30 Best Hispanic Movies to Stream Right Now
Whether you’re in the mood for a compelling drama, a sweet romance or a fun kids flick, you’ll find the perfect thing on this list of our favorite Hispanic movies
Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.
Hispanic movies you’ll fall in love with
When it comes to movie night, there are thousands of options to choose from. Dramas, romantic comedies, classic movies—the possibilities are endless. Within those genres, you’ll find some of the best Hispanic movies that you may have missed. As a Latina myself, I am always on the lookout for films that put our culture front and center. But even if you aren’t part of our 62.1 million person Latin American community, these movies are worth a watch, and not just during Hispanic Heritage Month.
The thing is, it can sometimes be difficult to find films that are made by or feature Hispanic, Latino and Latinx directors, writers and actors. In fact, studies have found that Latinx folks make up only 7.7% of all actors, 7.1% of directors and 5.6% of writers. That’s where this list of the best movies comes in.
We rounded up the best Hispanic movies for all ages and interests. Some have won awards, others are beloved among the Latinx community, and still others are brand-new offerings. A few are also based on books by Hispanic authors that topped bestseller lists. Whatever your movie preference, we guarantee you’ll find some new favorites here.
In the Heights
Memorable quote: “Start small. Dream big.”
Based on the Tony Award–winning musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes, In the Heights is an absolute celebration of Latinidad set in the heavily Dominican neighborhood of Washington Heights, New York. It follows the lives and dreams of bodega owner Usnavi (Anthony Ramos) and his neighbors, played by a stellar cast of Hispanic actors who tell their stories in mini vignettes. You’ll find yourself humming along to this catchy movie musical well after it ends, as well as thinking about its themes of racism, immigration, community and hope.
Real Women Have Curves
Memorable quote: “Like my grandmother used to say, ‘There’s no better dressing than meat on bones.'”
In her first starring role, America Ferrera plays Ana, a young woman juggling the responsibilities to her family and their textile business as a first-generation Mexican American with her dreams of going to college. But when Ana applies to Columbia and inches closer to the life she wants (including having a secret romance with a White former classmate), her relationship with her mother becomes strained. Based on the play by Josefina López, the film was directed by Patricia Cardoso, who became the first Latina to win a Sundance Audience Award.
Memorable quote: “Nothing’s more important than family.”
This heartfelt Pixar film follows a young Mexican boy named Miguel, who accidentally finds himself in the Land of the Dead. As he tries to get back to his life, as well as reverse his family’s ban on music, he meets both ancestors and new friends along the way. Coco won for Best Animated Film and Best Original Song (“Remember Me”) at the 2018 Academy Awards, and it will quickly become one of your favorite animated movies. It’s a must-watch to get a glimpse of the traditions of Día de los Muertos, and for those of us who have a Mama Coco of our own.
Father of the Bride
Memorable quote: “Fathers play a big role in their daughter’s life. It’s a special bond that only they share.”
This lovable remake stars Cuban superstars Gloria Estefan and Andy Garcia, as well as rising actor Adria Arjona (daughter of Guatemalan megastar musician Ricardo Arjona). Set in Miami, this funny family movie features plenty of pre-wedding jitters, miscommunications and laughs, as well as a storm that threatens the young couple’s wedding. We don’t get many Hispanic movies that are remakes of American films—often it’s the other way around—so we can definitely get behind this one.
Under the Same Moon
Memorable quote: “My mom said that when I missed her, I should look at the moon ’cause she’d be looking at it too so I could feel close to her and not be so sad.”
When young Carlitos’s grandmother passes away, he decides to cross the border from Mexico into the United States to find his mother, who made the same trek years earlier in hopes of providing for her family. As we see the situation through the eyes of a child, this drama is alternately endearing and heart wrenching. Starring Mexican telenovela star Kate del Castillo, as well as CODA‘s Eugenio Derbez, Under the Same Moon is a story about the lengths many Latinx parents go to in search of a better life, and the impact it has on their children.
