M.A.S. Movies for Your School Library. : MAS Texas Talk
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M.A.S. Movies for Your School Library.

by Tony D on 06/05/14

I visited the Lone Star College-North Harris Library to find films for my Mexican American Literature Course. They had 2 that I want to use. This reminded me that we need to ask folks once again for their top ten list of Chicano Films to include in Mexican American Studies Courses or to have in stock for Hispanic Heritage Month. This will also become part of the MAS Texas Took Kit we are developing for teachers, which will also include lesson plans.

So, I'll start the list with:

This is the top ten list so far . . . and then some . .  .

(We have forsaken grammar for speed. We want the list first.)

UPDATE: (Friday, June 6, 2014) Thanks for your responses!!  Based on your suggestions, I've created a top ten list of Chicano Movies to accompany my Mexican American Literature course, which is college level and can also be a dual credit course for high school. As such, there has to be some kind of link to a book. Regarding lesson plans, I'll post my syllabus for the college level version, and then I'll also post lesson plan info for some of the individual films, for a college or high school setting. This can also be used in our Librotraficante Under Ground Library workshops.

I'm also listing some of the great issues to debate that have come up. And I'll keep tweaking and finessing this.

1. Zoot Suite by Luis Valdez.

2. A Class Apart.

3. The Longoria
Affair by Jeff Valadez.

4. And the earth did not swallow him (1994).

5. Luis Valdez's 1969 short "I am Joaquin" (Yo Soy Joaquin)

6. Bless Me, Ultima.


Real Women Have Curves (2002)

Walk Out

10.  Cesar Chavez

And yes, I'll have to do some explaning, but first let's discuss number  11 and beyond:

11. Blood in Blood Out: Bound by Honor

More films . . .

Stand and Deliver

The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez

The Milagro Beanfield War

La Bamba


As Long as I Remember: American Veteranos

Salt of the Earth (1954)

The Chicano Movement series by pbs.

American Me


Mi Vida Loca

Mosquita y Mari

The Sixth Section (Alex Rivera, 2003)

Precious Knowledge (Ari Palos, 2011)

The Rain God and Migrant Souls by the late Arturo Islas



El Norte

El Mariachi

Fear and Learning at Hoover Elementary

Hable con Ella

The Lemon Grove Incident

"Also not a #chocanofilm but "American Family" on #pbs was important"

La Mission

@yayayarndiva: @Librotraficante How about "Day without a Mexican?"

@MarissaRodz: .@Librotraficante "Mi Vida Loca" & "American Me". Also not a #chocanofilm but "American Family" on #pbs was important

#ChicanoFilms “@anneperez: @Librotraficante The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit. Machete.” @officialDannyT @MacheteKills 

Lupe Mendez I would add "Giant" - as a whole poetry book was inspired by the movie - Tito Villanueva "SCENES FROM THE MOVIE GIANT"

Anamaría Flores "bread and roses"

Lupe Mendez El Secreto Se Sus Ojos (its argentinian, but if we are adding Hable con Ella and Volver, then this is good too)

Daniel Garcia Ordaz Dare I say . . . ?

MJ Robledo  La misma luna, A Better Life, The Other Side of Immigration, Canela,

Daniel Garcia Ordaz http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0039668/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2
Jose Garcia Sleep Dealer. http://youtu.be/CCZJ5mSF3Wc

Gabriel Itzcoatl Luera Casa De mi padre

Daniel Garcia Ordaz ALTAR: Cruzando Fronteras/Building Bridges.

Barbara Renaud Gonzalez Roosters

Daniel Garcia Ordaz http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/chavezravine/cr.html
Samantha Rae López Amor Chicano es Para Siempre

Kathleen Alcala Border Radio, Solamente Una Vez. At least one movie from the 40s that features an actor like Rita Hayward or John Gilbert.

Samuel Ornelas The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, Narco Cultura, Colors, Voces Inocentes, El Infierno, Traffic, The other side of immigration, G-Dog.

Nathalie Paravicini The most striking movie I have seen that tells the story of immigrants is La Ciudad. Four vignettes on the undocumented immigrant reality, acted by actual migrants and a handful of professionals. I remember it was released with a curriculum and discussion points. I just saw the DVD was released in 2005.

Carlos A. Martinez Havest of Empire

A Crushing Love: Sylvia Morales. Excellent film on Chicana activists!

Kathleen Alcala Footage of the Mexican Revolution by Sergei Eisenstein.

Viva Samuel Ramirez Interesting mentions of movies here.. But I see lots of immigrant-centric films (which could be , but aren't necessarily Chicano films) ... And then there's the off-the-rack cultural garbage like Blood in blood out or mi vida loca.

I'll submit ZOOT SUIT, Selena , la Bamba , and Elysium. The first three for obvious reasons . And Elysium because it was the most widely viewed Chicano film of its year.

Tony S Martinez Any movie with Rita Hayworth. Cesar Romero. Marlon Brando as Zapata. Silent film era with Latinos. John Ford The Searchers. Don't forget the Antonio Aguilar story and his only English movie and why he walked away from Hollywood. So many stories before 1985 people.

Daniel Garcia Ordaz I love that in the Oscar-winning film, Crash, the Chicano is the only one who is NOT racist!

Pending questions:

Does Sin Nombre count?

"Grapes of wrath"....i know, i know, but still.


I wud say 'mi vida Loca' y 'American Me'but those just kind of feed in2 the typical Chicano stereotype.Go outside the box.

@AnaLuzRedux: Also?...critical look of at Latino characters on TV:RickyRicardoChicoRodriguezPabloRiveraLt.CastilloVictorSifuentes

Do we include: Born in East L.A.?
Nacho Libre?

What is your top ten list?

I'll post an update in time for our radio show next Tuesday, June 10, 2014, and we'll talk about on the air.  www.nuestrapalabra.org

Tony Diaz, El Librotraficante
Tune into Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say
Tuesdays 6p-7p 90.1 FM KPFT
Houston, TX

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