The Milagro Beanfield War
1988. Universal Pictures, MCA Home Video, Color, Aspect Ratio 1.85 : 1, 117 minutes, Rated R
Release Date: March 18, 1988
The Milagro Beanfield War is available at Amazon.com on DVD and VHS.
Movie Synopsis: When local New Mexican farmers water rights are threatened by a wealthy land developer and his political cronies, one Milagro farmer takes matters into his own hands, gaining support from some unexpected quarters with surprising results. ~Aimee
Cast: Ruben Blades, Sonja Braga, Richard Bradford, Julie Carmen, James Gammon, Melanie Griffith, John Heard, Daniel Stern, Chick Vennera, Christopher Walken, Freddy Fender
Director: Robert Redford
Thoughts on the Movie:
I love this movie. I first saw The Milagro Beanfield War while planning a move to Santa Fe from the East Coast. I had no idea at the time how accurate a portrayal it might be of life in a small village in Northern New Mexico. But I loved the high desert landscape, the charming and sometimes funny moments of the movie, and Ive always been a sucker for a reluctant hero tale.
This film is full of quirky, wonderful characters, some of my favorites being: Amorante, the oldest man in the village, who laments that Nobody knows how to talk to the angels anymore; his pig Lupita; the angel himself; numerous saints; and a graduate student from New York who befriends Amorante. Some have complained the mysticism and religion in this movie are heavy-handed, but in the small villages of Northern New Mexico, these are most definitely major players. And the wonderful feeling of the unseen at work; of milagro (miracle in Spanish) permeates this movie, complimented perfectly by the fantastic score by Dave Grusin. The Milagro Beanfield War always leaves me with a smile on my face. Definitely recommended. ~Aimee
Truchas, New Mexico (see Map)
Robert Redford chose this quaint and lovely Northern New Mexico community as the major location for The Milagro Beanfield War. Truchas is an old Hispanic settlement on the High Road to Taos. Once you reach Truchas (on State Highway 76), take the road to the right and you will enter the old village. The road there is narrow with houses and other buildings right up against the pavement. Passing all the way through town will take you onto a Forest Service road that goes several miles into Santa Fe National Forest and then dead ends.
Right: A charming scene from "The Milagro Beanfield War," shot in the beautiful and bucolic village of Truchas, in Northern New Mexico.
About Truchas, New Mexico:
Truchas, New Mexico (population 1,205, including the nearby village of Cordova; elevation 8,000 feet; 36° 2 37 N, 105° 48 40 W) is located on the High Road to Taos (on State Highway 76), approximately halfway between Santa Fe (to the south) and Taos (to the north).
Truchas was founded in 1754. The land that encompasses the community, which sits upon a high ridge, is commonly known as the Truchas Land Grant, gaining its name from the river that provides the water for irrigation of the land. Because the community has remained unchanged for so long, it still operates by many of the original Spanish land grant bylaws: for example, cars must share the roads with livestock. The community has beautiful views of both the Truchas Peaks (nearly 5,000 feet above) and the Espanola Valley (far below). Truchas is the spanish word for trout.
Right: The view as you enter Truchas, New Mexico, the location for the filming of Robert Redfords award-winning movie, The Milagro Beanfield War.
Lodging & Dining:
For Recommended Hotels, Motels and Lodges in Taos, see: Taos Lodging
For Recommended Hotels, Motels and Lodges in Santa Fe, see: Santa Fe Lodging
Dave Grusin won an Oscar for Best Music, Original Score.
Dave Grusin was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original ScoreMotion Picture.
In a scene at one of the local Milagro stores where John Heards character is dropping off his newspapers, a woman is shopping for Newmans Own salad dressing. The store owner tells her, Thats no good, buy something else; an obvious in-joke in which director Robert Redford kids his longtime friend and twice co-star, Paul Newman.
The film is based on the novel of the same name by John Nichols.
Right: Director Robert Redford (center) on location in Truchas, New Mexico, while filming "The Milagro Beanfield War."
Literally meaning miracle, a milagro is a charm or talisman, sometimes offered to a particular saint, and made in their image. Milagros are also made to represent animals, an affected part of the body, or an object. Often connected with specific prayers, these charms originated with the ancient Iberians who inhabited Spain. Milagros have been used extensively in Spain and the Americas for centuries, and are made from many different materials, depending on local customs. They can be flat or fully dimensional, and fabricated from gold, silver, tin, lead, wood, bone, or wax. They are often made as a charm, to be pinned to, or nearby the statue of a saint. In New Mexico, the majority of milagros take the form of small metal charms, and can be found adorning shrines and devotional niches. In recent times, milagros have evolved into charms used in jewelry which can be worn on the person, as an amulet, or purely as decoration. ~Aimee
Character Quote: What good is a hometown if everyone you know is gone? ~Ruby Archuleta (Sonja Braga)