Once upon a Time in Mexico (2003) - Rotten Tomatoes

Once upon a Time in Mexico2003

Once upon a Time in Mexico (2003)



Critic Consensus: Violent, pulpy, loopy fun, with Depp stealing the show.

Once upon a Time in Mexico Photos

Movie Info

Haunted and scarred by tragedy, El Mariachi has retreated into a life of isolation. He is forced out of hiding when Sands, a corrupt CIA agent, recruits the reclusive hero to sabotage an assassination plot against the president of Mexico, which has been conceived by the evil cartel kingpin, Barillo. But El Mariachi also has his own reasons for returning--blood revenge. The desperado returns with his two capable cohorts Lorenzo and Fideo. And the legend of El Mariachi reaches new heights of adventure.

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Antonio Banderas
as El Mariachi
Salma Hayek
as Carolina
Eva Mendes
as Ajedrez
Willem Dafoe
as Barillo
Gerardo Vigil
as General Marquez
Gerardo Virgil
as Gen. Marquez
Pedro Armendáriz Jr.
as El Presidente
Pedro Armendáriz Jr.
as The President
Julio Oscar Mechoso
as Presidential Advisor
Tito Larriva
as Cab Driver
Miguel Couturier
as Dr. Guevera
Tony Valdes
as Chicle Boy
Natalia Torres
as Mariachi's Girl
Luz Maria Rojas
as Pistolera
Carola Vazquez
as Hospital Administrator
Rene Gatica
as Chief Federale
Silvia Santoyo
as Bachelorette
Juan Pablo Llaguno
as Bull Fighter
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Critic Reviews for Once upon a Time in Mexico

All Critics (169) | Top Critics (41)

A succession of set pieces, however vivid and colourful will not alone make a coherent movie. And this is far from coherent. Colourful, but nuts.

January 11, 2018 | Full Review…

Like an R-rated, violent Roadrunner cartoon.

December 26, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

A shoddy Sergio Leone 'tribute' filmed from a first draft by a director who lacks the discipline to match his talent.

September 24, 2003 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

As an iconic image, [Depp] captures the feeling of Rodriguez's movie: blinded and shooting randomly in all directions.

September 22, 2003 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

In fact, his main character the Mariachi disappears for long stretches of the film's brisk 97-minutes, the director instead choosing to shift much of the attention on Depp's beguilingly double-dealing CIA agent.

September 20, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

A movie with that many freaks and creeps should be a lot more exciting than this one actually is.

September 18, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Once upon a Time in Mexico

With an all-star cast and dynamic visualization, Rodriguez's third installment of the "El Mariachi" trilogy surpasses those that followed. With a dazzling presentation, violent storytelling and surprising performance from Johnny Depp, the film is a joy for those who love Rodriguez's films and/or just plain enjoy action films. 4/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer


Robert Rodriguez once again tries to out-pulp his long term collaborator Quentin Tarantino in yet another remake of El Mariachi. He makes no bones as to his intentions, the opening credit proclaiming it "A Robert Rodriguez flick" rather than "film", and the result is a slickly entertaining but rather vacuous affair. Desperado had just the right mix of drama, humour and action but this sequel is rather lacking in the dramatic momentum that involves the audience. I think the problem is that Banderas' character is easily the least interesting of the ensemble cast; he does little more than mope around and shoot stuff in increasingly over the top set pieces to the point where it starts to feel like a hispanic Jackie Chan movie without the jokes. Far more interesting is Johnny Depp's amoral and smart-mouthed CIA agent, complete with tourist's wardrobe, fake arm and collection of comedy moustaches; I couldn't help thinking that it would've been a much better film if HE were the central character. But as it is, it's a fun slice of popcorn entertainment, and with Depp, Banderas, Salma Hayek (who is otherwise wasted) and Eva Mendes in the mix, there's plenty of eye candy for both sexes.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

The conclusion to Robert Rodriguez's mariachi trilogy is a pretty epic, and really badass way to bring things to a close. There are however, too many subplots and characters, most of which don't make sense or are not handled all that well. I don't think that's why people wanna see this, or why they should see it though. This isn't about the plot or stories, but the stunts and spectacle. That's where this film really shines. The action is intense, well choreographed, and plentiful. There are a few too mant characters, but some of them are still pretty cool and quirky, especially the one played superbly by Johnny Depp. Doing just about everything but acting, Rodriguez delivers a rousing film here, and does a pretty excellent job (excluding the iffy screenplay, that is). This is probably #2 as far as ranking the trilogy goes, even though I've always had a soft spot for Desperado. If you want crazy action done right, then don't hesitate to give this one a watch.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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