Editorials15 Scenic Films Set in Mexico to Activate Your Wanderlust

15 Scenic Films Set in Mexico to Activate Your Wanderlust

Written by Serena Baker & Likewise Pix | Jun 04, 2024

From the vibrant streets of Mexico City to the tranquil beaches of Quintana Roo, films set in Mexico illuminate the beauty and cultural richness of this magnificent country. Whether you crave the thrill of an adventurous journey or yearn for a deeper connection with family and history, there's something for everyone in this handpicked collection of cinematic masterpieces. Here are 15 scenic films that are sure to activate your wanderlust and spark a fresh appreciation for Mexico’s stunning landscapes and profound stories.

1. Y Tu Mamá También

Y Tu Mamá También
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A coming-of-age road trip film, Y Tu Mamá También follows two teenage boys and an attractive older woman as they embark on a journey through Mexico. They learn about life, friendship, and love, all against the backdrop of Mexico’s breathtaking landscapes. Released in 2001, this film directed by Alfonso Cuarón received a solid rating of 3.7.

2. Frida

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Frida offers an intimate look at the life of renowned artist Frida Kahlo. The film, released in 2002 and directed by Julie Taymor, captures Mexico City's vibrant art scene and the striking beauty of Kahlo's work and surroundings. With a rating of 3.9, this film is a must-watch for art enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

3. To the Sea

To the Sea
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In To the Sea, five-year-old Natan embarks on an epic journey with his father, Jorge, to the pristine Chinchorro reef. The film, directed by Pedro González-Rubio and released in 2010, speaks volumes about family bonds and Mayan heritage, showcasing Mexico’s natural beauty.

4. Like Water for Chocolate

Like Water for Chocolate
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Like Water for Chocolate, released in 1992, tells a tale of passion and culinary magic. Tita, forbidden to marry her true love, channels her emotions through her cooking, stirring up intense reactions in those who taste her dishes. This film, directed by Alfonso Arau, has a rating of 3.5 and offers a feast for both the eyes and the heart.

5. Rudo & Cursi

Rudo & Cursi
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Rudo & Cursi, directed by Carlos Cuarón and released in 2008, chronicles the rise of two brothers from manual laborers to star soccer players. This comedic yet heartfelt film is set against the rich backdrop of rural Mexico and boasts a rating of 3.3.

6. Roma

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Roma by Alfonso Cuarón captures the essence of 1970s Mexico City. This poignant film, released in 2018, follows two domestic workers as they care for a mother of four. With a rating of 3.6, it's a visually stunning homage to Cuarón's childhood neighborhood.

7. Treasures

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Treasures, released in 2017, is an adventurous tale of siblings Dylan and Andrea. Along with new friends, they venture out to find long-lost pirate loot. This family-friendly movie, directed by María Novaro, will inspire young and old alike.

8. I Dream in Another Language

I Dream in Another Language
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In I Dream in Another Language, a young linguist strives to save an indigenous language by reuniting its last two speakers. Released in 2017 and directed by Ernesto Contreras, this film, with an impressive rating of 3.8, delves deep into cultural preservation and reconciliation.

9. Flight of the Butterflies

Flight of the Butterflies
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Flight of the Butterflies, a 2012 documentary, beautifully captures the migration of monarch butterflies to central Mexico. Directed by Mike Slee, it highlights Dr. Fred Urquhart's lifelong quest to unravel the mysteries of this magnificent journey. With a rating of 3.5, it's a breathtaking homage to nature’s wonders.

10. Güeros

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Güeros, released in 2015, takes place during the 1999 student strikes in Mexico City. Directed by Alonso Ruizpalacios, this black-and-white film follows two brothers in a sentimental quest to find an aging musician. It's rated 3.6 and brims with youthful exuberance and historical insight.

11. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
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The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a classic 1948 film directed by John Huston. Starring Humphrey Bogart, it tells the gripping tale of three men prospecting for gold in central Mexico. With a high rating of 4.2, it is a timeless story of greed, friendship, and survival.

12. Coco

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Coco, a 2017 animated film from Pixar, captures the colorful celebration of the Day of the Dead. Directed by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina, it follows young Miguel as he unravels his family’s history. With a rating of 4.0, its music, visuals, and heartfelt story make it an instant classic.

13. Spectre

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In Spectre, James Bond races through the streets of Mexico City during the Day of the Dead celebrations. Released in 2015, this action-packed film directed by Sam Mendes brings the city's vibrant culture to life. It holds a solid rating of 3.3.

14. The Mexican

The Mexican
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The Mexican, released in 2001 and directed by Gore Verbinski, stars Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts in a cross-border adventure. Jerry Welbach, a reluctant bagman, must retrieve a priceless pistol in Mexico, a task complicated by his volatile relationship with his girlfriend. It offers a unique mix of action and comedy with a rating of 2.9.

15. El Mariachi

El Mariachi
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El Mariachi, the debut film of director Robert Rodriguez, was released in 1992. It tells the story of a traveling mariachi musician mistaken for a hitman. With its raw energy and gripping plot, the film boasts a rating of 3.4 and showcases the talent that would later bring Rodriguez international acclaim.

Mexico’s stunning landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture come alive in these fifteen films. Each offers a unique perspective on the country's beauty and the depth of the human experience. Whether you're a fan of drama, adventure, or animation, these movies are guaranteed to ignite your passion for Mexico and its diverse stories. So grab some popcorn, sit back, and let these cinematic gems transport you to the heart of Mexico.