Mi Otro Yo (1988) Philip & Amy Brookman
Mbamba (1989) Olivia Chumacero
Uneasy Neighbors (1989) Paul Espinosa
Una Lucha Por Mi Pueblo (1990) Federico Antonio Reade
Twenty Years . . . y que? (1990) Nancy de los Santos
The New Tijuana (1990) Paul Espinosa
Friday Night under the Stars (1990) Rick Leal
Los Mineros (1991) Hector Galan and Paul Espinosa
De Mujer a Mujer (1993) Beverley Sanchez-Padilla
Cholo Joto (1993) Augie Robles
¡Viva 16! (1994) Valentin Aguirre and Augie Robles
El Diablo Nunca Duerme/The Devil Never Sleeps (1994) Lourdes Portillo
Chicano! History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement (1996) Four-part documentary series. Executive producer: José Luis Ruiz. Series producer: Hector Galán. Segment producers: Robert Cozens, Hector Galán, Sylvia Morales, Mylene Moreno, and Susan Racho.
The Fight in the Fields: César Chávez and the Farmworkers Struggles (1996) Ray Telles and Rick Tejada-Flores
Fear and Learning at Hoover Elementary (1997) Laura Angélica Simón


My Trip in a ’52 Ford (1966) Ernie Palomino
Mozo, or an Introduction into the Duality of Orbital Indecision (1968) Severo Pérez
Ghost Town (1974) Willie Varela
Becky’s Eye (1975) Willie Varela
Cruel Profit (1975) Harry Gamboa Jr.
No Movies (misc., 1975-1978) Harry Gamboa Jr. and Asco
April 1977 (1977) Willie Varela
Entelequia (1978) Juan Salazar
Mi Hermano, Mi Hambre (1978) Gustavo Vazquez
Stan and Jane Brakhage (1980) Willie Varela
Night Vigil (1982) Betty Maldonado
Recuerdos de Flores Muertas (1982) Willie Vare
Imperfecto (1983) Harry Gamboa Jr.
Insultan (1983) Harry Gamboa Jr.
Vaporz (1984) Harry Gamboa Jr.
Baby Kake (1984) Harry Gamboa Jr.
Blanx (1984) Harry Gamboa Jr.
Agent Ex (1984) Harry Gamboa Jr.
Fearless Leader (1985) Willie Varela
In Progress (1985) Willie Varela
Juntos en la Vida, Unidos en la Muerte (1985) Willie Varela
No Supper (1987) Harry Gamboa Jr.
Border Crossing, Versions One and Two (1988) Willie Varela
Anima (1989) France Salomé España
Replies of the Night (1989) Sandra P. Hahn
Making Is Choosing: A Fragmented Life: A Broken Line: A Series
of Observations (1989) Willie Varela
Reaffirmation (1990) Willie Varela
Cronica de un Ser (1990) S. M. Peña
The Idea We Live In (1990) Pilar Rodriguez
Mujeria: The Olmeca Rap (1991) Osa Hidalgo de la Riva
Border Brujo (1991) Isaac Artenstein
Slipping Between (1991) Sandra P. Hahn
L.A. Merge (1991) Harry Gamboa Jr.
El Espejo (1991) Frances Salomé España
A History of Violence (1991) Danny G. Acosta
A Lost Man (1992) Willie Varela
Columbus on Trial (1992) Lourdes Portillo
Ramona: Birth of a Mis*ce*ge*NATION (1992)
El Mundo L.A.: Humberto Sandoval, Actor (1992) Harry Gamboa Jr.
L.A. Familia (1993) Harry Gamboa Jr.
Thanksgiving Day (1993) Willie Varela
Loner with a Gun (1994) Harry Gamboa Jr.
Fire Ants for Nothing (1994) Harry Gamboa Jr.
Border Swings/Vaivenes Fronterizos (1994) Berta Jottar
Straight, No Chaser (1995) Eugene Rodriguez
In Saturn (1996) Willie Varela
Depression (1996) Laura Aguilar
Knife (1996) Laura Aguilar
The Body (1996) Laura Aguilar
Short or Video Narratives:
Los Vendidos (1972) Luis Valdez
El Corrido (1976) Luis Valdez
Guadalupe (1976) José Luis Ruiz
Despues del Terremoto/After the Earthquake (1979) Lourdes Portillo and Nina Serrano
Seguin (1981) Jesús Salvador Treviño
Esperanza (1985) Sylvia Morales
Tormenta (1985) Juan Garza
The Royal Family (1987) Juan Garza
Who Gets to Water the Grass? (1987) Luis Meza
Esperanza (1987) Graciela Sanchez
Ojos que no ven (1987) José Gutiérrez-Gómez and José Vergelín
Corridos! Tales of Passion and Revolution (1987) Luis Valdez
Face to Face with AIDS (1988) Socorro Valdez
Mi Casa (1989) Edgar Bravo
Vida (1989) Lourdes Portillo
Albert Pastor’s First Video Project (1989) Juan Garza
Distant Water (1990) Carlos Avila
The Trouble with Tonia (1990) Juan Garza
Mi Hermano (1990) Edgar Bravo
Between Friends (1990) Severo Perez
Always Roses (1990) Luis Avalos and George Figueroa
I’ll Be Home for Christmas (1990) Robert Diaz LeRoy
The Detour (1991) Joseph and Raul Tovares
La Pastorela: The Shepherds’ Tale (1991) Luis Valdez
The Bike (1991) Gary Soto
Bedhead (1992) Robert Rodriguez
The Pool Party (1992) Gary Soto
Tanto Tiempo (1992) Cheryl Quintana Leader
How Else Am I Supposed to Know I’m Still Alive? (1993) Evelina Fernández and José Luis Valenzula
La Carpa (1993) Carlos Avila
The Ballad of Tina Juarez (1994) Juan A. Uribe
Cruel (1994) Desi Del Valle
Mi Pollo Loco (1995) Andrew Durham, Rico Martinez, and Victor Vargas
El Corrido de Cherry Creek (1995) Gwylym Cano
Pretty Vacant (1996) Jim Mendiola
Foto-Novelas (1997) Four-part dramatic series: “Seeing Through Walls,” “In the Mirror,” “Mangas,” “The Fix” Executive Producer: Carlos Avila. Episode directors: Carlos Avila and A. P. Gonzalez
I.N.F.I.T.D. [I’ll Not Fall into the Devil] (1997) Aldo Velasco

