My Family

Synopsis: This epic film traces over three generations an immigrant family's trials, tribulations, tragedies and triumphs. Jose and Maria, the first generation, come to Los Angeles, meet, marry, face deportation all in the 1930s. They establish their family in East L.A., and their children Chucho, Paco, Memo, Irene, Toni, and Jimmy deal with youth culture and the L.A. police in the 1950s. As the second generation become adults in the 1960s, the focus shifts to Jimmy, his marriage to Isabel (a Salvadorian refugee), their son, and Jimmy's journey to becoming a responsible parent.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Gregory Nava
Production: New Line Home Entertainment
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
128 min

Whenever I see the bridges

that connect Los Angeles | with East Los Angeles,

I remember my family.

I remember my father | and my mother,

my brothers... | Chucho, little Jimmy,

and Memo, the lawyer.

My crazy sisters... | Toni and Irene.

But to write the story | of my family,

I have to begin where millions | of stories have begun...

in a small village in Mexico | a long, long time ago.

Actually, nothing like that | ever really happened.

That's just the way my father | used to tell the story.

His brother Roberto really died | of a ruptured appendix.

In those days | just after the revolution,

times were hard,

and my dad's in-laws couldn't | afford to feed an extra mouth,

so my father had to leave.

Now, the only living relative | my father knew about

lived somewhere north | in a village

called Nuestra Senora | Reina de Los Angeles.

He figured he could | walk there in a day or two.

The other side of the world.

My father thought about it.

"Good God," he thought,

"it might take two weeks | to walk there."


Andale, con cuidado. | Hazle un lugar ahi.

It took him over a year

to reach the other side | of the world.

He walked most of the way,

and we kids, well, we heard | of that journey many times.

He was attacked by 10 bandits | in Sonora

and had to beat them off | with a cactus branch.

He rode the back | of a snorting mountain lion.

But finally,

he reached El Pueblo de Nuestra | Senora Reina de Los Angeles...

the one in California.

The border? | Well, in those days,

the border was | just a line in the dirt.

They called the old man | "El Californio,"

because he didn't come | from anywhere else.

He was born right here | in Los Angeles,

when it was still Mexico.

My father had found | a new home.

Even then, | there were bridges.

My father soon | joined the people

crossing from their barrio | on the east side of the river

to do the work of the city | on the other side.

They mowed the lawns, | took care of the children,

cleaned the house, | worked in restaurant kitchens,

but no one | from the west side of the river

ever crossed the bridges | into the barrio.

Make sure that they're | all cleaned up

to go to Grandma's tonight.

Give us a kiss. Love you.

Love you. Aw, I love you.



Ay, ninos!


Okay, now. Be serious.



Boom, ba da boom, | ba da boom, ba da boom.

Children soon followed...

first me, then my sister Irene.

My earliest memory is of the face

of that gentle old man

looking at me and smiling.

And I remember my father | always working in his milpa...

corn in the back | and beans in the front.

And that's the way | it always was at my house

for as long | as I can remember.

Jose, tu cafe | con leche esta listo.

Mi cafecito.


the children are wonderful.

There is | no greater blessing

in all the world than children.

We're going to have another?

Maria, I knew it!

I knew it, Maria.

It's going to be a boy.

I'm going to have | another son,

and this one

is going to be a special boy.

I remember | when it happened.

It was that Sunday | afternoon. Remember?


Remember that day | old Gomez

crashed his car into the river?

Yes. That was the day.

Maria, I knew it...

because that day | I got out of bed

and walked out | to the porch.

I was standing there.

I looked up into the sky,

and I saw an angel pass by.

An angel?


How beautiful.

Tonight we celebrate.


Then came the day | everything changed...

when my mother didn't come home | from the market.

It was the time | of the Great Depression.

I guess some politicians | got it into their heads

that the Mexicanos

were responsible | for the whole thing.

I mean, they were taking up | a lot of jobs...

jobs that were needed

for what they called | "real Americans."

I have to get home | to my children!

Por favor, senor. | Please.

So La Migra made some big sweeps | through the barrio,

and they rounded up | everyone they could.

No! I live here.

No! I belong here.

Senor, por favor. | Senores.

I can't help you, lady.

Move it!

It didn't matter if you were | a citizen, like my mother.

If you looked Mexicano,

you were picked up | and shipped out.

She had just been | out shopping.

She wasn't allowed | to come home.

My father was never told.

She was all alone, | and she was pregnant.

All these things really happened.

The year was 1933.

Lock her up!


Okay, roll her out!

The Southern Pacific Railroad

made the US government a deal.

For $14.75 a head,

they took the Mexicanos

all the way back | into Central Mexico,

hoping they would never | be able to get back.


I remember the day they buried | El Californio in the backyard.

He left a will and left | everything to my father,

but he made it very clear

he didn't want to have | nothing to do

with the pinche church | or the pinche government.

He wanted to be buried | right behind the house,

under the cornfield.


And El Californio said | exactly what he wanted

written on his grave marker.

"Don Alejandro Vazquez, | El Californio,

died 1934.

When I was born here, | this was Mexico,

and where I lie, | this is still Mexico."

My mother kept her promise,

and when my brother Chucho | was old enough,

she set off | on her long journey home,

but the rains came early | that year.

She had gone too far | to turn back.



No! No!



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Gregory Nava

Gregory James Nava (born April 10, 1949) is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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