7.0/10
1,011
16 user 6 critic

Cabeza de Vaca (1990)

A handful of survivors from a disastrous 1528 Spanish expedition to Florida journey across the coast until they reach Mexico.
Reviews
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

El Dorado (1988)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The film tells the epic story of an expedition that took place between 1560 and 1561, headed by Pedro de Ursúa, in search of "El Dorado." The territory they explored subsequently became ... See full summary »

Director: Carlos Saura
Stars: Omero Antonutti, Eusebio Poncela, Lambert Wilson
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A white woman enters into a romance with a Mexican Indian. The racial barriers between the lovers prove to be insurmountable, resulting in tragedy.

Director: Ismael Rodríguez
Stars: María Félix, Pedro Infante, Andrés Soler
Midaq Alley (1995)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Based on the Nobel Prize Winner's novel, the Egyptian Naguib Mahfouz. The story, translated from El Cairo to Mexico City's downtown, narrates the life of the members of the neighbourhood ... See full summary »

Director: Jorge Fons
Stars: Ernesto Gómez Cruz, María Rojo, Salma Hayek
Chapayev (1934)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

This film is based on the book about Vasili Ivanovich Chapaev (1887 - 1919) who was in real life the Commander of the 25th Division of the Red Army. Chapaev is an uneducated peasant and a ... See full summary »

Directors: Sergey Vasilev, Georgi Vasilyev
Stars: Boris Babochkin, Leonid Kmit, Varvara Myasnikova
The Outsiders (1967)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A couple on the verge of getting married gets mixed up with a gang of thugs in this routine crime drama that underscores the Socio-economic disparity in the Mexican culture. The upper-class... See full summary »

Director: Juan Ibáñez
Stars: Julissa, Enrique Álvarez Félix, Óscar Chávez
Documentary | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The document of the 1936 Olympics at Berlin.

Director: Leni Riefenstahl
Stars: David Albritton, Arvo Askola, Jack Beresford
The Blue Max (1966)
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young pilot in the German air force of 1918, disliked as lower-class and unchivalrous, tries ambitiously to earn the medal offered for 20 kills.

Director: John Guillermin
Stars: George Peppard, James Mason, Ursula Andress
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

It is May 1520 in the vast Aztec Empire one year after the Spanish Conqueror Hernán Cortés' arrival in Mexico. "The Other Conquest" opens with the infamous massacre of the Aztecs at the ... See full summary »

Director: Salvador Carrasco
Stars: Damián Delgado, José Carlos Rodríguez, Elpidia Carrillo
Nazarin (1959)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A priest in a poor community lives a charitable life in accordance with his religious principles, but many others do not return the favor.

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Francisco Rabal, Marga López, Rita Macedo
Atlantiques (2009)
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Directed by Mati Diop (35 rhums), Atlantiques recounts the odyssey of Senegalese friends who attempt a life-threatening boat crossing. Melancholic and mysterious, the film urgently and elegantly addresses the perils of illegal migration.

Director: Mati Diop
Stars: Alpha Diop, Cheikh M'Baye, Ouli Seck
Kanal (1957)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In 1944, during the Warsaw uprising against the Nazis, Polish Lieutenant Zadra and his resistance fighters use Warsaw's sewer system to escape the German encirclement.

Director: Andrzej Wajda
Stars: Teresa Izewska, Tadeusz Janczar, Wienczyslaw Glinski
Hamlet (1921)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Danish silent movie-star Asta Nielsen formed her own production company to make this film, in which new elements are combined with features (and a few lines) familiar from Shakespeare's ... See full summary »

