7.0/10
975
16 user 6 critic

Cabeza de Vaca (1990)

A handful of survivors from a disastrous 1528 Spanish expedition to Florida journey across the coast until they reach Mexico.
Reviews
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

It is May 1520 in the vast Aztec Empire one year after the Spanish Conqueror Hernán Cortés' arrival in Mexico. "The Other Conquest" opens with the infamous massacre of the Aztecs at the ... See full summary »

Director: Salvador Carrasco
Stars: Damián Delgado, José Carlos Rodríguez, Elpidia Carrillo
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A former felon is blackmailed by a corrupt policeman and forced to commit a crime.

Director: Arturo Ripstein
Stars: Pedro Armendáriz Jr., Narciso Busquets, Ernesto Gómez Cruz
Atlantiques (2009)
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Directed by Mati Diop (35 rhums), Atlantiques recounts the odyssey of Senegalese friends who attempt a life-threatening boat crossing. Melancholic and mysterious, the film urgently and elegantly addresses the perils of illegal migration.

Director: Mati Diop
Stars: Alpha Diop, Cheikh M'Baye, Ouli Seck
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The life of a man who preys on unsuspecting women for a living is changed when he finds an accomplice in the woman who loves and controls him.

Director: Arturo Ripstein
Stars: Regina Orozco, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Sherlyn
Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A dramatization of John Reed's newspaper accounts of the Mexican Revolution. Considered the first real film in Mexican cinema to be made on the Mexican Revolution.

Director: Paul Leduc
Stars: Claudio Obregón, Eduardo López Rojas, Ernesto Gómez Cruz
Certificate: MG6 Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Flama and Moko are fourteen years old; they have been best friends since they were kids. They have everything they need to survive yet another boring Sunday: an apartment without parents, ... See full summary »

Director: Fernando Eimbcke
Stars: Diego Cataño, Daniel Miranda, Enrique Arreola
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Damian is a married artist living in Los Angeles with his wife. After he accidentally hits a woman with his car and flees the scene, he seeks atonement and travels alone to Mexico, both to ... See full summary »

Director: Carlos Bolado
Stars: Damián Alcázar, Jesús Ochoa, Fernando Torre Laphame
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A woman faces a variety of emotional crises as she spends the summer interacting in various ways with friends, family, and lovers.

Director: Angela Schanelec
Stars: Ursina Lardi, Andreas Patton, Anne Tismer
La Soledad (2016)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A vivid and intimate account of the Venezuelan crisis told through the real-life struggle of a young father trying to save his family from the demolition of their home.

Director: Jorge Thielen Armand
Stars: José Dolores López, Adrializ López, Marley Alvillares
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Based on the Nobel Prize Winner's novel, the Egyptian Naguib Mahfouz. The story, translated from El Cairo to Mexico City's downtown, narrates the life of the members of the neighbourhood ... See full summary »

Director: Jorge Fons
Stars: Ernesto Gómez Cruz, María Rojo, Salma Hayek
Marseille (2004)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Marseille describes an interlude in the life of young Berlin photographer Sophie. Wanting a change, Sophie does an apartment swap, so she can go photograph the city of Marseille, and most of all get away from Berlin.

Director: Angela Schanelec
Stars: Maren Eggert, Emily Atef, Alexis Loret
Nachmittag (2007)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A family spends three summer days in a beautiful lake mansion close to Berlin. Together with her new lover, Irene visits her brother Alex, who still inhabits the house with his writer son ... See full summary »

Director: Angela Schanelec
Stars: Jirka Zett, Miriam Horwitz, Angela Schanelec
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Juan Diego ... Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
Daniel Giménez Cacho ... Dorantes
Roberto Sosa ... Cascabel / Araino
Carlos Castañón Carlos Castañón ... Castillo
Gerardo Villarreal Gerardo Villarreal ... Estebanico
Roberto Cobo ... Lozoya (as Roberto 'Calambres' Cobo)
José Flores José Flores ... Malacosa
Eli 'Chupadera' Machuca Eli 'Chupadera' Machuca ... Sorcerer
Farnesio de Bernal Farnesio de Bernal ... Fray Suárez
Josefina Echánove ... Anciana Avavar
Max Kerlow ... Man in Armor
Óscar Yoldi Óscar Yoldi ... Esquivel
Ramón Barragán Ramón Barragán ... Pánfilo de Narváez
Julio Solórzano Foppa Julio Solórzano Foppa ... Alcaraz
Javier Escobar Villarreal Javier Escobar Villarreal ... Young Iguase Indian
Edit

