We Were Strangers

Synopsis: 1932. The tyrannical and despotic government of President Machado has headed Cuba for seven years. The latest measure of that tyranny is the outlawing of public gatherings of more than four people, such acts the government deeming treasonous. China Valdés, a young woman who works in an American bank in Havana, is generally non-political. However, she decides to join the revolutionary forces to avenge the murder of her activist brother Manolo - a murder she witnessed - at the hands of the government, the trigger pulled by a police officer she will eventually learn is named Armando Ariete. Her goal is to kill Ariete. Another of the revolutionaries, an American entertainment promoter named Tony Fenner, convinces her to hold off on her assassination, as he believes he has come up with a plan that can wipe out all the major government leaders in one fell swoop. Along with China and Tony, the Chief of the revolutionaries amasses a team of four non-related men - Guillermo, Ramón, Miguel and T
Director(s): John Huston
Production: Columbia Pictures
Rotten Tomatoes:
106 min

Our illustrious leader, the Presidente,

has brought law and order to Cuba.

This law and order, under which Cuba

has become a land of progress...

must be preserved boldly.

There are factions in Cuba

which are dangerous to our people.

They must not be allowed to flourish.

We must protect the people of Cuba

from their disturbing influences.

Strong measures are needed,

and we are strong.

I move, therefore, that the Senate of Cuba...

vote immediately on the bill before it.

The bill that makes the assembling

of more than four people...

in any open public place...

not only illegal, but an act of treason

against the government.

Only by the enactment

and vigorous defense of such a law...

can Cuba achieve its destiny.

Second the motion!

The motion has been put

that the Senate vote on the bill...

making all public gatherings

of more than four citizens of Cuba...

a violation of the public welfare.

All those in favor will please rise.

The bill making public assemblage

an act of treason against the government...

has been passed unanimously.

What is all about it? What's it say here?

I am reading now:

"Long live freedom in Cuba.

"Cubans, our rights have been stolen.

We live in fear.

"The tyrants are strong,

but the cry of liberty is stronger.

"Cubans, raise your..."

You're under arrest. Come on.

- I have done nothing.

- Let him alone!

Come on!

It's no good. Go on. Save yourselves.


What is it, Manolo? What has happened?

You were out with them again.

Why, Manolo, why tonight?

- Can't it wait?

- No. It can't wait.

It can never wait, China.

That is something I learned.

- There is so much at stake for you.

- I didn't forget the examination's tomorrow.

I didn't forget the way you, Mama,

and Lolita have worked for tomorrow.

Still I could not do otherwise.

I couldn't go to them and tell them:

"No, I'm sorry. Cuba will have to wait

until I have finished my education."

But it was only a matter of one day.

It's always a matter of one day

or one week or one year.

There are always excuses.

I've heard them all from others:

"Yes, I would join you, but I'm married.

"I believe in what you're doing,

but I have a family."

That's why there are so few of us.

What happened, Manolo?

What happened tonight?

There were three of us.

We were distributing leaflets.

The police spotted us. They chased us.

- The one who was driving got shot.

- They killed him?

He was still alive when we left him.

I hope he's dead now.

Don't look at me as if I'd gone crazy.

He's in the hands of the Porra.

I hope he died quickly,

for his sake and for mine.

If he's alive they will make him tell

who was with him.

You must get away, Manolo. You must hide.

- The examinations are tomorrow.

- What does that matter?

- Your life is at stake.

- But suppose my friend is dead by now?

Suppose he was lucky enough to die?

Then I will be running away from shadows.

We must keep our heads, China.

If my friend is alive, he won't talk at once.

We have a rule in the organization

that a man who is caught must hold out...

for at least six hours,

to give his comrades a chance to escape.

After that, he is free to die easy.

Then if they come after you...

it would be around 4:00

or 5:
00 in the morning.

That's right.

Now listen, China. I know a place I can go.

If the Porra are not here by 8:00,

at the latest...

you will know that everything is all right.

In that case...

walk up the east side of the street opposite

the university at 9:00 tomorrow morning.

I'll be waiting. If you don't come,

I'll know they're after me.

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Peter Viertel

Peter Viertel (16 November 1920 – 4 November 2007) was an author and screenwriter. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "We Were Strangers" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 4 Aug. 2021. <https://www.scripts.com/script/we_were_strangers_23170>.

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