15 Latinx Movies About Our History and Culture You Need to Watch

Movies can entertain but can also educate and despite the lack of Latinx representation in Hollywood, there are several powerful films that showcase our stories and history

Latinx movies LHM

Photos: Disney Studios/infiltratorsfilm.com

Movies can entertain but can also educate and despite the lack of Latinx representation in Hollywood, there are several powerful films that showcase our stories and history. Films like the beloved Coco which centered on Dia de Muertos in Mexico and Tortilla Soup which showed a family’s efforts to maintain tradition while also adjusting to life in the U.S. From immigration to war to cultural icons, these films highlight important figures and times in history. In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, we wanted to take this time to share some powerful movies that will either teach you about our history or simply make you feel  seen.While this is not an exhaustive list, this can also be a great jumping off point to looking into what other films authentically tell our stories and history. Read on to discover 14 films worth watching to learn more about our history.



Video: YouTube.com/Disney

Mexican American film producer and director, Isabel Castro, premiered the documentary Mija at the most recent Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews. The film follows Doris Muñoz, a first gen music manager turned musician who shares her struggles being the only one who isn’t undocumented in her family. “I was grappling with how to tell a different kind of immigration story. One that does not reduce the experience to one only of trauma and loss. I wanted to show the full range of emotions that come around with immigrating to the United States,” Castro said in a video released by Sundance. 

Available on Disney+ starting Sept. 23


City of God

Video: YouTube.com/Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers 

City of God tells the story of organized crime in the Cidade de Deus a favela in Rio de Janeiro, inspired by real events from the ’70s and ’80s. This film brought a lot of attention to racialized poverty and oppression that Afro-Latinos face. The crime rate was so high at one point that police and government officials had to step in to control it, but the corruption was so bad that they sent minimal help to these low-income areas.

Available on Prime Video


La Llorona

Video: YouTube.com/MTube

La Llorona is more than just a horror film, it’s a story that highlights the genocide of the Indigenous people of Guatemala. The movie focuses on Enrique Monteverdes, a retired general who is responsible for the genocide of thousands of native lxil Mayan in the 1980s. Guatemala has been known for its issues with human, social, and independent rights. Through the folklore of La Llorona, the movie itself sheds light on the violence endured by Indigenous communities and the indictment of Efraín Ríos Montt for crimes against humanity.

Available on Prime Videowp_*posts

The Infiltrators 

Video: YouTube.com/PBS

In The Infiltrators (2019), a group of young undocumented immigrant activists intentionally seek to get sent to a Florida for-profit immigrant detention center to fight against the deportations of those being held. Among them was Claudio Rojas who was detained in 2012 and following the film’s release was once again deported, allegedly in retaliation for his participation in the film. “Ultimately, the answers to these formal questions emerged from the story itself. To ‘infiltrate,’ the activists played into the profiling that ICE and Border Patrol routinely does. It’s well-documented that immigration enforcement uses racial and ethnic profiling when deciding who to interrogate, who to detain, etc. The activists knew this and so they intentionally played into those expectations when they wanted to be detained,” filmmaker Alex Rivera told Sundance.

Available on infiltratorsfilm.com (half the proceeds go to the immigrant activists featured in the film) 



Video: Instagram/@pixar

Critically acclaimed and beloved by audiences of all backgrounds, Coco takes place during Dia de Muertos and beautifully captures the significance of the holiday. The characters including Abuela Coco and her grandson Miguel warmed our hearts and reminded us of the importance of familia, love, and forgiveness. The visuals are stunning too but it’s the authenticity that makes this film truly stand out thanks to the work of co-director Adrian Molina and a cast that includes Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, and Benjamin Bratt.

Available on Disney+



Video: YouTube.com/PBS

The documentary Dolores shines a light on the life of civil rights activist Dolores Huerta. Huerta worked with Cesar Chavez as a labor union activist for farm workers. This film mirrors the treatment of Mexican American farm workers to slaves in the U.S. after the Civil War when they were made to work for small wages and lived on the property of the families they worked for. Huerta’s signature motto “Sí, Se Puede” remains a powerful statement today and her work proved her to be a commanding figure in the movement.

Available on Prime Video



Video: YouTube.com/Sony Pictures Classics

The movie Quinceanera takes place in Echo Park, Los Angeles and follows a fifteen-year-old girl named Magdalena while she tries to plan her quinceañera. Her family wants something more traditional but she wants something more modern and “Americanized” like a hummer limo. Leading up to her party, Magdalena gets pregnant and her family struggles with accepting her actions. The film shows how different generations look at tradition and what it’s like adjusting to life in the U.S.

Available on Prime Video


Tortilla Soup

Video: YouTube.com/PremiereDigitalServe

Tortilla Soup is about a Mexican American family of three sisters who live with their father, Martin, a veteran chef, and widower. He makes Sunday dinners mandatory and values family time and though his daughters humor him, they want to venture out and live independently. We see each family member experience love and turmoil but what brings them back together is their love for each other AND home-cooked meals.

Available on Prime Videowp_*posts


Video: YouTube.com/Cinematheque Trailers

Azor is a story about a private banker and his wife, who move to Argentina during a dictatorship, to replace his partner whose disappearance remains a mystery. Set in the 1980s during the peak of the military’s reign of terror when some 30,000 residents disappeared never to be found again (known as “los desaparecidos”). The way the story is told helps the audience feel what actually takes place when a military group seizes control of a country and begins to terrorize its citizens for political gain.

Available on Prime Videowp_*posts

Even the Rain (También la Lluvia)

Video: YouTube.com/moviemaniacsDE

The film Even the Rain was shot in Bolivia and shares the story of filmmakers initially working on a film about Christopher Columbus and the exploitation of Indigenous communities. Tensions regarding water supply also begin to rise between local natives and the government and these filmmakers are there amid these protests. In this movie, water becomes a symbol of conscience and humanity and becomes a precious commodity, even more so than gold. This film highlights the citizen’s struggles against an empire in Latin America. It includes real and fictional footage of the Cochabamba Water War in 2000, depicting protests, government crackdowns, and victories of the locals.

Available on Netflix and Prime Video 


El Norte

Video: YouTube.com/HD Retro Trailers

The film El Norte (1983) tells a story of a group of Indigenous in Guatemala who organize a labor union to improve conditions in their village. When the Guatemalan army finds out, they come in and violently destroy it. Set during the Guatemalan Civil War and directed and co-written by Gregory Nava (Selena), the film follows two teenage siblings who escape the massacre and start a new life in the United States. The audience follows their journey as they meet new people and face challenges living undocumented in Los Angeles. This film makes you realize that almost every immigrant (even possibly your own family) is someone who fought and left their homes to seek comfort and safety.

Available on Prime Video


Pelo Malo

Video: YouTube.com/TorinoFilmFestival

In Pelo Malo Junior is a 9-year-old boy living in Caracas who desperately wants to straighten his curly hair and that leads to friction between him and his mother.  The film explores gender identity and homophobia through the mom who believes his constant grooming indicates he could be gay and so takes him to a doctor to check. “He sings, he brushes his hair all day,” she tells the doctor. “I want to know if he’s … gay,” she tells the pediatrician. Colorism, homophobia, and anti-Blackness are prevalent throughout LATAM and by focusing on the concept of pelo malo this film explores those topics which remain taboo to this day.

Available on Prime Video and Tubi



Video: YouTube.com/Wolfe Video

This drama tells a story of a young boy, Segundo,  in Peru who looks up to his father. He learns about designing and building religious retablos from his father but eventually finds out about his father’s sexuality which causes a rift in their relationship. There are many taboos when it comes to homosexuality in Latin America and many countries have no same-sex marriage laws in place. Director Alvaro Delgado-Aparicio wasn’t even sure how Peruvians would react to the film when it was released. He told TheWrap, “This is a tale about the conflict between tradition and modernity. If you go beyond the capital, you go to towns that are very cut off from the rest of the world and are very set in their ways. There are a lot of paradigm shifts that have to be shifted.”

Available on Prime Video, Tubi, and The Roku Channel


In The Time of The Butterflies

Video: YouTube.com/retro VHS trailers

In The Time of Butterflies is based on a book by  Dominican writer Julia Alvarez and takes place during the Dominican Republic’s Rafael Trujillo dictatorship. The Mirabal sisters, known as Las Mariposas, Minerva, Patria, María Teresa, and Dedé, tell their stories through the decades as imagined by Alvarez. They were united in their fight against the dictatorship and all but Dede faced a tragic end but through the novel and film, their story and the fight against political oppression live on and continue to inspire generations.

Available on Vudu



Since Encanto’s release last year we’re STILL talking about Bruno! The film is set in Colombia and centers on the Madrigal family, who each have magical powers except for Mirabel. It explores generational trauma and finding the magic within you that was there all along. Beyond the storytelling, the music by Lin-Manuel Miranda is also magical and catchy and we loved to see touches of Colombian culture including arepas and the stunning nature.

Available on Disney+

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