Must-watch films of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema

The Golden Age of Mexican cinema has become a national referent in the world's cinematographic industry

Must-watch films of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema
Pedro Infante was one of the most famous actors of that era - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 04/04/2020 16:43 Mexico City De Actualizada 18:21
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There is nothing more wrong than asserting that Mexico does not produce good quality cinema. It is good to remember that quality is not always related to being a blockbuster.

As a matter of fact, Mexico had a period known as the Golden Age in which several cinematographic productions became referents in the industry thanks to the recognition they reached at a national and international scale.

The most prolific period for Mexican cinema went from 1936 to 1957. The films that were produced in those years achieved great prominence.

Certainly, one of the directors most-acclaimed by critics was Emilio “El Indio” Fernández but he was not the only one. So here are 10 must-watch movies from the Golden Age of Mexican cinema for true connoisseurs.

Let's Go with Pancho Villa (1936)


The film was directed by Fernando de Fuentes and it takes place during the Mexican Revolution. A group of peasants, “The San Pablo Lions,” join the Pancho Villa army. The filmmaker makes a critique of this historical event and shows it as an epic arch of misery, death, and pointless tragedy, leaving aside its usual aura of heroism, in addition to depicting Villa as a monster that exploits the poor for a selfish war. In 1994, it was considered the number one Mexican movie of all time.

 Tizoc (1957)


It featured Pedro Infante and María Felix and it was directed by Ismael Rodríguez. The film won the Golden Globe to Best Film in a Foreign Language. This film is a faithful reflection of nobleness that shows the modesty in which the purest feelings live. The story of Tizoc, an indigenous man who gives his life for the love of a white woman.

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You're Missing the Point (1940)


Mario Moreno “Cantinflas”  had several blockbusters but this own was directed by Juan Bustillos Oro rocketed him to success since this film was classified as one of the top 10 Mexican movies. In the story, a confusion between the dog “Bobby” and a gangster by the same name unleashes a series of misunderstandings between a jealous husband, his wife, a maid, an abandoned wife with eight children, and Cantinflas.

Nosotros los Pobres (1947)


This melodrama was written and directed by Ismael Rodríguez.  Currently, it is considered one of the top cultural referents of Mexico. Everyone knows Pepe “El Toro,” a character played by Pedro Infante, a national idol, and they also know that he was judged for a crime he did not commit. The film is on spot 27 of the 100 best Mexican films of all time.”

Portrait of Maria (1943)


A drama directed by Emilio “El Indio” Fernández and that, in addition, has the amazing photography of Gabriel Figueroa. María Candelaria, played by Dolores del Río, is despised in her community because her mother is a prostitute. Nevertheless, Lorenzo Rafael (Pedro Armendáriz) wants to marry her. This film was a Palm d'Or winner at Cannes in 1946.

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A Woman In Love (1946)


A classic romantic melodrama. Directed by Emilio “El Indio” Fernández, the story takes place during the Mexican Revolution and makes reference to Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew since General Reyes falls in love with the gorgeous, rich, and indomitable Beatriz Peñafiel. It was starred by María Félix and Pedro Armendáriz. Moreover, it was nominated for the Palm d'Or at Cannes in 1947.

The Adventuress (1949)


This film is considered the most representative film of the showgirls films. It featured Ninón Sevilla and it was directed by Alberto Gout. By the end of the 1940s, it contravened the conventional values of society. The story is about Elena, a young woman who is left alone when her mother flees with her lover and her father commits suicide. Hence, she leaves for Ciudad Juárez and ends up working in a cabaret.

The Young and the Damned (1950)


This social drama was written and directed by Luis Buñuel, who spent months investigating the situation of street children in Mexico City. In this film, he portrayed, through a crude lense, the fatalities surrounding the city. It is considered a true masterpiece and it was named a Memory of the World by UNESCO. It tells the story of “El Jaibo,” a teenager who escapes the reformatory and ends up killing a man who was allegedly at the fault of his imprisonment.

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A Family Like Many Others (1949)


This film directed by Alejandro Galindo shows us one of the first examples of female liberation. In the story, the order and peace of the Cataño family is disrupted the day a vacuum salesman knocks at the door. From then on, the teenager Maru will dream of breaking free from her conservative family.

This Strange Passion (1953)


It is a psychological drama directed by Luis Buñuel that shows us the way in which a man damned by jealousy breaks down due to paranoia and the need of keeping a perfect image. It was starred by Arturo de Córdoba and Delia Garcés and although it was not very successful at first, it became one of Buñuel's representative films.

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