Memorable quote: “Do you know why we clink glasses before drinking? It’s so that all the five senses are involved. We touch the glass. We smell the drink. We see its color. We taste it. Hearing is the only sense that doesn’t participate unless we create it.”
This charming dramedy about a Mexican American chef living with his three adult daughters takes you for some delicious twists and turns as each family member tries to figure out what they want. First, there’s Leticia (Elizabeth Peña), a born-again Christian with a crush she’s not sure how to pursue. Then there’s Carmen (Jacqueline Obradors), who’s been ignoring her dreams for far too long. And finally, there’s Maribel (Tamara Mello), who moves in with her new boyfriend on a whim, only to find it’s not quite what she was looking for. Even Martin (Héctor Elizondo) finds himself in a love triangle. In short, there’s a lot going on, and you’ll love it all. While it’s not an outright comedy, Tortilla Soup is a great watch for families who can appreciate the nuances of difficult family conversations served with a side of laughs.
Memorable quote: “Ancestors, please help us understand who wants to harm us.”
There’s possibly nothing more terrifying than the Latin American myth of La Llorona—the cursed, wailing woman who can’t rest because she lost (or, in some incarnations of the story, killed) her children. And this subtitled Guatemalan horror film directed by Jayro Bustamante amps up the terror and gives it a twist. It centers on former Guatemalan dictator and war criminal Enrique Monteverde (based on actual dictator Efraín Ríos Montt) as he’s haunted by the ghosts of his victims. Just be aware that La Llorena is a thought-provoking slow burn, as opposed to a traditional horror film, but it’s one that will stay with you.
John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons
Memorable quote: “As a Latin man, you can’t get angry, ’cause Homeland Security, the f— INS or the police could decide you’re a threat, and the next person to be shot or deported could be you or me. ‘Cause Latin life is cheap in America.”
The film version of Colombian American actor John Leguizamo’s one-man Broadway show is worth a watch, especially for those who know little about the history of Latin America. While not meant to be your only education on the subject, it breaks down some important moments in Hispanic history with plenty of laughs and heart. Leguizamo uses personal anecdotes to explore myths about Latin America (no, Columbus didn’t “discover” anything), as well as the role Latinx folks have played since America’s founding (such as how they’ve fought in every American war). While Leguizamo is the only one on screen, delivering monologues and acting out scenes, there’s never a dull moment.
Memorable quote: “We don’t talk about Bruno!”
This Disney hit focuses on young Mirabel, who comes from an enchanted family where each member has a special gift except for her. But when the family’s magic is threatened, Mirabel steps up to find a way to save them. This kid-friendly favorite is sure to become yours as well, thanks, in part, to the catchy tunes on the movie soundtrack by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Nope, you won’t be able to get “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” out of your head for weeks, but you truly won’t mind.
Like Water for Chocolate
Memorable quote: “If you couldn’t marry the woman you love, and the only solution to be near her was to marry her sister, wouldn’t you do the same?”
Based on the novel written by Laura Esquivel, this romantic movie stars Lumi Cavazos as Tita, a young woman forbidden to marry the man she loves, Pedro, because tradition dictates that the youngest daughter in the family must care for her mother instead of getting married. But Pedro still wants to be close to her, so he marries her older sister, Rosaura. Yep, it’s complicated, but trust us when we say you’ll be obsessed with the characters’ longing and passion. Like Water for Chocolate became the highest-grossing foreign-language film in the United States when it was released, and it was nominated for a Golden Globe and won 10 Ariel Awards.
Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado
Memorable quote: “Walter Mercado is a force of nature without beginnings and endings. He used to be a star, but now, Walter is a constellation.”
This documentary is about the life and impact of popular Puerto Rican, gender-bending astrologer Walter Mercado, who doled out horoscopes every afternoon on Spanish-language television from the 1970s through the early aughts. The film sheds light on the reclusive Mercado, including the real reason he abruptly disappeared from the limelight. Featuring never-before-seen interviews with the late star, as well as his more notable fans (including Raúl de Molina, Jorge Ramos and Lin-Manuel Miranda), Mucho Mucho Amor is an adoring look into Mercado’s often mysterious personal life.
Stand and Deliver
Memorable quote: “You already have two strikes against you: your name and your complexion. Because of those two strikes, there are some people in this world who will assume that you know less than you do.”
Stand and Deliver is one of the most beloved Latinx films of all time and a classic ’80s movie. It’s based on the true story of Jamie Escalante (Edward James Olmos), a Bolivian American math teacher who motivated the struggling students at his largely Latinx school in the early 1980s to pass their AP calculus exams. When the students do “too well” on the exam, they’re accused of cheating, and Escalante helps them fight back against a racist system and believe in themselves. It’s an inspiring tale that still holds up.
Memorable quote: “It could be the last day of your life.”
Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu’s directorial debut remains one of his best movies. Amores Perros weaves together the stories of those involved in a car accident in Mexico City—including a model, a teen involved in dogfighting and a hit man. Each person’s story unfolds before and after the accident takes place, and we see the catastrophic impact it has on their lives (similar to other Iñarritu films, such as Babel). The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and remains a critics’ favorite.
Y Tu Mamá También
Memorable quote: “Life is like the surf, so give yourself away like the sea.”
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, this enthralling and often racy flick follows the adventures of two 17-year-old boys and a 20-something woman, as they take a road trip at a time of political strife. There’s lots of youthful indiscretions, arguments among friends and sexy moments—exactly what you might picture on a road trip with three beautiful young people. You’ll see some familiar faces in this Hispanic movie: namely a very young Diego Luna (Andor, Narcos) and Gael Garcia Bernal (The Motorcycle Diaries, Mozart in the Jungle).
Nothing Like the Holidays
Memorable quote: “I’m going to be the only Puerto Rican grandmother who’s gonna have to adopt grandchildren.”
In this comedy about a Puerto Rican family coming together for Christmas in Chicago, each character has their own story to tell. Jesse (Freddy Rodriguez) is assimilating back to civilian life after a stint in Iraq. Roxanna (Vanessa Ferlito) is an actress waiting on a potential TV deal. And Mauricio (John Leguizamo) is a lawyer who’s too busy to start a family, much to the chagrin of his mother. They’re all trying to get through the day unscathed, but a few surprise revelations throw a wrench into that plan. Don’t worry, though: This Christmas movie has plenty of jokes, so it never gets too dark.
Memorable quote: “We have to be more Mexican than the Mexicans and more American than the Americans, both at the same time! It’s exhausting!”
This movie about the life and death of Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, one of the most beloved Chicana singers of all time, also propelled the career of Jennifer Lopez. In the biopic, we follow Selena’s journey from a young girl who doesn’t even speak Spanish to a young woman with ambition and talent, with her manager-father by her side helping her to become a star. Of course, there are some complications along the way, even before Selena’s shocking murder. Written and directed by Gregory Nava, Selena was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry due to its importance within the Latinx community.
Beatriz at Dinner
Memorable quote: “All tears flow from the same source.”
In Beatriz at Dinner, Puerto Rican director Miguel Arteta gives viewers what is essentially the most uncomfortable dinner conversation ever. Salma Hayek plays Beatriz, an immigrant working in Los Angeles as a healer for the well-to-do. She is invited to a meal at the house of one of her affluent clients, where she’s faced with the same kind of ignorance many immigrants face but don’t always have recourse to fight against. During the course of the evening, Beatriz is pushed by xenophobic comments and worse, until the tensions comes to a surprising conclusion. Sharply funny and smart, this satire will make you cringe and think.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Memorable quote: “This is a golden poison tree frog! Can you say ‘extreme neurotoxicity’?”
Many of us grew up watching Dora the Explorer (or showing the popular cartoon to our kids). In this live-action film, Dora is a sweet but socially awkward teenager (played by Peruvian American actress Isabela Merced) navigating life at a high school in Los Angeles after spending years searching for treasures in the jungle with her parents. But when she finds out her parents have gone missing while searching for the hidden Inca city Parapata, she has a new mission in mind. With the help of her pet monkey Boots (voiced by Benicio del Toro), her cousin Diego and a few new friends, it’s even more entertaining than it sounds.
The Book of Life
Memorable quote: “The world keeps spinning, and the tales keep turning, and people come and people go, but they’re never forgotten.”
Nominated for a Golden Globe, a Critics’ Choice Award and numerous others, this sweet, animated romance brought the concept of Día de los Muertos to the big screen before Coco. The Book of Life follows Manolo, a young man who makes a bet with another man (Joaquin) while competing for the affections of a woman named Maria. But when La Muerte (Death, and the ruler of the Land of the Remembered) and Xibalba (who rules the land of the Forgotten) catch wind of this, they come up with their own bet. If Maria chooses Manolo, Xibalba promises not to interfere in mortal affairs. If she chooses Joaquin, Xibalba will swap realms with La Muerte. But when Xibalba meddles to get his way, things get way more complicated in this funny and engaging film.
Memorable quote: “We are alone. No matter what they tell you, we women are always alone.”
Director Alfonso Cuarón’s 2018 film follows a year of ups and downs in the life of Cleo, a Mixteca housekeeper working for a family in early 1970s Mexico City. This semi-autobiographical movie won three Academy Awards (Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Foreign Language Film), 10 Ariel Awards, four BAFTAs, two Golden Globes and a slew of others. Indigenous Mexican actress Yalitza Aparicio was also nominated for and won several awards as a brand-new star. The film is slow paced, often beautiful, but ultimately difficult to watch given the struggles Cleo faces, including an unintended pregnancy.
Raising Victor Vargas
Memorable quote: “You’re so easy to see through, it’s embarrassing.”
This coming-of-age film follows an overly confident teen named Victor Vargas (Victor Rasuk), who lives with his siblings and strict grandmother in a small apartment in New York’s Lower East Side. Problems arise after he’s found in the bedroom of a local girl who’s perceived as less than desirable, and he tries to woo a popular girl named Judy to better his image. Critics loved Raising Victor Vargas for its authentic portrayals of teen life, and you’ll surely find plenty to relate to in this honest film, like many of the best teen books beloved by adults.
Maria Full of Grace
Memorable quote: “We have to get out of here.”
This intense drama about a Colombian teen who becomes a mule for drug smugglers to find a better life will have you holding your breath the entire time. Catalina Sandino Moreno, who plays Maria, does a phenomenal job and was the first actor ever to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a role that was fully in Spanish. Maria Full of Grace also won a number of other awards, including a Silver Bear at the 54th Berlin Film Festival and an Audience Award at Sundance.
Memorable quote: “My mom reckons I’m going to be a star. And stars don’t fall from the sky.”
One of the most well-known Hispanic movies of all time, this biopic tells the story of Chicano rock musician Ritchie Valens, who died in a plane crash along with Buddy Holly and “The Big Bopper” J.P. Richardson. It gives us a closer look at the rise of Valens (whose real name was Richard Steven Valenzuela) and how he went from being a self-taught teen musician to one of the most famous recording artists of the 1950s. In 2017, La Bamba was added to the National Film Registry of the U.S. Library of Congress for its cultural and historical significance.
West Side Story
Memorable quote: “You think I want to stay here? In this city full of ugly little animals like you? No gracias. Yo no soy Americana. Yo soy Puertorriqueña!”
