The Milagro Beanfield War (1988)

R | 118 mins | Drama | 18 March 1988

Full page view
HISTORY

       The 29 Jan 1975 Var reported that John Nichols’s novel, The Milagro Beanfield War, would be adapted by Dalsa Films. Six months later, items in the 9 Jul 1975 Var and 16 Jul 1975 HR noted that the film would be produced by Robert W. Christiansen and Rick Rosenberg through their company, Chris/Rose Productions, in association with Paramount Pictures. Writer Tracy Keenan Wynn was attached to write the screenplay. However, the 16 Jan 1978 HR and 18 Jan 1978 Var reported that the production was being moved to Lorimar, with Leonard Gardner brought on to write the script and Michael Wadleigh hired to direct. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, producer Moctesuma Esparza obtained the book’s rights a year later in Dec 1979. The following month, actor-director Robert Redford became attached to the production to direct. The picture was noted in the 5 Jun 1985 HR to be distributed through Tri-Star Pictures. Actor Richard “Cheech” Marin was considered to star in the film, but the 6 Sep 1987 LAT stated that Marin lost the part after “Redford had changed his mind.” According to the 25 Jul 1987 LAT, actress Elizabeth Peña was offered a part in the film, but declined.
       The 20 Jul 1986 LAT reported that principal photography was set to begin 4 Aug 1986 in Chimayo, NM, but the production was “chased out” due to a protest led by local businessman Harold Martinez. Moving to the northern town of Truchas, NM, production notes listed that ... More Less

       The 29 Jan 1975 Var reported that John Nichols’s novel, The Milagro Beanfield War, would be adapted by Dalsa Films. Six months later, items in the 9 Jul 1975 Var and 16 Jul 1975 HR noted that the film would be produced by Robert W. Christiansen and Rick Rosenberg through their company, Chris/Rose Productions, in association with Paramount Pictures. Writer Tracy Keenan Wynn was attached to write the screenplay. However, the 16 Jan 1978 HR and 18 Jan 1978 Var reported that the production was being moved to Lorimar, with Leonard Gardner brought on to write the script and Michael Wadleigh hired to direct. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, producer Moctesuma Esparza obtained the book’s rights a year later in Dec 1979. The following month, actor-director Robert Redford became attached to the production to direct. The picture was noted in the 5 Jun 1985 HR to be distributed through Tri-Star Pictures. Actor Richard “Cheech” Marin was considered to star in the film, but the 6 Sep 1987 LAT stated that Marin lost the part after “Redford had changed his mind.” According to the 25 Jul 1987 LAT, actress Elizabeth Peña was offered a part in the film, but declined.
       The 20 Jul 1986 LAT reported that principal photography was set to begin 4 Aug 1986 in Chimayo, NM, but the production was “chased out” due to a protest led by local businessman Harold Martinez. Moving to the northern town of Truchas, NM, production notes listed that filming began in Aug 1986 and lasted until late Nov 1986. Additional New Mexico locations included: Cochiti Lake; Espanola; Los Alamos; and Santa Fe. Reports in the 10 Jul 1986 HR and 18 Aug 1986 DV listed the picture’s budget as approximately $10 million.
       During filming, the 23 Oct 1986 LAT reported that producer Larry Cano, land activist Reies Tijerina, businessman Ralph Rivera and director Frank Zuniga, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, CA, on 22 Oct 1986 against Esparza Productions, Robert Redford, screenwriter David S. Ward, and MCA for “copyright infringement, unfair completion, defamation and invasion of privacy.” Cano claimed the screenplay for The Milagro Beanfield War was heavily based off of Tijerina’s life in the 1960s, and caused waning interested in his own film titled, King Tiger. The 21 Nov 1986 HR announced Tijerina had dropped out as a plaintiff.
       According to a 9 Jul 1987 LAT item, the film’s opening was scheduled for 20 Nov 1987, but was moved to early 1988. The 17 Oct 1987 L.B. Press-Telegram reported that Redford returned to Santa Fe to reshoot a number of scenes.
       As noted in the 16 Mar 1988 Var review and 17 Mar 1988 LAHExam, the film was screened on 14 Mar 1988 at Universal City, CA, as a benefit for the Centros de Ninos organization. The 25 Mar 1988 HR noted that a cast and crew screening was held on 19 Mar 1988 at the Santa Fe Plaza in New Mexico.
       After a limited release in Los Angeles, New York City, and Toronto, Canada, on 18 Mar 1988, the 22 Mar 1988 LAT stated that the picture grossed $48,000 at the box-office. An 18 Mar 1988 HR brief reported that the picture would open a week later on 25 Mar 1988 in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, NM. An article in the 13 Dec 1988 LAT reported that the picture earned approximately $12.7 million.
       The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Music (Original Score).
       End credits state: “Special thanks to the: National Council of La Raza, as well as David Ochoa and Ralph Segura.” End credits also state: “Thanks to the following establishments and communities whose cooperation is greatly appreciated: Owing – Dewey Fine Art and Dewey Galleries, Santa Fe; Quail Run Resort Retirement Community, Santa Fe; New Mexico Film Commission, Economic Development and Tourism Department; U.S. Forest Service.” End credits acknowledge: “Special thanks to the people of Truchas, New Mexico and Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Española, whose cooperation helped make this film possible.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
18 Aug 1986
p. 1, 12.
Daily Variety
31 Oct 1986
p. 12, 25.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jul 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jan 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Feb 1978
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jun 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jul 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Nov 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Mar 1988
p. 3, 18.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Mar 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Mar 1988.
---
L.B. Press-Telegram
17 Oct 1987.
---
LAHExam
17 Mar 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
20 Jul 1986
Calendar, p. 23.
Los Angeles Times
23 Oct 1986
Calendar, p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
9 Jul 1987
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
25 Jul 1987
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
6 Sep 1987
Calendar, p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
18 Mar 1988
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
22 Mar 1988
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
13 Dec 1988
Calendar, p. 1.
New York Times
18 Mar 1988
Section C, p. 17.
Variety
29 Jan 1975
p. 6.
Variety
9 Jul 1975
p. 6.
Variety
18 Jan 1978
p. 34.
Variety
16 Mar 1988
p. 14.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Robert Redford / Moctesuma Esparza Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d unit dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Gaffer
Best boy - Elec
Key grip
Best boy - Grip
Dolly grip
Grip
Addl cam op
Addl 1st cam asst
2d unit cam asst
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Sketch artist
Sketch artist
FILM EDITORS
Assoc ed
Assoc ed
Addl ed
1st asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Prop asst
Prop asst
Leadman
Drapery man
Set des
Set des
Const coord
Greensman
Asst greensman
Stand by painter
Const foreman
Shop foreman
Paint boss
Paint boss
Key labor boss
Labor foreman
Labor foreman
Set dresser
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men`s costumer
Men`s costumer
Women`s costumer
Tailor
Seamstress
Ward asst
MUSIC
Supv mus ed
Supv mus ed
Mus ed
Solo guitar performed by
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
ADR ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd mixer
Cable man
Foley rec at
Foley rec at
Re-rec facilities
Prod sd transfers
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Asst spec eff
Asst spec eff
Mattes by
Main title concept and des
Opticals by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Visual consultant
Asst to Mr. Redford
Casting asst
Casting asst
ADR voice casting
Background casting
Background casting
Dial coach
Dial coach
Prod consultant
Prod consultant
Unit pub
Public relations
2d unit coord
Loc liaison
Asst loc liaison
Prod coord
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Prod secy-Santa Fe
Prod secy-Los Angeles
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Craft services
First aid
Animal trainer
Animal trainer
Asst wrangler
Asst wrangler
Loc projectionist
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod computer equip and software
First aid
First aid
First aid
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Head security
Wildwood Enterprises
Wildwood Enterprises
Caterer
STAND INS
Stuntman
Stuntman
Utility stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols (New York, 1974).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Milagro
The Milagro Bean Field War
Milagro Bean Fields
Milagro Beanfield
Release Date:
18 March 1988
Premiere Information:
Benefit premiere in Universal City, CA: 14 March 1988
Los Angeles, New York, and Toronto openings: 18 March 1988
Production Date:
early August--late November 1986, retakes mid October 1987
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
2 August 1988
Copyright Number:
PA376419
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Camera and lenses by Panavision ®
Duration(in mins):
118
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29090
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Outside the small town of Milagro, New Mexico, construction begins on developer Ladd Devine’s new project, the Miracle Valley Recreation Area. For the development, Ladd and his business associates convince the governor’s office to pass laws providing them exclusive use of the area’s water supply. Meanwhile, Joe Mondragon fails to find work and arrives at his deceased father’s bean field. After kicking the gate along a nearby irrigation ditch, Joe announces his plans to sell the land to the former sheriff, Amarante Cordova. As he talks, water follows from the ditch’s broken gate and floods the field. Afterward, Joe decides the water belongs to him and begins tending the bean plants. Later, news spreads throughout the town about Joe’s rebellious act. Ruby Archuleta, owner of the town’s auto mechanic shop, stands by Joe and asks former activist lawyer Charlie Bloom to write an article about the bean field in the local newspaper. Upset, Ladd Devine orders for Joe’s arrest, but Sheriff Bernabe Montoya warns that an arrest would upset the residents of the community. With assistance from the governor’s office, Devine hires detective Kyril Montana to stop Joe from using the water. Meanwhile, New York University sociologist Herbie Platt arrives to conduct research for his thesis. Joe invites Herbie to stay at the farm in exchange for helping with tending the bean field. As the plants grow, Devine attempts to stop Joe through threats, intimidation, and the promises of a job. However, Joe refuses. Later, one of Devine’s employees tries to ruin the field with a bulldozer, but Amarante drives him away. While disposing ... +


Outside the small town of Milagro, New Mexico, construction begins on developer Ladd Devine’s new project, the Miracle Valley Recreation Area. For the development, Ladd and his business associates convince the governor’s office to pass laws providing them exclusive use of the area’s water supply. Meanwhile, Joe Mondragon fails to find work and arrives at his deceased father’s bean field. After kicking the gate along a nearby irrigation ditch, Joe announces his plans to sell the land to the former sheriff, Amarante Cordova. As he talks, water follows from the ditch’s broken gate and floods the field. Afterward, Joe decides the water belongs to him and begins tending the bean plants. Later, news spreads throughout the town about Joe’s rebellious act. Ruby Archuleta, owner of the town’s auto mechanic shop, stands by Joe and asks former activist lawyer Charlie Bloom to write an article about the bean field in the local newspaper. Upset, Ladd Devine orders for Joe’s arrest, but Sheriff Bernabe Montoya warns that an arrest would upset the residents of the community. With assistance from the governor’s office, Devine hires detective Kyril Montana to stop Joe from using the water. Meanwhile, New York University sociologist Herbie Platt arrives to conduct research for his thesis. Joe invites Herbie to stay at the farm in exchange for helping with tending the bean field. As the plants grow, Devine attempts to stop Joe through threats, intimidation, and the promises of a job. However, Joe refuses. Later, one of Devine’s employees tries to ruin the field with a bulldozer, but Amarante drives him away. While disposing of the bulldozer, Amarante’s pig, Lupita, wanders onto the field. Joe assumes the pig had eaten the beans and shoots at him. Amarante tries to stop Joe, but Joe accidently fires and hits Amarante. At Herbie’s insistence, Joe hides in the mountains. However, Armanate recovers and decides not to press charges against Joe. Returning to Milagro, Joe announces the beans are ready for harvest and the townspeople gather the crops. Later, Montana appears with the state police and attempts to arrest Joe, but he receives a radio call from the governor saying publicity for the unfair water laws has been spreading and the development has been put on hold. As Montana leaves, the community of Milagro continues to harvest the bean field and celebrate. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.