It’s officially Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S., which means it’s a special time to further honor all the ways Hispanic and Latino Americans have influenced the nation with their culture and history.
During the dedicated Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 span, there are tons of ways to celebrate in your community, whether it be local events and festivals or workshops and discussions. But there’s also something simple you can do to appreciate their heritage right from your couch: By watching films and shows inspired by Hispanic or Latino language, stories and more.
Here are lists of five must-watch Hispanic heritage films on some of the top streaming services to help you immerse yourself into the vibrant celebration.
– “Roma:” A three-time Academy Award winner, “Roma” is a semi-autobiographical take on director Alfonso Cuarón’s upbringing, told through the eyes of a middle-class family’s live-in housekeeper in early-1970s Mexico City.
– “In the Heights:” This movie musical from Lin-Manuel Miranda is adapted from the 2005 Broadway musical of the same name. It tells the story of a corner in New York City where every member pursues their sueñitos, or little dreams, for a better life.
– “Güeros:” Set during the 1999 student strikes in Mexico City, “Güeros” follows three teenagers on a road trip to find a folk-rock star.
– “The Three Deaths of Marisela Escobedo:” This award-winning documentary follows a mother’s journey to get justice for her daughter’s murder after Mexico’s legal system fails to do so.
– “I’m No Longer Here:” The Mexican Spanish-language drama tells the story of a young man forced to leave his family and life in Mexico for New York City after a misunderstanding with a local cartel.
– “Encanto:” The Oscar-winning best animated feature follows a multi-generational Colombian family who use magical gifts from a miracle to help their community, until the magic seems to become endangered.
– “Coco:” Inspired by the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead, this Pixar flick follows a 12-year-old boy accidentally transported to the Land of the Dead, where he seeks his dead musician of a great-great-grandfather’s help in returning him to his life.
– “Gotta Kick It Up:” This classic Disney Channel Original Movie with the tagline chant, “Si, se puede,” is based on a true story of a Latina middle school dance team who find themselves and overcome societal obstacles through their group.
– “McFarland, USA:” Kevin Costner leads this American sports drama based on a true story from 1987 of a mainly Latino high school’s cross-country team’s state championship.
– “West Side Story:” Directed by Steven Spielberg, the second adaptation of the 1957 musical explores a love that fuels a rivalry between two teenage street gangs: the Sharks, recent Puerto Rican immigrants, and the Jets, who are White.
Amazon Prime Video
– “A Million Miles Away:” The life of José Hernández is detailed in this drama, from being a farm worker to becoming the first Mexican-American astronaut.
– “The Secret In Their Eyes:” The Argentine-Spanish film and 2010 Academy Award winner for best international feature follows a recently retired legal counselor who decides to write a novel based on a decades-old unresolved rape and murder case.
– “The Exterminating Angel:” Named in a “Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made” list by The New York Times, this film by Mexican director Luis Buñuel shares the story of a group of high-society aristocrats who find themselves mysteriously unable to leave a lavish dinner party. It appears free to rent on Prime Video.
– “City of God:” The four-time Academy Award nominee follows a young boy hoping to become a professional photographer living in a notorious slum in Rio de Janeiro. It also appears available to rent for free on Prime Video.
– “Before Night Falls:” This Oscar nominee journeys into the life and writings of Cuban author and exile Reinaldo Arenas, spanning from his rural childhood to later life as a gay man in Cuba. It’s free to watch with ads on Prime/Freevee.
– “Selena:” Atop many must-watch lists is this biopic about Tejano songbird Selena, starring Jennifer Lopez. It chronicles her rise to fame and sudden death when she was murdered at age 23.
– “La Ciénaga:” Selected as the greatest film of Argentine cinema in 2022, this internationally co-produced film portrays the life of a self-pitying Argentine bourgeois family .
– “Maria Full of Grace:” This HBO original was nominated for an Oscar for lead actress Catalina Sandino Moreno’s performance as a 17-year-old who accepts a job transporting drugs from Colombia to the U.S. to get more money for her family.
– “Real Women Have Curves:” This is the first Latina-directed film to be inducted into the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. It follows a first generation Mexican-American girl’s path to womanhood.
– “Stand and Deliver:” Based on a true story, this film starring Edward James Olmos tells the story of an inspirational teacher who motivates his East Los Angeles high school students to learn calculus despite critics questioning their smarts.