Directors: Svend Gade, Heinz Schall
Stars: Asta Nielsen, Paul Conradi, Mathilde Brandt
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Juan Diego ... Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
Daniel Giménez Cacho ... Dorantes
Roberto Sosa ... Cascabel / Araino
Carlos Castañón Carlos Castañón ... Castillo
Gerardo Villarreal Gerardo Villarreal ... Estebanico
Roberto Cobo ... Lozoya (as Roberto 'Calambres' Cobo)
José Flores José Flores ... Malacosa
Eli 'Chupadera' Machuca Eli 'Chupadera' Machuca ... Sorcerer
Farnesio de Bernal ... Fray Suárez
Josefina Echánove ... Anciana Avavar
Max Kerlow ... Man in Armor
Óscar Yoldi Óscar Yoldi ... Esquivel
Ramón Barragán Ramón Barragán ... Pánfilo de Narváez
Julio Solórzano Foppa Julio Solórzano Foppa ... Alcaraz
Javier Escobar Villarreal Javier Escobar Villarreal ... Young Iguase Indian
Edit

Storyline

An international award winning saga of old Mexico. In 1528, a Spanish expedition founders off the coast of Florida with 600 lives lost. One survivor, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, roams across the American continent searching for his Spanish comrades. Instead, he discovers the Iguase, an ancient Indian tribe. Over the next eight years, Cabeza de Vaca learns their mystical and mysterious culture, becoming a healer and a leader. But soon this New World collides with the Old World as Spanish conquistadors seek to enslave the Indians, and Cabeza de Vaca must confront his own people and his past. Written by Concorde - New Horizons (with permission).

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official site [France]

Country:

Mexico | Spain | USA | UK

Language:

Spanish | Latin

Release Date:

17 April 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cabeça de Vaca See more »

Filming Locations:

Coahuíla, Mexico See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,960, 17 May 1992

Gross USA:

$789,127

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$789,127
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The huge figure of a naked man wielding a club which is created by the Indian sorcerer is an accurate representation of the ancient Celtic chalk carving known as the Cerne Abbas Giant, which is 60 metres in height and is located on a hillside overlooking the village of Cerne Abbas in Dorset, England. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Dangerous (1995) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Interesting, but not historical
27 July 2002 | by ms94801See all my reviews

"Cabeza de Vaca" may be viewed as a surrealistic rumination on the nature of early contact between Europeans and North American Indians, but it has very little to do with the actual narrative of events as presented to Charles V by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca in his 1542 report.

Viewers who may wonder about the rapid transition from Florida to the Southwest in the movie should realize that the opening scene depicting the separation of the rafts of Captain Narvaez and Cabeza de Vaca took place off the coast of Louisiana WEST of the Mississippi more than a year after their first landfall in Florida, despite the meager information provided in the opening credits. Cabeza de Vaca is also presented as Treasurer to the King of Spain, when in fact he was merely treasurer of that particular expedition.

And although the long sequence early in the movie showing Cabeza de Vaca's period of slavery to the Indian sorcerer and the armless dwarf is quite interesting to see, there is no corresponding incident in the explorer's writings. C de V did report on a brief period of enslavement, but that is all. No sorcerer, no dwarf.

Similarly, the bond created between C de V and the young Indian who he cures by removing an arrowhead is not in the original narrative, but rather a conflation of several different episodes from the journey.

The key scenes of capture and near-murder by the blue-painted Indians are wholly the creation of the screenwriter.

The movie has an inconsistent approach to nudity. Most of the Indian tribes encountered by C de V went entirely naked during the warm season, but are almost always shown with at least some kind of loincloth. However, during the "blue Indian" sequence and later, when the survivors are taken in by friendly Indians for a while, full nudity is present among the females, and even full-frontal on the part of an Indian girl who offers herself to one of C de V's men. Meant to be tittilating? I don't know. It wasn't. In C de V's report, he notes a number of times that he and his Spanish companions were, for a long period, "naked as the day we were born," but there is no male nudity whatsoever in the film.

So what is accurate? The suffering endured, for sure, and the apparent success of the Spaniards in "curing" Indians through the power of God. The arrival in Mexico toward the end, and the capture of the Indians there as slaves. That's about it.

Nevertheless, the film holds the attention throughout, and the final scene of Indians bearing the enormous silver cross through the desert is quite arresting.

6 out of 10 for me.


7 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 16 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed