Born in East L. A. (1987)

R | 85 mins | Comedy, Adventure | 21 August 1987

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HISTORY

Although the print released to theatres was 85 minutes long, the print viewed for the Summary was 105 minutes long.
       End credits state: “Playboy Channel footage courtesy of Playboy Programs, Inc.”
       Born in East L.A. marked the feature film directing debut for actor/comedian Richard “Cheech” Marin. It was also Marin’s first starring role in a movie without his longtime comedy/acting partner, Tommy Chong. The two had been performing as the comedy duo Cheech & Chong since 1971 and were known for their drug culture comedy and love of marijuana. Cheech & Chong starred in six movies, starting with 1978’s Up in Smoke (see entry).
       Cheech & Chong broke up in 1986, shortly after releasing the comedy album, “Get Out Of My Room,” which included the single “Born in East L.A.,” a parody of rock singer Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 hit song, “Born in the U.S.A.” Promotional materials in AMPAS library files indicate a newspaper article about a man illegally deported to Mexico inspired Marin to write the parody song and also star in the accompanying music video as an Hispanic-American man deported to Tijuana, Mexico. When the music video proved popular, Marin decided to expand the idea into a feature film and wrote the screenplay.
       Principal photography began on 15 Mar 1987 in Tijuana, then moved to East Los Angeles, CA, on 30 April and wrapped on 22 May. Locations in the Tijuana area included Avenida Revolucion, Rosarita Beach and the San Ysidro border crossing. Locations in the Los Angeles area included Boyle Heights and Whittier Boulevard.
       Born in East L.A. opened on 1,112 screens nationwide on 21 Aug ... More Less

Although the print released to theatres was 85 minutes long, the print viewed for the Summary was 105 minutes long.
       End credits state: “Playboy Channel footage courtesy of Playboy Programs, Inc.”
       Born in East L.A. marked the feature film directing debut for actor/comedian Richard “Cheech” Marin. It was also Marin’s first starring role in a movie without his longtime comedy/acting partner, Tommy Chong. The two had been performing as the comedy duo Cheech & Chong since 1971 and were known for their drug culture comedy and love of marijuana. Cheech & Chong starred in six movies, starting with 1978’s Up in Smoke (see entry).
       Cheech & Chong broke up in 1986, shortly after releasing the comedy album, “Get Out Of My Room,” which included the single “Born in East L.A.,” a parody of rock singer Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 hit song, “Born in the U.S.A.” Promotional materials in AMPAS library files indicate a newspaper article about a man illegally deported to Mexico inspired Marin to write the parody song and also star in the accompanying music video as an Hispanic-American man deported to Tijuana, Mexico. When the music video proved popular, Marin decided to expand the idea into a feature film and wrote the screenplay.
       Principal photography began on 15 Mar 1987 in Tijuana, then moved to East Los Angeles, CA, on 30 April and wrapped on 22 May. Locations in the Tijuana area included Avenida Revolucion, Rosarita Beach and the San Ysidro border crossing. Locations in the Los Angeles area included Boyle Heights and Whittier Boulevard.
       Born in East L.A. opened on 1,112 screens nationwide on 21 Aug 1987, taking in $4.4 million in its first three days of release, according to the 31 Aug 1987 HR. Of that amount, $180,000 was earned at the twenty-five theatres playing the “Hispanic print,” either the dubbed or subtitled Spanish language version. The Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles played the Spanish dubbed version and took in $35,544, the highest-per-theater gross in the nation.
       The success of Born in East L.A. and La Bamba (1987, see entry), released a month earlier, helped prove that releasing “Hispanic prints” at the same time as English-language prints was a successful strategy. Previously, the Spanish versions were released to Spanish-language theatres several months after the English version.
More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
24 Aug 1987
p. 3, 5.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Aug 1987
p, 3, 14.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Aug 1987
p. 1, 8.
Los Angeles Times
24 Aug 1987
p. 1.
New York Times
24 Aug 1987
p. 14.
Variety
26 Aug 1987
p. 15.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
As Feo
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod chief
Unit prod asst
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Asst cam
Video tape op
Key grip
Key grip
Dolly grip
Dolly grip
Still photog
Cams by
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Video ed
Negative cutter
Lab contact
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Prop master
COSTUMES
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus ed
Supv mus ed
Nortena Trio mus arranged by
Mus scoring mixer
Main title & What's Happening Boys Themes wrt and
SOUND
Boom op
Cableman
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
ADR ed
Sd re-rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Title sequence des
Titles
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod supv
Prod coord
Prod coord
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Prod accountant
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Prod secy
Prod secy
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
East L.A. cultural attache
Casting assoc
Extra casting
Extra casting
Extra casting
Extra casting
Unit pub
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
First aid
First aid
Catering services
Catering services
Actors delegate
Government supv
Government supv
STAND INS
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col
SOURCES
SONGS
“Born In East L.A.,” words by Cheech Marin, music by Bruce Springsteen, published by Bruce Springsteen (ASCAP), performed by Cheech & Chong, Cheech & Chong appear courtesy of MCA Records
“Le Freak,” written by Bernard Edwards & Nile Rodgers, performed by Zette, courtesy of QMI Music/MCA Records
“America,” written and performed by Neil Diamond, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc. and Neil Diamond.
DETAILS
Release Date:
21 August 1987
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 21 August 1987
Production Date:
15 March--22 May 1987
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
30 March 1988
Copyright Number:
PA362501
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Prints
Prints by Deluxe
Duration(in mins):
85
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28759
SYNOPSIS

Automobile repair shop owner Rudy Robles was born and raised in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in East Los Angeles, California, but while he speaks excellent English, his Spanish is rather poor. Rudy’s mother asks him to pick up their Mexican cousin, Javier Morales, at his job at a toy factory in downtown Los Angeles and bring him back to their house, where he will be staying for a few days. Since Rudy has never met his cousin, his mother gives him a photo of Javier. When Rudy arrives at the factory, more than a hundred workers are busy making stuffed animals. Rudy cannot find anyone who speaks English, so he wanders around looking for Javier. Just then, federal Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) agents raid the factory and put the workers on a bus back to Mexico. Rudy is swept up in this raid and tries to explain he is an American citizen. However, he accidentally left his wallet at home and has no proof of his citizenship. Without that proof, he is locked out of America with twenty-five cents in his pocket. Meanwhile, when the INS agents raided the factory, Javier was taking a break and was not arrested. Javier gets a ride to Rudy’s house and a neighbor lets him in since Rudy’s mother, sister and nieces have gone to Fresno, California, for a week. Rudy tries to telephone home, but the answering machine picks up. As Rudy’s mother has placed a painting of Jesus in front of the telephone cubbyhole, Javier, who does not speak English, hears Rudy talking on the answering machine and mistakenly thinks it is Jesus speaking to him. When the pay phone ... +


Automobile repair shop owner Rudy Robles was born and raised in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in East Los Angeles, California, but while he speaks excellent English, his Spanish is rather poor. Rudy’s mother asks him to pick up their Mexican cousin, Javier Morales, at his job at a toy factory in downtown Los Angeles and bring him back to their house, where he will be staying for a few days. Since Rudy has never met his cousin, his mother gives him a photo of Javier. When Rudy arrives at the factory, more than a hundred workers are busy making stuffed animals. Rudy cannot find anyone who speaks English, so he wanders around looking for Javier. Just then, federal Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) agents raid the factory and put the workers on a bus back to Mexico. Rudy is swept up in this raid and tries to explain he is an American citizen. However, he accidentally left his wallet at home and has no proof of his citizenship. Without that proof, he is locked out of America with twenty-five cents in his pocket. Meanwhile, when the INS agents raided the factory, Javier was taking a break and was not arrested. Javier gets a ride to Rudy’s house and a neighbor lets him in since Rudy’s mother, sister and nieces have gone to Fresno, California, for a week. Rudy tries to telephone home, but the answering machine picks up. As Rudy’s mother has placed a painting of Jesus in front of the telephone cubbyhole, Javier, who does not speak English, hears Rudy talking on the answering machine and mistakenly thinks it is Jesus speaking to him. When the pay phone will not return his money, Rudy starts hitting the telephone and police arrest him. In jail in Tijuana, Mexico, two prisoners try to harass Rudy until Feo, a clergyman visiting the jail, chases them away. However, Feo wants $100 for helping Rudy, otherwise he’ll have the other prisoners harass him again. Just then, police release Rudy. Rudy goes to a bar where he meets an American named Jimmy who puts him to work standing on the sidewalk urging potential customers to come into his bar. A few hours later at a nearby pool hall, Jimmy tells Rudy he can help him get back to America for $350. However, Rudy does not have any money, so Jimmy tells him he will have to hustle tourists into his bar for a few more weeks to earn the money. When two vacationing Americans stop in the bar before crossing the border, Rudy hides in their recreational vehicle to get back into America. However, guard dogs sniff out drugs in the vehicle and Rudy is arrested. Back in jail, Feo again harasses him. Rudy begs Feo to get him out of the jail and Feo gets him a job in a tattoo parlor. Rudy hates the tattoo job and returns to Jimmy, begging to get home. Jimmy suggests he cross the border on foot and takes him to a canyon where several dozen others are trying to sneak into America. Rudy organizes the others to behave like a football team. Many make it across the border, but Rudy is caught. He tries to cross another time, but is again stopped. Rudy performs many jobs for Jimmy including selling fake passports and teaching some Chinese men how to blend in with other Americans by strutting down the street saying, “What’s happening!” Rudy also sells bags of oranges on the street, but when he sees a mother and her hungry children, he gives them oranges for free. Rudy flirts with Dolores, a waitress in the pool hall where Jimmy hangs out. Originally from El Salvador, Dolores is trying to make enough money to get to America. When a band performs in the pool hall, Rudy joins them on guitar and teaches them some rock and roll songs. They form a band, Rudy and the New Huevos Rancheros, and perform on the street, making lots of money from tourists. Dolores and Rudy chat over a beer. He tells her that he was in the United States Army for four years, stationed in Germany as a mechanic. He got married while there, but the marriage did not last. Rudy gives Jimmy the remainder of the $350 he requires to get him across the border. Rudy goes to meet Dolores for a date, but is mugged en route. However, the woman to whom he gave the oranges chases the muggers away. Dolores is angry that Rudy is late for their date until she finds out he was mugged and then becomes sympathetic. The next morning, Jimmy takes Rudy to a big-rig truck that will take him to America. However, the driver demands $500 for the service. Jimmy covers the $150 difference and says Rudy can send him the money once he is back in East Los Angeles. Dolores and Rudy say their goodbyes and kiss. Rudy gets on the truck with several other men. One man tells his wife that he will send for her as soon as he has earned enough money. The wife begs the driver to let her on the truck, but the driver demands she pay him $500. Rudy gets off the truck and lets the wife go in his place. Rudy and Dolores and several hundred others go to a canyon along the border and make a run for America. Border patrol agents are overwhelmed and cannot catch them. Rudy and Dolores make it safely into America and climb out of a manhole in East Los Angeles during a Cinco de Mayo parade.
+

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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