The Milagro Beanfield War – Filtered

Theatrical Release: March 18, 1988
DVD Release: May 31, 2005


In Milagro, a small town in the American Southwest, Ladd Devine plans to build a major new resort development. While activist Ruby Archuleta and lawyer/newspaper editor Charlie Bloom realize that this will result in the eventual displacement of the local Hispanic farmers, they cannot arouse much opposition because of the short term opportunities offered by construction jobs. But when Joe Mondragon illegally diverts water to irrigate his bean field, the local people support him because of their resentment of water- use laws that favor the rich like Devine. When the Governor sends in ruthless troubleshooter Kyril Montana to settle things quickly before the lucrative development is cancelled, a small war threatens to erupt.

Dove Review

Robert Redford directed and did an outstanding job capturing contemporary Mexican life in “The Milagro Beanfield War”. The plot is a classic tale of good versus evil. The townsfolk are good people of Christian beliefs, with idealistic views. The laws of the land are unjust and favor the interests of large land developers over the common farmer. However Joe Mondragon, an eccentric handyman, is the one man who is willing to stand up to the powers that be and do the right thing. While tending his unlawfully irrigated bean field, Joe must shoot a man in self-defense and as a result is persecuted by the law. There are magical moments, and stories full of ghosts, legend and inspiration. Amarante, the village elder, associates with an angel named Coyote, and is counseled by saints. The violence prevents Dove from awarding this film its approval. This movie has several scenes that make it inappropriate for viewing by younger members of the household. There is the shooting of an elderly man and a pig by Joe, which albeit in self-defense, sets the authorities upon him. There are numerous scenes of excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages in bars and while celebrating in the beanfield. There is an excessive amount of gunplay present throughout the movie. At one point everyone in the community possesses a gun and buys bullets. Due to the excessive alcohol consumption and violence present in this movie, the Dove Foundation does not recommend “The Milragro Beanfield War”, as a family friendly film.

Content Description

Faith: None
Integrity: None
Sex: Unmarried man and woman kiss passionately.
Language: None
Violence: Gun play, simultaneous shooting of man and pig.
Drugs: Alcohol beverages were consumed.
Nudity: None
Other: Angels communicate with mad village elder.


Company: Universal Pictures
Writer: John Nichols and David S. Ward
Director: Robert Redford
Producer: Robert Redford
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 117 min.
Starring: Rubén Blades, Richard Bradford, Sonia Braga
Reviewer: Lynda C. Rush