Feature Films:

Please, Don’t Bury Me Alive/Por Favor, ¡No me Entierren Vivo! (1976) Efraín Gutiérrez
Raíces de Sangre (Mexico, 1977) Jesús Salvador Treviño
Amor Chicano es Para Siempre/Chicano Love is Forever (1978) Efraín Gutiérrez
Only Once in a Lifetime (1978) Alejandro Grattan and Moctesuma Esparza
Run, Tecato/Junkie, Run (1979) Efraín Gutiérrez
Zoot Suit (1981) Luis Valdez
The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1982) Robert Young and Moctesuma Esparza
El Norte (1983) Gregory Nava
Heartbreaker (1984) Frank Zuniga
La Bamba (1987) Luis Valdez
Born in East L.A. (1987) Richard “Cheech” Marin
Break of Dawn (1988) Isaac Artenstein
Stand and Deliver (1988) Ramon Menendez
Kiss Me a Killer (1991) Marcus de Leon
American Me (1992) Edward James Olmos
El Mariachi (1992) Robert Rodriguez
River Bottom (1992 and 1994) Robert Diaz LeRoy
. . . and the Earth Did Not Swallow Him (1994) Severo Pérez and Paul Espinosa
A Million to Juan (1994) Paul Rodriguez
Mi Familia/My Family (1995) Gregory Nava
Painflower (1995) Fred Garcia
Follow Me Home (1995) Peter Bratt
The Big Squeeze (1996) Marcus de Leon
Staccato Purr of the Exhaust (1996) Luis M. Meza
Selena (1997) Gregory Nava and Moctesuma Esparza

8 Responses to Xicana/o Film Collection

  1. I’m a professor of ethnic studies at the University of San Diego. Thought you might be interested in our recent documentary film, Everything Comes from the Streets, about the history of lowriding in San Diego and the borderlands, which aired in select PBS markets this fall and showed at a number of film festivals in 2013-2014.
    We’re working on developing accompanying curriculum to be used in high schools and ethnic studies courses. It’s available online for free here: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=everything+comes+from+the+streets
    You can purchase a DVD on our website: http://www.everythingcomesfromthestreets.

  2. Elias says:

    Great list of books and videos, films. “Chicana”, and “A Crushing Love” (by Silvia Morales) should be on here. Also the documentary by Cal State LA vete on Texas Farmworker movement (title?). Another two rare/obscure films “In search of Aztlán” (Cinema Guild, 2002. VTC-3468) and “Footprints on the Asphalt” (Serna).

    • admin says:


      Thank you for your input. I have used Sylvia Morales’ Chicana in my work before, so I am surprised its not on the list :-/
      I will definitely have to update the list as well as the other lists I have, especially the video collection. I noticed a couple of videos are no longer functioning.


  3. Dr Antonio Gonzalez says:

    Great Super Collection. The Institute of Chicano Culture Inc.

  4. Francisco X Camplis says:

    I made a 12 minute film while a student at Stanford U 1975 which is not listed titled: Los Desarraigados, about the issue of Migra raids on our people in the 70s; Chon Noriega mentioned my film and my essay, Towards the Development of a Raza Cinema, in his book on Chicano Films. My one minute film was produced by the UFW as a tele spot. I also made a 3 minute film titled: Mascaras about education and Raza. Jesus Treviño is a friend. Be glad to send you a DVD of these and later films if you wish. I request that my film(s) be considered for inclusion in your list. I’m sure there are others like myself who have not received the recognition we deserve for a variety of reasons.
    Muchas gracias
    Francisco X Camplis

    • admin says:


      I did add the two film titles your provided. I have been meaning to update this list. Thanks for your suggestions.


  5. Hi raza, my name is Victor Virgen. I live in Salinas Ca. I am actually working on a documentary myself. I would like to speak to all directors that were mentioned here for my project. I already spoke to Efrain Gutierrez, Jesus Trevino. I would like to view and or show clips of other director’s films. My next director to interview is Moctesuma Esparza, Luiz Valdez, Bill Yahurus, to name a few. Please feel free to give me a call. Thanks. (831)272-9036.

  6. Jovita Molina says:

    You really should consider adding the movie Salt of the Earth. It was the only US movie to be blacklisted during the “Red Scare” in Hollywood. And Rosaura Revueltas was arrested and deported on trumped up reasons about her passport then they blacklisted her for being a communist which was totally untrue. It is a great film in my opinion that gives Mexican American women dignity and character.
    Just a suggestion but don’t take my word for it, watch it!

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