Che! (1969 film)

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For the 2008 film featuring Benicio del Toro, see Che (2008 film).
DVD cover
Directed by Richard Fleischer
Produced by Sy Bartlett
Screenplay by Michael Wilson
Sy Bartlett
Story by David Karp
Sy Bartlett
Starring Omar Sharif
Jack Palance
Barbara Luna
Music by Lalo Schifrin
Cinematography Charles F. Wheeler
Edited by Marion Rothman
Distributed by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Release dates
Running time
96 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $5,160,000[1]
Box office $2.5 million (US/ Canada)[2]

Che! (1969) is an American biographical film starring Omar Sharif as Marxist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara. It follows Guevara from when he first landed in Cuba in 1956 to his death in Bolivia in 1967, although the film does not portray the formative pre-Cuban revolution sections of Che's life as described in the autobiographical book The Motorcycle Diaries (1993).[3] The film was directed by Richard Fleischer.


The film tells of Che Guevara (Omar Sharif), a young Argentine doctor who proves his mettle during the Cuban guerilla war in the late 1950s. He gains the respect of his men and becomes the leader of a patrol.

Fidel Castro (Jack Palance) is impressed by Guevara's tactics and discipline and makes him his chief advisor. When Castro defeats Cuban dictator Batista after two years of fighting, Guevara directs a series of massive reprisals, yet, Guevara dreams of fomenting a worldwide revolution. After Castro backs down during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Guevara accuses Castro of being a Soviet tool and decides to leave Cuba.

Guevara lands in Bolivia, where he attempts to begin his dream of a worldwide peasant revolution, but the Bolivian peasants do not follow his lead and he becomes pursued by the Bolivian Army.


Critical reception[edit]

The film received negative reviews with critic Paul Brenner writing: "In this badly misconceived pseudo-biography of the legendary Cuban revolutionary — played, incredibly, by Omar Sharif — Che Guevara takes up the cause as a rebel fighter under the direction of Fidel Castro, played — also incredibly — by Jack Palance."[4] Years later, Che! was included as one of the choices in the book The Fifty Worst Films of All Time. The 1977 Book of Lists labeled it "a cardboard, pseudo-historical drama" and noted that "Poor Sharif is forced to deliver lines such as 'The peasant is like a flower, and the revolutionary like a bee. Neither can survive or propagate without the other'." Film critic Roger Ebert panned the film and the motivations for producing the drama, writing: "From the beginning, it sounded like a bad dream. Hollywood was making a movie about Che Guevara. Why? Probably because somebody smelled easy money, having been inspired by the sales figures on Che posters. That must have been the reason, because Che! is abundant evidence that no one connected with this stinkeroo gave a damn about Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, the Cuban Revolution or anything else requiring more than five seconds' thought".[5]


Soundtrack album by Lalo Schifrin
Released 1969
Recorded May 7, 9 & 30, 1969
Los Angeles, California
Genre Film score
Label Tetragrammaton
Producer Don Shain
Lalo Schifrin chronology
Kelly's Heroes

The film score was composed, arranged and conducted by Lalo Schifrin and the soundtrack album was released on the Tetragrammaton label in 1969.[6]

Track listing[edit]

All compositions by Lalo Schifrin except as indicated

  1. "Ché (Orchestra Version)" - 2:22
  2. "La Columna" - 2:34
  3. "Emboscada" - 3:10
  4. "La Ruta" - 2:42
  5. "Charangos" - 2:04
  6. "Fiesta Numero Dos" - 3:06
  7. "Recuerdos" - 2:44
  8. "Fiesta Numro Uno" - 2:13
  9. "Anita" - 2:00
  10. "La Barraca" - 1:56
  11. "Tiempo Pasado" - 3:00
  12. "Ché (Solo Guitar Version)" - 3:17


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p255
  2. ^ Solomon p 231. See also "Big Rental Films of 1969", Variety, 7 January 1970 p 15. Please note figures are rentals not total gross.
  3. ^ Che! at the Internet Movie Database.
  4. ^ Brenner, Paul. Che! at AllMovie. Last accessed: January 9, 2008.
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger. The Chicago Sun-Times, film review, June 10, 1969. Last accessed: January 9, 2008.
  6. ^ Payne, D. Lalo Schifrin discography accessed March 15, 2012

External links[edit]