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12 Best Movies to Watch on Cinco de Mayo

Updated on March 19, 2019
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I love everything weird and colorful in this world and I try to live a live that will make the world a little better once I'm gone.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!


12 Great Films for Cinco de Mayo

Like many other Americans, I love Cinco de Mayo. We love gorge ourselves on tacos, nachos, and burritos, perhaps drink a bit of cerveza (or even a shot of Tequila). Americans just love Cinco de Mayo! (Perhaps more than Mexicans do). Sure, we have a fiesta, but what else?

How about a movie?

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a great movie with a Mexican theme. I'm not telling you to watch a documentary on the history of Mexico or all about Mexican culture (though you could). I'm saying that there are some great movies with a Mexican flavor that will have you feeling like you did your part in celebrating Cinco de Mayo.

These are in no particular order. Pick the one that fits your group of viewers.

1. Frida

Starring Salma Hayek & Alfred Molina

If you haven't seen Frida, then put this one on the top of your list. This film is the story of one of Mexico's most known artists, Frida Kahlo.

Her story is a fascinating one of exuberance, tragedy, loyalty, and sexuality. Much of the film is about Frida's relationship with her husband, another famous Mexican artist, Diego Rivera.

This is one of those films in which you learn something without feeling like you are learning. The story is so great on it's own. Plus, you can watch Salma Hayek sport Frida's famous unibrow!

Watch the trailer for Frida.

Despite being confined to a bed for much of her life after a serious bus accident, Frida Kahlo lived more than most. She was quite a woman.

Trailer for Frida

3. Tortilla Soup

Starring Hector Elizondo & Raquel Welch

Tortilla Soup is an adaptation of Ang Lee's Oscar nominated Eat Drink Man Woman, but set in a very different culture. Families are the same everywhere.

Tortilla Soup is a story of three Mexican-American daughters muddling through life, and their Father who tries to keep them together and on the right course through family dinners.

This is another food-centric film. The food scenes are mouth watering.

Here's a recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup and one for Beef Tortilla Soup, in case you are wondering what to eat before sitting down to this movie.

3. Like Water for Chocolate

Starring Marco Leonardi & Lumi Cavazos

Don't be tricked by the horrible DVD cover - this movie is amazing!

Like Water For Chocolate is based off the novel Como Agua Para Chocolate (Spanish) by Laura Esquivel, which was translated to English: Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies.

This is the story of a woman, Lumi, with immense emotion and passion, who is under the restrictions of her very strict mother. She finds and outlet for her emotions - through food. The food she prepares passes the emotions on to those who eat it, the results of which are sometimes tragic, and other times hilarious.

I can't say enough good things about this movie. It's certainly worth watching for yourself. View the trailer.

Warning: Parts of this movie feels like food porn. Don't watch on an empty stomach.

4. The Mexican

Starring Brad Pitt & Julia Roberts (and James Gandolfini)

I know - neither Brad Pitt nor Julia Roberts are Mexican. I never said they were.

The Mexican in the title here refers instead to the sub-story that is revealed throughout the movie. A story of love and a gun.

The gun becomes the center of the mayhem Pitt's character has to deal with.

This is a good movie for a Cinco de Mayo date night at home. It's got enough action for him, and enough romantic comedy for her.

Make some quesadillas, grab some cerveza, and enjoy The Mexican.

Watch the trailer of The Mexican.

5. Nacho LIbre

Starring Jack Black

Okay, so this one may not show an average Mexican experience, but it's funny and it fits the bill.

This is the story of Ignacio, the cook at a central Mexican monastery who wrestles - Lucha Libre wrestles.

If you are looking for a goofy movie for Cinco de Mayo that you can have a laugh with, this is it.

Nacho Libre Tip: This movie is 20% funnier with a shot of tequila.

Watch the trailer for Nacho Libre.

What are you looking forward to for Cinco de Mayo?

What's your favorite part of Cinco de Mayo?

See results

Three Amigos

Starring Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, & Martin Short

It's a classic.

Yeah, it might be riddled with stereotypes, but who can take that out on these three funny men?

It's light, it's fun, it has fantastic sombreros.

Watch the trailer of Three Amigos

The Ruins

You didn't see this one coming, did you?

Maybe this Cinco de Mayo you are looking for something a bit more ... thrilling.

This thriller is set in the middle of the rainforest on old Mayan ruins that are cursed with a monstrous ... something.

The people in the area know not to approach the ruins, but a group of tourists (typical horror victims) aren't so wise.

When a group of Mayans surround the ruins to keep the evil from spreading, our group of touristy teenagers face dangers of unknown origin.

This is one of those movies that has some scary moments, but also some funny ones. The premise is so absurd it's hard to tell if you should laugh or not sometimes.

It's stupid, but we love stupid.

Watch the trailer of The Ruins.


Starring Jennifer Lopez

Selena Quintanilla Perez was a latina superstar with a gorgeous smile, beautiful voice and vibrant personality, whose life was cut short (at age 23) by a disturbed fan just as she was propelling her Tejano music to wider and wider audiences.

Selena was a Mexican-American from south Texas who sold over 60 million albums worldwide!

Jennifer Lopez plays Selena in this story of her life (not of her death).

