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Born in East L.A. is a 1987 comedy film written and directed by Cheech Marin, who also has the lead role as a Mexican-American who is mistaken for an illegal immigrant and deported to Mexico.


This movie provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: Of the music video.
  • Arc Words: "Waas sappening!"
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: To Rudy's mom anyway.
    Rudy's mom: After work, go pick up your cousin Javier.
    Rudy: Who's Javier?
    Rudy's mom: He's your cousin, dummy!
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • It seems as though Rudy was following the attractive redhead because he's trying to ask her out. Only to meet her at his workplace when she asks for her car.
    • Feo seems to be offering Rudy the job of electric chair executioner. He turns on the switch, the prisoner flinches in pain... then Rudy noticed he's sitting on the running tattoo needle he's been trying to find.
  • Brick Joke: Rudy got the name of the President (at the time) wrong. This was also in the song.
    Immigration officer: Who's the President of the United States?!
    Rudy: The guy who used to be on Death Valley Days, John Wayne.
    Officer: Get him out of here.
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    • Later:
    Jimmy: DO YOU WANNA JOB??
    Rudy: Doing what?
    Jimmy: Being the goddamn President of the United States! What do you think?!
    Rudy: Ronald Reagan!
    Jimmy: Huh?!
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the extended version, the money Rudy was supposed to deposit was used to save him and his new girlfriend Dolores from the Coyotes.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Rudy gave the orange cart to a poor family so they can sell them themselves. Later they showed up saving Rudy from the two guys (who demands $100 he owed Feo) beating him up by throwing oranges at them.
  • