Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 42 mins

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Embedded with deadly danger and scintillating suspense, this crime thriller revolves around a professional hitman "El Mariachi", who is recruited by a psychotic CIA agent Sheldon Sands (Johnny Depp) to kill Armando Barillo (Willem Dafoe), a Mexican drug lord, who is planning a coup d'état against the President of Mexico. At the same time, El Mariachi seeks revenge against the corrupt general responsible for the death of his wife, Carolina (Salma Hayek).
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Antonio Banderas, Johnny Depp, Salma Hayek

Crew: Robert Rodriguez (Director), Robert Rodriguez (Director of Photography), Robert Rodriguez (Music Director)

Rating: MA (Australia), 16 (Hungary), 16 (Iceland), 16+ (Russia)

Genres: Action, Crime, Drama

Release Dates: 12 Sep 2003 (India)

Tagline: The Time Has Come.

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Did you know? The role of Sands was originally intended for George Clooney. When he was unavailable, Robert Rodriguez considered Kurt Russell, Bruce Willis, Sean Penn, and Nicolas Cage before deciding on Johnny Depp. Read More
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as El Mariachi
as Sands
as Carolina
Supporting Actor
as Cucuy
as Lorenzo
Supporting Actor
as Ajedrez
Supporting Actor
as Fideo
as Billy
Supporting Actress
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor


First Assistant Director
Second Unit Director
Second Assistant Director



Screenplay Writer
Story Writer
Dialogue Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography
Still Photographer


Music Director
Music Editor


Sound Designer
Foley Artist
Sound Effects Editor
Boom Operator




Art Director
Production Designer
Set Decorator
Prop Master


Casting Director

Costume and Wardrobe

Costume Designer
Assistant Costume Designer


First Assistant Editor

Makeup and Hair

Special Effects Makeup Artist
Hair Stylist

Special Effects

Special Effects Coordinator
Special Effects Technician


Stunt Director
Stunt Coordinator
Stunt Double

Visual Effects

Visual Effects Producer
Visual Effects Studio
Digital Compositor
Film Type:
Spoken Languages:
Colour Info:
Sound Mix:
Dolby Digital, DTS, Sony Dynamic Digital Sound
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
1.78:1, 2.35:1
The Time Has Come.
Factual Mistake
The president wears the sash over his suit. The only time the president of Mexico wears the sash over his suit is when he is sworn into office.

Factual Mistake
The Gun that Ajedrez uses is a revolver with a silencer, but this model revolver can not be silenced.

Crew/Equipment Visible
At the bullfight, a cameraman is reflected in Sands' sunglasses.

El, Lorenzo, and Frideo are standing outside the church before going to preform for the president, El has a white ribbon tied in his hair, but when he walks into the church it's gone. A few moments later when the are on the roof his hair is up, then cut to Lorenzo and then back to El and his hair is down.

When Jorge uses white out to cover the INVALID stamp on his FBI badge, it is a sloppy job that will pass only the most casual inspection. Later, when he flashes the badge to Billy it looks perfect with no indication of alteration. However if you look carefully you can see the white "INVALID" writing on the badge. When Ajedrez subsequently has the badge, the white out is once again very visible.

In the opening scene, after Belini leaves the bar, Sands is seen taking off his fake arm with the yellowish piece of paper on the table in front of him containing the information given to him by Belini. The shot then shows Sands putting his fake arm in the bag, and when the next shot cuts back, the paper is missing from the table.

When Agent Sands is being tailed by the cartel hit-man, you can see the small pistol in his hand before he pulls it out of his trousers.

When Sands first meets the bubblegum-selling boy, the shots of the boy have been flipped - the writing on the pack is backwards.
Johnny Depp took 8 days to shoot all of his scenes, but didn't want to leave after his filming was done. So he suggested to Robert Rodriguez that he play a small part, the priest that Antonio Banderas talks to in the church, and use his Marlon Brando impression.

Johnny Depp improvised many lines where he was originally intended to swear.

The man Barillo hires as a body double was an assistant. There were no digital effects; the man looked as identical to Willem Dafoe as he did in the movie.

There is a kid dressed in a yellow t-shirt in all the films in the El mariachi (1992) trilogy.

The real guns the filmmakers intended to use were delayed at the Mexican border for two weeks, so for the first two weeks of filming only rubber prop guns were used, with all the visual effects added digitally in post production. At first, Antonio Banderas was so thrown off by using silent prop guns that he was mouthing "bam" noises as he fired off fake shots.

The role of Sands was originally intended for George Clooney. When he was unavailable, Robert Rodriguez considered Kurt Russell, Bruce Willis, Sean Penn, and Nicolas Cage before deciding on Johnny Depp.

The last movie Robert Rodriguez wrote as a member of the Writers' Guild of America. He left the WGA after completing the script saying that they "have too many rules and just take your money." He would later leave the Directors' Guild of America in early 2004, before the filming of Sin City (2005).

The Chihuahua has a name tag that says Moco on it. Moco (which means "booger" in colloquial Spanish) was the villain in El mariachi (1992).

Almost the entire gunfight in the church was filmed with rubber guns, almost no squibs, and no physical damage to the church. Nearly all bullets, blood, explosions, and physical damage were added in post production.

Salma Hayek's scenes were rescheduled in the shoot so as to allow her to complete filming of Frida (2002).

The ringtone for the cellphone that Sands gave to El Mariachi is "Canción Del Mariachi", the theme song of Desperado (1995). You can hear it for a very short time before El Mariachi answers the phone.