Zoot Suit (film)

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Zoot Suit
Zoot Suit (movie poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLuis Valdez
Produced byPeter Burrell
Written byLuis Valdez
Based onZoot Suit
by Luis Valdez
StarringDaniel Valdez
Edward James Olmos
Music byLalo Guerrero
Daniel Valdez
CinematographyDavid Myers
Edited byJacqueline Cambas
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • October 2, 1981 (1981-10-02)
Running time
103 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3,256,082[1]

Zoot Suit is a 1981 film adaptation of the Broadway play Zoot Suit. Both the play and film were written and directed by Luis Valdez. The film stars Daniel Valdez, Edward James Olmos — both reprising their roles from the stage production — and Tyne Daly. Many members of the cast of the Broadway production also appeared in the film. Like the play, the film features music from Daniel Valdez and Lalo Guerrero, the "father of Chicano music."


In Zoot Suit, Luis Valdez weaves a story involving the real-life events of the Sleepy Lagoon murder trial — when a group of young Mexican-Americans were charged with murder — resulting in the racially fueled Zoot Suit Riots throughout Los Angeles. In the play, Henry Reyna (inspired by real-life defendant Hank Leyvas) is a pachuco gangster and his gang, who were unfairly prosecuted, are thrown in jail for a murder they did not commit. The play is set in the barrios of Los Angeles in the early 1940s against the backdrop of the Zoot Suit Riots and World War II. As in the play, Edward James Olmos portrays El Pachuco, an idealized Zoot Suiter, who functions as narrator throughout the story and serves as Henry's conscience.



Zoot Suit holds a 56% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 9 reviews.


The film was nominated for the 1982 Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy (won by Arthur). Luis Valdez won the 1983 Critics Award at the Festival du Film Policier de Cognac for Zoot Suit in Cognac, France.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Zoot Suit at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ Valdez, Daniel; Olmos, Edward James; Aidman, Charles; Daly, Tyne (1982-01-01), Zoot Suit, retrieved 2017-03-30

External links[edit]