The Milagro Beanfield War

( 3 )

Overview

It's advisable to know from the beginning of The Milagro Beanfield War that "milagro" is the Spanish word for "miracle." The scene is a rundown Hispanic community in New Mexico, bordering a posh housing development. In full control of the local water rights, the powers-that-be are secure in the belief that they'll be able to expand their development without resistance from the locals. No one can foresee that impoverished farmer Joe Mondragon Chick Vennera, during a burst of frustrated rage, will accidentally open...
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Overview

It's advisable to know from the beginning of The Milagro Beanfield War that "milagro" is the Spanish word for "miracle." The scene is a rundown Hispanic community in New Mexico, bordering a posh housing development. In full control of the local water rights, the powers-that-be are secure in the belief that they'll be able to expand their development without resistance from the locals. No one can foresee that impoverished farmer Joe Mondragon Chick Vennera, during a burst of frustrated rage, will accidentally open a heretofore hidden sluice, thereby providing free water for his bean field. At first, the locals are against Mondragon's "insurrection," reasoning that the new housing development will provide jobs. But with the help of Charlie Bloom John Heard, a burned-out '60s activist who now runs the community newspaper, Mondragon becomes the hero of the hour, the spiritual leader of an ever-growing "no development" movement. The evil land developers send their minions to intimidate or coerce Mondragon; each time, however, he is seemingly protected from harm by divine intervention. When Mondragon is forced to shoot a trespasser on his land, it looks as though his luck has run out. Chased into the hills by private detective Kyril Montana Christopher Walken, Mondragon is once more rescued in the nick of time by what appears to be a miracle. And there are more wonders to behold before fade-out time! Whimsical, yes, but thanks to its hand-picked ensemble cast including Sonia Braga, Rubén Blades, James Gammon, Daniel Stern, Freddy Fender, M. Emmet Walsh, and Melanie Griffith the film remains totally credible throughout. Adapted by John Nichols and David Ward from Nichols' own novel, The Milagro Beanfield War may be the most likeable "liberal-tract" film of the 1980s. Robert Redford's appropriately Capraesque direction is matched by Dave Grusin's vibrant Oscar-winning musical score.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Robert Redford: Memories of Milagro
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Famed liberal Robert Redford was apparently not a huge Ronald Reagan fan. After directing best picture winner Ordinary People in 1980, he took the entire Reagan administration off from directing -- and when he finally returned in 1988, it was helming a film that functions as a socialist thumb in the eye to Reagan's union-busting policies. The Milagro Beanfield War is more entertaining than that sounds, but not a lot more. It basically functions as a case study of small-town New Mexican farmers who try to continue their livelihood despite coming down on the wrong side, legally, of a resource dispute, as the townspeople at large try to save their sleepy hamlet from being developed into country clubs and high-end living. The conflict between the working man and the capitalist fat cats oozes through every frame. Of course, there's plenty of atmosphere to shape it into more of a movie and less of a Sociology 101 lesson. At times, the movie is almost terminally whimsical, as one of its main characters is the ghost of a deceased elder, who skips through Milagro and bears a remarkable resemblance to a character from Fiddler on the Roof, despite his Mexican rather than Jewish heritage. What's more, the central conflict is portrayed as ensnaring everyone in town, who take their turns stopping by the general store to buy guns and shells, regardless of their age or fitness for handling a weapon. Despite a quality cast and some quality filmmaking, what keeps The Milagro Beanfield War from being more effective is that the characters seem to exist only within the moment of whatever action they're taking or position they're holding. For a movie that tries so hard to emphasize the history of this town, it's problematic that the characters have no history of their own.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/31/2005
  • UPC: 025192054525
  • Original Release: 1988
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Subtitled / Dubbed
  • Time: 1:58:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 9,850

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ruben Blades Sheriff Bernabe Montoya
Richard Bradford Ladd Devine
Sonia Braga Ruby Archuleta
Julie Carmen Nancy Mondragon
James Gammon Horse Thief Shorty
John Heard Charlie Bloom
Chick Vennera Joe Mondragon
Melanie Griffith Flossie Devine
Carlos Riquelme Amarante Cordova
Daniel Stern Herbie Platt
Christopher Walken Kyril Montana
Freddy Fender Mayor Sammy Cantu
Robert Carricart Coyote Angel
M. Emmet Walsh The Governor
Tony Genaro Nick Rael
Jerry Hardin Emerson Capps
Mario Arrambide Carl
China Bell Devine's Friend
Patricio Chavez Devine's Friend
Tom Connor Dancing Angel
Margo Cutler Devine's Friend
Rudy Fernandez Milagro Townsperson
Ronald C. Frazier Governor's Office Staff
Mike Gomez Milagro Townsperson
Basil Hoffman Governor's Office Staff
Ronald G. Joseph Jerry G
Fredrick Lopez Milagro Townsperson
Jimmy Martinez Milagro Townsperson
Philip L. Mead Governor's Office Staff
Olga Merediz Milagro Townsperson
Alberto Morin Senile Brigade
Juanita Nicholas Devine's Friend
Gene Ornales Governor's Office Staff
Frederico Roberto Senile Brigade
Nat Shipman Devine's Friend
Trinidad Silva Milagro Townsperson
Eric Treisman Devine's Friend
Pablo Trujillo Senile Brigade
Natividad Vacio Senile Brigade
Eloy Vigil Senile Brigade
Sam Vlahos Governor's Office Staff
Lynda Witz Governor's Office Staff
Technical Credits
Robert Redford Director, Co-producer, Producer
Dede Allen Editor
Joe Aubel Art Director, Production Designer
Moctesuma Esparza Co-producer, Producer
Nancy Foy Casting
Stanley Frazen Editor
Robbie Greenberg Cinematographer
Dave Grusin Score Composer
Gary Hendler Executive Producer
Tom Hoerber Makeup
Robert Jones Screenwriter
Gary D. Liddiard Makeup
Jim Miller Editor
James M. Miller Editor
Charles B. Mulvehill Co-producer, Producer
John Nichols Screenwriter
Frank Pierson Screenwriter
Bernie Pollack Costumes/Costume Designer
Kay Rose Sound Editor
Thomas Roysden Set Decoration/Design
Tom Ward Special Effects
David S. Ward Screenwriter
Jim Webb Sound/Sound Designer
David Wisnievitz Production Manager
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Main Titles [4:02]
2. Windmills on the Horizon [8:17]
3. Irritable Irrigation [10:31]
4. Joe's Beanfield [7:46]
5. The Boogeyman [7:50]
6. Professional Agitator [4:11]
7. Milagro Miracle [2:55]
8. Talk of the Town [6:14]
9. The Patron Saint [9:26]
10. Cow Rustling [:49]
11. Pancho Villa [5:44]
12. Taking the Job [7:24]
13. Spoiled Harvest [6:20]
14. Western Justice [6:06]
15. The Lone Ranger [6:52]
16. Picking Beans [9:14]
17. Arrested Development [6:30]
18. End Titles [4:05]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Scenes
   Robert Redford: Memories of Milagro
   Languages
      English
      Español
      Français
      English Captions for the Hearing Impaired
      Español Subtitles
      Français Subtitles
      No Subtitles
   Play
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

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3 Star

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2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I love this film!

    Not certain that I can judge this one critically because it is a film that just hits all the right keys with me. There are actually five main story lines throughout the film. This could be confusing but the script and the direction keep this film from devolving into incomprehensibility. What carries the story are the characters - they are rich and believable and true to themselves throughout. One of the best things this film does is to show us what incredible complexity and diverse experience there is in the lives of very ordinary people. There are no princes or wandering heores with endless financial support from some unknown source as the focus of this story. These are people who are dealing with daily issues that range from how to pay the bills without enough money to mystical issues such as what our relationship with each other and the world should look like. It is a soaring and inspirational film and the cast is incredible, including a rather charming pig who wants to eat everything she comes across. In the end, it does indeed discuss what the nature of the miraculous is in our daily lives.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    DON'T JUST WATCH IT ONCE!!

    Has to be the sleeper movie of all time! bought the 1st tape reduced/used at a video store in ca. Now live in new mexico and have the dvd. Have watched it 50 times?? still love it and so does my wife. Great flick!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Can't stop watching

    I've watched this move at least 10 times since it came out and it always leaves you feeling good. A classic movie about good and bad , the bad being the rich white developers tring to impose their will on the poor Hispanic community. While many are decieved by the money a few are determined to fight for what is right and to keep their heritage, which to all hispanics is very important. If you have never seen it you've missed a classic.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews