Parents' Guide to

Once Upon a Time in Mexico

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Like an R-rated, violent Roadrunner cartoon.

Movie R 2003 96 minutes
Once Upon a Time in Mexico Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 17+

Shocked and Appalled

I appreciate this site and what it stands for, however I am once again baffled by MovieMom. This film has ZERO redeeming value. Although highly stylized, the violence is appalling, de-sensitizing and completely gratuitous. There is no point, plot or story here whatsoever. I was highly offended. This is nihilism and devoid of any entertainment value. God help any teenagers or middle schoolers who were allowed to view this cesspool of amorality.
age 17+

A Big Disappointment

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (2):

I guess if there really was a story or characters in this movie, the violence might be too disturbing. But Robert Rodriguez, who not only wrote and directed this movie but also "shot, chopped, and scored" it, too, doesn't so much omit story and character as transcend them. This is a kinetic and voluptuous pulp fantasia, a mythic nightmare pastiche of stylish slaughter, featuring twisted iconic figures destroying each other and just about everything else in sight with a lot of flair. Rodriguez is indisputably a masterful film-maker. He fills the screen with lots to look at and no one is better at creating propulsive energy through striking images, brilliantly edited.

Depp, Antonio Banderas, and Salma Hayek are all sensational. Pop star Enrique Iglesias makes a very respectable acting debut and Eva Mendes is very fine as an FBI agent who wants more. This film is worth watching just as an education in how to shoot and edit. Someday, perhaps, Rodriguez will become more of a story-teller. In the meantime, the film is very entertaining for anyone who does not object to the carnage, and a must-see for fans of hard-core action.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: September 4, 2003
  • On DVD or streaming: January 19, 2004
  • Cast: Antonio Banderas, Johnny Depp, Salma Hayek
  • Director: Robert Rodriguez
  • Inclusion Information: Latinx directors, Middle Eastern/North African actors, Latinx actors
  • Studio: Columbia Tristar
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Run time: 96 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: extremely graphic violence and really rough language not to mention drugs and alcohol
  • Last updated: June 2, 2023

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