Storyline

An international award winning saga of old Mexico. In 1528, a Spanish expedition founders off the coast of Florida with 600 lives lost. One survivor, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, roams across the American continent searching for his Spanish comrades. Instead, he discovers the Iguase, an ancient Indian tribe. Over the next eight years, Cabeza de Vaca learns their mystical and mysterious culture, becoming a healer and a leader. But soon this New World collides with the Old World as Spanish conquistadors seek to enslave the Indians, and Cabeza de Vaca must confront his own people and his past. Written by Concorde - New Horizons (with permission).

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official site [France]

Country:

Mexico | Spain | USA | UK

Language:

Spanish | Latin

Release Date:

12 October 1991 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

Cabeça de Vaca See more »

Filming Locations:

Coahuíla, Mexico See more »

Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$789,127
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The huge figure of a naked man wielding a club which is created by the Indian sorcerer is an accurate representation of the ancient Celtic chalk carving known as the Cerne Abbas Giant, which is 60 metres in height and is located on a hillside overlooking the village of Cerne Abbas in Dorset, England. See more »

Connections

Featured in Conquistadors (2000) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Encounters at the Ends of the World
3 August 2010 | by chaos-rampantSee all my reviews

The conquest of a new world on behalf of the Spanish crown in the 16th century was built on atrocity and deceit, fueled by lies and rumours, greed and ambition. But also failure and anguish. Cabeza de Vaca is one such tale of failure and anguish. Cabeza, acting as the treasurer for Captain Narvaez's expedition, is shipwrecked off the Florida coast and picked on by natives. The historical details of his journey and gruelling subsequent life under capture are skewed though, the movie does not make attempts at historical realism, it goes for the primitive and spiritual. Or this is how it would be if the soldiers on the raft got rid of Aguirre and drifted further downstream to wash up in Herzog's Cobra Verde and become slaves to a shaman and his armless midget helper.

The world we're shown is at once horrible and wonderful and director Etchevveria photographs it as both. For big swathes of time the movie is without dialogue and we're crouching on the dirt as the natives perform elaborate rituals that mean nothing to us. The words are lost in the translation but the ceremonial aspect remains. Bodies covered in mud, painted blue and ghastly white, adorned with feathered headpieces, witch doctors making voices and calling out to something, Cabeza de Vaca, both movie and protagonist, observes it all with a half-mad stare and twitching hands.

When the survivors of the expedition reach Spanish hands again, one of them exalts the audience with tales of golden cities in the north and shaman potions that give the drinker the sexual prowess of 20 mules. Coronado traveled as far north to New Mexico to discover the 7 Cities of Gold probably on one such impossible tale recounted around the fire by drunken conquistadors desperate to believe. The will to empire is not only the pursuit of the mad and the hopeless, the ambitious and the greedy, but also in itself the result of myth and poetic fabrication, a self-fulfilling prophecy that becomes true by the simple fact it has been pursued.

The biggest flaw in the movie is the protagonist. Every time Juan Diego opens his mouth or gesticulates the results are cringeworthy. Manic ferocity came natural to Kinski because he was manic, Diego on the other hand chews scenery like he's playing this for the theater. When he's lost in his own thoughts and acts mad, the results are significantly better.

A filthy gaunt figure dressed in rags is climbing on ragged redrock terrain, walls of rock rising on all sides, he can barely traces his steps but there's nowhere to trace them to, he's a strange man lost in a strange violent world that makes no sense - the movie is his anguished cry in the wilderness echoed all around him like the wilderness is crying back at him. The final image is an ecstatic metaphor, like something Herzog would have improvised, and it's a stunning way to close the film.


3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 16 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed