This article is about the film American Me Cast. American Me tells the story of the rise of the Mexican Mafia in the California prison system from the 1950s to the 1980s.
American Me offers a brutal look at life behind bars, produced, directed, and starring Edward James Olmos. Based on real people, this movie offended many members of the Mexican Mafia, primarily due to one scene where their revered founder is shown being forcibly raped as a teenager.
According to 60 Minutes, three men in American Me Cast, who acted as consultants were later killed over this scene. Executive producers included Lou Adler, screenwriter Mutrux, and Irwin Young. It depicts a fictionalized account of the founding and rise to power of the Mexican Mafia in the California prison system from the 1950s into the 1980s.
American Me Cast Details:
- Edward James Olmos as “Montoya Santana”.
- Panchito Gomez as “Young Montoya Santana”.
- William Forsythe as “J.D”.
- Steve Wilcox as “Young J.D”.
- Pepe Serna as “Mundo”.
- Richard Coca as Young “Mundo”.
- Daniel A. Haro as “Huero”.
- Sal Lopez as “Pedro Santana”.
- Vira Montes the “Esperanza Santana”.
- Danny De La Paz as “Puppet”.
- Daniel Villarreal as “Little Puppet”.
- Evelina Fernández as “Julie”.
- Roberto Martín Márquez the “Acha”.
- Dyana Ortelli as “Yolanda”.
- Jacob Vargas as “Paulito Santana”.
- Eric Close as “Juvie Hall Attacker”.
- Rigoberto Jimenez as “Big Happy”.
- Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as “El Japo” .
- Robby Robinson as “Drug Thief”.
- Ron Thompson as “Junkie”.
- Rafael H. Robledo as “El Chucko” Pena.
American Me Movie Summary:
There is a scene late in “American Me” where a police squad car pulls up at a bus stop where a man and woman are standing. It is late at night. The couple has attended a wedding, and are informal clothes. A cop gets out of the car, looks at the man, and asks him if he has done time in prison.
Just like that. Is there a sad aura of some kind that allows a cop to look at a man and know he has spent most of his life behind bars? American Me tells the man’s story at that bus stop? His name is Santana. He is a Hispanic American who grows up in East Los Angeles, joins a street gang, and is in prison while still in high school.
Prison is his school. By the time he is back on the streets again, he is a skillful, educated criminal. U.S. penal system has done its work – which, in this movie, is neither the punishment nor the eradication of crime, but the training of criminals.
Teamed up with Nick Barili for #AcademySeen to chat my early stints in baseball and rock n’ roll before finally landing on acting. Catch the full episode on YouTube starting on Monday (1-31-22) Starts airing at 12:00pm.#TheAcademy #nicolasbarilli #sswa pic.twitter.com/p9QdWe7u3Z— Edward James Olmos (@edwardjolmos) January 30, 2022
Edward James Olmos, who directed the movie and plays Santana, says the film is based on a true story. That doesn’t mean much to me; by the time the film finish with them, true stories are as fictional as any other.
However, I felt watching “American Me” is based on an actual situation – on the reality that street gangs and prison, mixed with the drug sales that finance the process, work together to create a professional criminal class. Santana is two men, according to the woman’s voice that we hear in the first moments of the film. One of those men is shy and sweet and doesn’t know how to dance or make love.
The other man is a murderer. The movie covers many years of Santana’s life, as the sweet man inside gradually tries to make himself heard over the killer. The film is not optimistic about the outcome of this struggle.
Olmos, a strong actor nominated for an Oscar for “Stand and Deliver,” creates a Santana who keeps his secrets very well hidden. Chain-smoking (cigarettes are a status symbol in prison), he stands hunched, his eyes on the ground, saying hard truths.
He is a natural leader. From inside the prison, he runs a drug operation on the outside – and the movie makes the surprising case that this is the norm, that the jails control the drug traffic.
Outside, where he falls in love with an understanding woman (Evelina Fernandez), he is already a big man because of his stature in prison. In echoes from “The Godfather,” Santana leads his gang to revolt against the Mafia don (Tony Giorgio) who controls all the street drugs.
A war breaks out. It is the wrong war at the wrong time, and it makes enemies of the blacks – the evil enemies. Santana struggles to hold things together as a hotheaded new generation comes along. He was a hothead himself once.
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The movie was primarily shot in two difficult locations: The streets of East L.A. and inside Folsom Prison. It knows these worlds. The language, the clothes, the attitudes are all shown with the understated conviction of a director who is sure of his material.
Olmos even reaches behind the natural boundaries of his story to include an opening sequence before Santana is born. He shows the Zoot Suit riots in Los Angeles in 1943 and 1944 when uniformed service members beat Hispanics. These scenes are not included simply for the atmosphere. Still, they set up a crucial secret that will colour Santana’s whole life.
“American Me Cast” is unusual in its approach to its material. Although it shows Hispanic neighbourhoods in crisis and a generation being lost to drugs, guns and crime, it does not scapegoat – the tragedy is not blamed on the dependable standby of racism but is seen as part of the disintegration of society as a whole.
In interviews, Olmos talks about the grim statistics: nearly 800 murders in Los Angeles per year, more than half of all the juvenile offenders accused of murder. He spends a lot of time working with young prisoners.
He knows their streets. He sees a world where gang killings are being replaced by murders committed simply for the adrenaline rush of pulling the trigger. A world in which drugs and gangs define reality—a world without alternatives.
A character like Santana, born into an earlier version of such a world, may eventually discover what is wrong and what he must do through hard lessons and his underlying strength of character. But “American Me” questions whether society will let him.
As Santana knows, we often hear of the need for leadership in ethnic ghettoes. But what if only one kind of leadership is possible? What if the choices are crime or death?
You will absolutely fall in Love with the performance of American Me Cast that is for sure.
The film opened in wide release in the United States on March 13, 1992 (830 screens). The opening weekend’s gross was $3.4 million, and the total receipts for the first three weeks were $9.1 million which showed how hard American Me Cast worked.
The film was in wide release for three weeks (seventeen days). The film was featured in 830 theatres in its most extended-release. The final box office gross amounted to $13.1 million which was a big success for American Me Cast and team collectively.
Budget of American Me:
The budget of the American Me and American Me Cast collectively is $16 million. It depicts a fictionalized account of the founding and rises to the Mexican Mafia’s power in the California prison system from the 1950s into the 1980s.
- Budget $16 million
- Box office $13 million
American Me Cast Reviews:
- 73% Rotten Tomatoes
- American Me scored 73 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes.
- American Me scored 7.2 out of 10 on IMDb.