This remake of the 1961 film was a smash at the box office and highly revered by critics. The story, about two rival gangs—the Sharks, led by Latinos, and the Jets, led by White teens—and the star-crossed lovers caught in between is a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet. While the 1961 film was also a success, Spielberg’s newer version does a much better job in terms of Latinx representation by casting Hispanic actors—Maria is played by Colombian American Rachel Zegler, and Ariana DeBose (a queer, Puerto Rican, Afro-Latina) won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Anita.
A Better Life
Memorable quote: “This country is a land of dreams. It can be a hard place, a cruel place. But it’s where I work, and I dream of a better place for my son.”
This film about the American Dream through the eyes of an undocumented man working as a gardener will fill you with rage and frustration. It provides an unflinching look at the realities that many immigrants without papers face regularly, from police harassment to an inability to seek help from authorities in times of need. Mexican actor Demián Bichir earned an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Carlos, who has to do everything he can to recover his work truck, which symbolizes his hopes and dreams for his teenage son and was stolen from a work site.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Memorable quote: “That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero.”
While it may not have much in the way of a Latinx cast or crew (Miles Morales is played by Shameik Moore, who is of Jamaican heritage), Spider-Man himself and his family are Afro-Latino in this film, and that is a rare and welcome sight in a world largely composed of White superheroes. This animated film with an excellent soundtrack earned $375 million at the box office and even won an Academy Award and Golden Globe. If you love the feel of this movie, check out these graphic novels for kids too.
Memorable quote: “Once social change begins, it can’t be reversed. You can’t uneducate someone who’s learned how to read. You can’t humiliate someone who has pride. And you can’t oppress someone who is not afraid anymore.”
This inspirational biopic about the famous labor organizer depicts the internal struggles of one of the most important Latinx civil-rights activists of our time. It explores what drove him to become an activist and the impact it had on his marriage and family. Showcasing the real struggles of underpaid immigrant laborers, it’s worth watching and sharing to better understand some of the issues that still persist today. The all-star cast includes Michael Peña as Cesar Chavez, America Ferrera as his wife, Helena Chavez, and Rosario Dawson as Dolores Huerta, another notable Latina activist.
Lucy and Desi
Memorable quote: “No one wanted him to play my husband because he was Cuban and they wanted a real ‘American’ couple.”
While this documentary is partly about Lucille Ball, it’s also heavily focused on Desi Arnaz, one of the most famous Cuban actors of all time, who costarred in one of America’s most beloved sitcoms. Directed by Amy Poehler, it depicts the struggles Arnaz and his Cuban family faced when they were exiled from their homeland after the Cuban revolution, as well as the lengths he went to to become a successful musician, actor and producer at a time when there were exceptionally few Latinos in Hollywood. Lucie Arnaz, Lucy and Desi’s daughter, also collaborated with Poehler on the project.
West Side Story (1961)
Memorable quote: “Come in, come in! We won’t bite—not till we know you better.”
OK, we still had to include the original West Side Story on our list of the best Hispanic movies. While it wasn’t as great about representation (for example, Maria is played by White actress Natalie Wood), it was still a major achievement as far as representation went back in the early 1960s, and it’s an important part of our Hispanic history in Hollywood. Plus, it gave us Rita Moreno, who was the first Latina ever to win an Academy Award (for her role as Anita).
Mosquita y Mari
Memorable quote: “It’s me and you for life.”
This bilingual coming-of-age film tells the tale of two Latina teens living in Los Angeles who become study partners and then start to have feelings for each other. It deftly explores the complex feelings behind being a first-generation Latinx kid and trying to come to terms with one’s sexuality—a topic that is rarely depicted in film, especially from a female perspective. This LGBTQ film was nominated for several awards, including at Sundance, the GLAAD Media Awards and the Spirit Awards, and it’s impossible not to fall in love with it.
Get Reader’s Digest’s Read Up newsletter for more entertainment, humor, cleaning, travel, tech and fun facts all week long.