The Mambo Kings

1992 film by Arne Glimcher / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Mambo Kings is a 1992 musical drama film based on the 1989 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos. The film was directed and produced by Arne Glimcher, and stars Armand Assante, Antonio Banderas, Cathy Moriarty and Maruschka Detmers. Set in the early 1950s, the story follows Cesar (Assante) and Nestor Castillo (Banderas), brothers and aspiring musicians who find success and stardom after fleeing from Havana, Cuba to New York City to escape danger. The film marks Glimcher's directing debut, and features Banderas in his first English-language role.

Quick facts: The Mambo Kings, Directed by, Screenplay by, ...
The Mambo Kings
Theatrical release poster
Directed byArne Glimcher
Screenplay byCynthia Cidre
Based onThe Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
by Oscar Hijuelos
Produced by
CinematographyMichael Ballhaus
Edited byClaire Simpson
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release dates
  • February 7, 1992 (1992-02-07) (MIFF)
  • February 28, 1992 (1992-02-28) (United States)
Running time
104 minutes
CountriesUnited States
Budget$15.5 million[2]
Box office$6.7 million[3]

Glimcher acquired the film rights one year before the novel was published and hired Cynthia Cidre to write the script. The film was rejected by several studios, and after an unsuccessful pre-production at Universal Pictures, the project moved to Warner Bros. The production was allocated a budget of $15.5 million jointly financed by Warner Bros., Le Studio Canal+ and Regency Enterprises. The film was shot on location in Los Angeles, California, with principal photography beginning in March 1991, and concluding after 50 days.

The Mambo Kings premiered at the Miami International Film Festival on February 7, 1992. It opened in limited release on February 28, 1992 and grossed $6.7 million during its North American theatrical run. Critical reaction was mostly positive, with reviewers praising Glimcher's direction, the story, music and visuals. The film received Oscar, Golden Globe Award and Grammy nominations for its original song "Beautiful Maria of My Soul".