American Me (1992) - Rotten Tomatoes

American Me (1992)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

American Me Photos

Movie Info

Edward J. Olmos made his directorial bow with the powerhouse crime saga American Me. Olmos stars as street-gang leader Santana, who during his 18 years in Folsom Prison rules over all the drug-and-murder activities behind bars. Upon his release, Santana goes back to his old neighborhood, intending to lead a peaceful, crime-free life. But his old gang buddies force him back into his old habits. The omniprescene of the "Mexican Mafia" in the southwest is sufficient to make this film a daunting, demoralizing experience. Upon its release, American Me received a lot of press play due to the fact that Olmos shot his Folsom sequences on location, using actual prisoners as extras and bit players.

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Daniel Villarreal
as Little Puppet
Sal Lopez
as Pedro
Vira Montes
as Esperanza
Panchito Gomez
as Young Santana
Steve Wilcox
as Young JD
Richard Coca
as Young Mundo
Tom Bower
as Dornan (uncredited)
Joe Aubel
as Tattoo Artist
Rob Garrett
as Zoot Riot Bystander
Lance August
as Young Sailor
Cody Glenn
as Older Sailor
Don Pugsley
as Police Officer
Albert Joe Medina Jr.
as Street Mechanic
Alex Solis
as Street Mechanic
Richard Lee-Sung
as Restaurant Owner
Eric Close
as Juvie Hall Attacker
Christian Klemash
as Blonde Kid in Yard
Rafael Robledo
as El Chucko
Brian Joe Holechek
as Juvie Officer
Michael Shaner
as Tony Scagnelli Jr.
Glenn Shelton
as Visiting Room Guard
Scott Johnstad
as Visiting Room Guard
Abraham J. Verduzco
as Paulito (age 7)
Grace Morley
as JD's Friend
Vic Trevino
as Cheetah
Robby Robinson
as Drug Thief
Guillermo Perez
as Willie-Vato
Dennis Ryan Sacco
as Paulito (age 11)
Michael A. Shaner
as Tony Scagnelli Jr.
Tom S. Ventimiglia
as Segregation Guard
William Fetzer
as Processing Guard
Thomas Richard Gorman III
as Processing Guard
George Padilla
as Mundo's Attorney
Jacob Vargas
as Paulito (age 15)
Daniel Lujan
as Mico (age 9)
Rodney Rincon
as Shoe Salesman
John A. Rangel
as Neto (age 15)
Robert Pucci
as Bodyguard
Tony Giorgio
as Don Antonio Scagnelli
Manny Perry
as Arthur J.
Bennie Moore
as Ronnie Little
Alex Brown
as Eddie Johnson
Gerald L. Walker
as BGF Member
Anna Lizarraga
as Julie's Mother
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Critic Reviews for American Me

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (3)

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.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Olmos's directorial debut provides a window to the experiences a gang member faces. Giving a rare complexity to its protagonist gives a layered in-depth look into why this vicious cycle continues & perhaps a possibility to break this wheel.

July 3, 2021 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…

At 125 minutes, American Me is long, and feels longer.

June 10, 2021 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Throughout, Olmos dominates the film with an impassive, yet inwardly tormented performance as he wears the implacable mask of power.

April 24, 2018 | Full Review…

The film's intent to serve as a cautionary tale is admirable, but Olmos acts better than he directs, and the film is shapeless and disjointed. .

February 12, 2007 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Worth seeing for Olmos' performance alone.

July 25, 2002 | Rating: 3.5/5

Audience Reviews for American Me

Although there's a stumble on a believable performance from the supporting cast and transitions, the film is an intimidating and pulse-pounding force of truth. American Me's hard-hitting exploitation and direction/production/performance from Olmos carries the film as an ominous and exceptional reality check. 4/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer

This one could have easily been titled Mexican-American History X. It's a little less polished but every bit as captivating.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Gut-wrenching, brutal, and powerful, American Me is not enjoyable in the conventional sense, but stands out as one of the most impressive purely dramatic offerings. It's a story of violence and its dehumanizing consequences that, in some ways, is reminiscent of The Godfather, with characters that echo those from the Puzo/Ford-Coppola epic. Director Edward James Olmos fearlessly takes aim at the culture of machismo which has enveloped so many inner city youths. This is an unrelenting condemnation of that lifestyle, a portrait of the sort of brutality that violence begets. In my opinion, one of the very few "gang" films that seemed to get it right and doesn't try to glorify the lifestyle, but instead show consequences. Photobucket

El Hombre Invisible
El Hombre Invisible

Super Reviewer

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