This movie has a great story as well as great music that will have you involuntarily dancing in your seat.

Watch the trailer of Selena.

The Mexico Trilogy

The final three movies on the list are El Mariachi, Desperado, and Once Upon a Time in Mexico, known as The Mexico Trilogy.

El Mariachi

Starring Carlos Gallardo & Consuelo Gómez

This first film in the Mexico Trilogy was made for the insanely low cost of $7,500 by a new filmmaker, Robert Rodriguez, however it was done amazingly well, and gave Rodriguez the chance to prove himself.

El Mariachi is an exciting, action-packed story of a guitarist turned hitman has

Watch the trailer for El Mariachi


Starring Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek

Rodriguez continues the story of El Mariachi, but with Antonio Banderas in the lead role. Desperado reached a much wider audience. It's nice to have seen El Mariachi before watching Desperado, but it is not necessary. You will still understand the story.

Watch the trailer for Desperado

Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Starring Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek & Johnny Depp

This is the third in the trilogy, but again, you could watch it without having seen the other two (but it's better if you did).

Watch the trailer for Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Y Tu Mama Tambien

Y Tu Mama Tambien (And Your Mother Too) might have Mama in the title, but it's not the kind of movie you want to watch with your Mama (at least I wouldn't). This movie is super sexy. Super super sexy. Sometimes SEXy.

This movie, made in Mexico, does not have a rating, but if did it would surely be NC-17. I can't be clearer...don't watch this with your kids - even if your kids are 30. This one is for the couples to watch.

Two teenagers that have only two things on their mind - sex and drugs, hit the road with a seductive older woman (28, so not old, just older ). While they do learn a lot about sex, they learn a lot more about life.

Y Tu Mama Tambien

Do you have a favorite movie about Mexico, set in Medico, about Mexicans or Mexican-Americans?

What's your favorite movie to watch on Cinco de Mayo?

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice lens. Some entertaining movies here (saw all but two). Have you seen "Get the Gringo" with Mel Gibson?

    • HalloweenRecipes profile image


      7 years ago

      Like Water For Chocolate is a great film and Three Amigos is a funny one. Love your Cinco de Mayo movie choices!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I like Desperado.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens.

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 

      7 years ago from Redcar

      Congratulations on LOTD

    • averymiller profile image

      Avery Miller 

      7 years ago from USA

      Great lens!

    • Marie Melodie profile image

      Marie Melodie 

      7 years ago

      That's funny - I am from Canada where we don't really celebrate 5 de Mayo. I have been living in Mexico now for 6 years and never heard of it here. They don't care in Mexico about 5 de Mayo.

      Maybe I should write a lens about that - lol

      very nice lens :)

    • profile image

      imagelist lm 

      7 years ago

      The best in my opinion is the Three Amigos...nice lens...

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens happy Cinco de Mayo.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Happy Cinco de Mayo!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens! Good day for it!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I like the movie "Stand and Deliver." It is a positive film about a predominately Mexican American high school in East Los Angeles.

    • jlshernandez profile image


      7 years ago

      I've seen Frida and Selena. The Mexican sounds interesting--may try to rent this one. Thanks for sharing ways tro celebrate CInco de Mayo.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I've seen Three Amigo's years ago very funny. Selena I remember watching some time ago. good lens.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice lens and have a happy day.

    • kdmarshall lm profile image

      kdmarshall lm 

      7 years ago

      Happy Cinco de Mayo! Nice lens too.

    • kmhrsn profile image


      7 years ago

      Loved your blurbs about each of these. Some I've seen, and some I (now) want to see. Loved Desperado and Tortilla Soup both, even though they could hardly be more different from each other. Thanks for the info! Well written article!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Happy Cinco de Mayo! Great film listing here!

    • Rosetta Slone profile image

      Rosetta Slone 

      7 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      There are some great movies here. I have to admit that, being neither Mexican nor American I have no idea what Cinco de Mayo is (I assumed it was a dish featuring mayonnaise). Off to educate myself...

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 

      7 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      "Selena." It breaks my heart every time I see it.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I haven't seen any of these but they're on my list now. Nice lens :)

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      7 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Three Amigos, hands down! Those guys are hilarious! Love when Chevy Chase asks if they have anything besides Mexican food.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Selena is one of my all time favorite movies, I think Jennifer Lopez did a great job in this film.

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 

      7 years ago from Diamondhead

      Es Muy bueno.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I loved "Like Water for Chocolate." I'd like to see it again. Have a Happy Cinco de Mayo!

    • eccles1 profile image


      7 years ago

      Love,love Tortilla Soup movie watching this father cook with all those fresh ingredients was inspiring to me!!

    • Fran Tollett profile image

      Fran Tollett 

      7 years ago

      My most favorite is The Three Amigos. Then Nacho Libre :-) I've never seen The Ruins, but I like stupid so I will have to find it and see if I like it. Good recommendations. Something for everyone.

    • Jack2205 profile image


      7 years ago

      I have seen most of these movies. The Three Amigos is my favorite.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      El Mariachi or Three Amigos. Both very good in their own, unique way.

    • LisaDH profile image


      7 years ago

      The only one of these I've seen is "Like Water for Chocolate," so I think I'll have to check out one of the others for Cinco de Mayo. Thanks!


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