The Mexican

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The Mexican
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGore Verbinski
Produced byChristopher Ball
John Baldecchi
Lawrence Bender
Written byJ.H. Wyman
StarringJulia Roberts
Brad Pitt
James Gandolfini
Music byAlan Silvestri
CinematographyDariusz Wolski
Edited byCraig Wood
Distributed byDreamWorks Pictures
Release date
  • March 2, 2001 (2001-03-02)
Running time
123 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$57 million
Box office$147.8 million[1]

The Mexican is a 2001 American adventure comedy film directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts. Its plot is a mixture of different genres.


In Los Angeles, Jerry Welbach crashes into the car of mob boss Arnold Margolese, who is sent to prison when police discover someone tied up in his trunk. As a result, Jerry is forced to work for Margolese's second-in-command, Bernie Nayman. Five years later, Nayman sends Jerry on his final errand: retrieving an antique pistol for Margolese in Mexico. This proves to be the last straw for Jerry's girlfriend Sam, who leaves him to move to Las Vegas.

Arriving in Mexico, Jerry finds the pistol with Beck, who explains the history of the legendary gun known as "the Mexican". When Beck is killed by a stray bullet from celebratory gunfire, Jerry calls his colleague Ted and learns that Beck was Margolese's grandson, but his car is stolen with Beck's body and the pistol inside. He recovers the car and the gun, shooting one of the thieves in the foot and burying the body.

En route to Las Vegas, a well-dressed hitman tries to abduct Sam, but is shot by another hitman who captures her instead. The second hitman introduces himself as Leroy, explaining that he was hired to hold her hostage to ensure Jerry delivers the pistol. Bonding with Leroy, Sam deduces that he is gay and encourages him to pick up Frank, a traveling postal worker. The three of them reach Las Vegas, and Leroy and Frank spend the night together.

In Mexico, Jerry is briefly arrested after a police officer notices Beck's blood in his car. Confiscating the pistol, the officer elaborates on its cursed history and brings it to a pawn shop. Ted arrives and reveals that the infamous Leroy has been sent after Sam, and Jerry overhears a call with Nayman ordering Ted to kill him. They recover the pistol from the pawn shop, but Jerry confronts Ted and leaves with the gun. Realizing he grabbed Ted's passport instead of his own, he returns to find Ted has already fled.

In Las Vegas, the well-dressed hitman murders Frank and returns for Sam, but is killed by a vengeful Leroy. Sam and Leroy fly to Mexico to meet Jerry, who crashes the car in an argument with Sam. Leroy finds the pistol and prepares to kill Jerry, but Jerry kills him first. He explains to a distraught Sam that Leroy was an imposter – his driver’s license reveals he is actually Winston Baldry – and that Jerry once met the real Leroy: the well-dressed hitman. Jerry realizes that Margolese hired the real Leroy, but Nayman sent Baldry to intercept Sam and the pistol, allowing him to sell it himself and frame Jerry.

Sam and Jerry prepare to go their separate ways, but Sam remembers Baldry's advice and reconciles with Jerry, who is kidnapped by the thieves who stole his car. He is brought to Margolese, newly released from prison, who explains the true story of the pistol: it was crafted by a gunsmith for his daughter's marriage to a nobleman's cruel son, but the daughter and the gunsmith's assistant were truly in love. When the gun refused to fire for the nobleman's son, he killed the assistant, leading the daughter to take her own life with the pistol.

Margolese reveals that his cellmate was the gunsmith's great-grandson; he was killed protecting Margolese, who swore to return the pistol to his cellmate's father. Jerry agrees to give him the pistol, but Nayman kidnaps Sam. A Mexican standoff ensues, until Sam kills Nayman with the pistol; the shot dislodges a ring from the gunbarrel, which Jerry uses to propose to Sam. The Mexican pistol is restored to the gunsmith's family, as Jerry and Sam drive off together.




The script was originally intended to be filmed as an independent production without major motion picture stars, but Roberts and Pitt, who had for some time been looking for a project they could do together, decided to make it, following Roberts' introduction and encouragement of the project to Pitt. Roberts also suggested the casting of James Gandolfini,[2][3] in what is regarded as one of his greatest roles.[4]


The Mexican made use of Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosí, Mexico, as a film location, as well as various areas in Las Vegas, Nevada and Los Angeles, California. Aeropuerto internacional Adolfo Lopez Mateos Toluca, Estado de México was used as well.


Box office[edit]

The film opened at #1 at the North American box office making $20,108,829 USD in its opening weekend, although the film had a 39% decline in earnings the following week, it was enough to keep the film at the top spot for another week. Ultimately, the film earned $147.8 million worldwide.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

The film holds a 54% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 133 critics. The critical consensus states that "Though The Mexican makes a good attempt at originality, its ponderous length makes it wear out its welcome. Also, those looking forward to seeing Roberts and Pitt paired up may end up disappointed, as they are kept apart for most of the movie."[5]

"The scenes between Roberts and Gandolfini make the movie special. ... Their dialogue scenes are the best reason to see the movie."[6]

"Pitt and Roberts are good too – maybe better like this than if they were together. ... If it had been a Pitt/Roberts two-hander, there wouldn't have been room for Gandolfini's wonderful character, and that would have been a shame."[7]

"'The Mexican' is sporadically entertaining. It works when Gandolfini is on screen; when he leaves, he takes the movie with him. ... From here, director Gore Verbinski, intercuts between two road movies, one of which (the one with Pitt) is downright boring".[8]

"Roberts and Pitt are generally terrific. In 'The Mexican' they are horrid. ... Gandolfini is a star on the rise. His work in The Mexican is solid. Frankly, he's the only bright spot in this dark and pointless movie."[9]

"Moviegoers who have seen The Mexican aren't coming out of cinemas talking about the romantic chemistry between Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts. They're talking about the presence of tough guy James Gandolfini in the unlikely role of a gay hit man named Leroy."[10]


  1. ^ a b "The Mexican (2001)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2013-08-19.
  2. ^ Louis B. Hobson, Ryder on the storm. "Stargazing", Ottawa Sun Showcase, March 18, 2001, p. 3.
  3. ^ Cindy Pearlman, Why the fuss, Gandolfini wonders. Ottawa Citizen, February 28, 2001, p. F9.
  4. ^ Tshepo Mokoena, James Gandolfini: five best moments. The Guardian, November 14, 2014. Retrieved 2016-07-09.
  5. ^ "The Mexican". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2013-08-19.
  6. ^ "'Mexican' crosses the border with wit, style" (March 2, 2001) Cedar Rapids Gazette
  7. ^ "Roberts, Pitt: Is It a Waste of Screen Time?" (March 2, 2001) Doylestown Intelligencer
  8. ^ "Star power doesn't save 'The Mexican'" (March 2, 2001) Titusville Herald
  9. ^ "'The Mexican' goes from bad to worse" (March 8, 2001) Walla Walla Union Bulletin
  10. ^ "From adulterous mob boss to gay hit man: Tough-guy Gandolfini praised for The Mexican" (Mar 8, 2001) Edmonton Journal

External links[edit]