Desperado (film)

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Theatrical poster
Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Produced by Robert Rodriguez
Bill Borden
Written by Robert Rodriguez
Starring Antonio Banderas
Joaquim de Almeida
Salma Hayek
Steve Buscemi
Cheech Marin
Quentin Tarantino
Music by Los Lobos
Cinematography Guillermo Navarro
Editing by Robert Rodriguez
Studio Los Hooligans Productions
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • August 25, 1995 (1995-08-25)
Running time 106 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $7,000,000
Box office $25,405,445 (U.S.)[1]

Desperado is a 1995 American action film written, produced and directed by Robert Rodriguez. A sequel to the 1992 film El Mariachi, it is the second installment in Rodriguez's "Mexico Trilogy". The film stars Antonio Banderas as the mariachi who seeks revenge on the drug lord who killed his lover.

Desperado was screened out of competition at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival.[2] Once Upon a Time in Mexico, the final part of the trilogy, was released in 2003.


An unnamed American man (Steve Buscemi) at a bar in Mexico tells the story of how he witnessed a massacre in another bar committed by a man (Antonio Banderas) with a guitar case full of guns. The bar's patrons perk up when the man mentions that the mariachi was looking for a man named "Bucho." Later, the American man visits the Mariachi telling him that the bar is a good starting place to look for Bucho. Meanwhile, the bartender alerts Bucho that a "man in black" is looking for him and Bucho increases his security.

El Mariachi arrives in town and befriends a young boy. Later, at the bar, he is recognized by the patrons, all of whom work for Bucho, and is forced to shoot them in self-defense. In the process, he saves a beautiful woman (Salma Hayek) before passing out. He later wakes up in a bookstore to find his wounds being tended by the woman, who reveals herself to be Carolina and the owner of the bookstore. He discovers that Bucho holds control over Carolina and the entire town, paying them to hide his illegal activities. Later, he meets with his American friend at a nearby church; but, as they exit, they are attacked by Navajas, a knife-throwing assassin (Danny Trejo). Navajas kills the American and wounds El Mariachi before being shot by Bucho's men, who suspect him of being a Colombian double agent. They soon realize, however, that he had actually been sent by Bucho's superiors to kill El Mariachi. That night, El Mariachi returns to Carolina, who tends his wounds and has sex with him.

The next day, Bucho's men ambush the couple and burn the bookstore, but the two escape through the rooftop. From there, El Mariachi aims one of his guns at Bucho down on the ground, but suddenly hesitates and puts the gun away upon seeing his face. Carolina asks him why he didn't shoot, but he does not reply. Later, at a hotel, El Mariachi tells Carolina she can leave the village and use the money she had stashed to start a new life, but she tells him that the money was hidden in the books that were burned. He then calls his friends, Campa (Carlos Gallardo) and Quino (Albert Michel, Jr.), who meet up with him and go to a deserted part of town for a showdown with Bucho's men. The three mariachis manage to wipe out the thugs, though Campa and Quino are killed in the battle. However, El Mariachi discovers that the little boy from earlier on has been shot. He and Carolina rush the boy to the hospital before heading to Bucho's ranch. Upon their arrival, it is revealed that El Mariachi and Bucho are actually brothers. However, Bucho is angered by Carolina's betrayal and threatens to kill her to even the score with El Mariachi killing his men. El Mariachi then reluctantly shoots Bucho dead.

Back at the hospital, the couple discover that the boy will recover from his wounds. Carolina later picks up El Mariachi on the highway in the middle of the desert and the couple kiss passionately as they drive into the sunset.



This film is a sequel to the independent movie El Mariachi. Desperado helped to enhance the fame of Antonio Banderas and introduced Salma Hayek to American audiences.

Rodriguez's friend Quentin Tarantino has a cameo as "Pick-up Guy". Carlos Gallardo, who played the title role of El Mariachi, appears in Desperado as Campa, a friend to Banderas' Mariachi. Since Banderas replaced Gallardo as the actor for the main character of the series, the filmmakers re-shot the final showdown from El Mariachi as a flashback sequence for Banderas' character in Desperado.

Raúl Juliá was originally cast as Bucho but died before production began on October 24, 1994.

El Mariachi's codpiece gun was used in Rodriguez's 1996 film From Dusk till Dawn & 2013 film Machete Kills.

The entire movie was filmed in Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, across from Del Rio, Texas.


The film's score is written and performed by the Los Angeles rock band, Los Lobos, performing Chicano rock and traditional Ranchera music. Their performance of "Mariachi Suite" won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance at the 1995 Grammy Awards. Other artists on the soundtrack album include Dire Straits, Link Wray, Latin Playboys and Carlos Santana. Musician Tito Larriva has a small role in the film, and his band, Tito & Tarantula, contributed to the soundtrack as well.

TV Series Adaptation[edit]

Sony's AXN chanel confirmed that it will be airing a TV series adapation of El Mariachi franchise. The series will premier on March 20, 2014. [3]


The film currently holds a 62% "Fresh" rating on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer, while Empire magazine awarded the film a four-star rating.


  1. ^ "Desperado (1995)". Box Office Mojo. 1995-10-03. Retrieved 2011-09-23. 
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Desperado". Retrieved 2009-09-08. 
  3. ^

External links[edit]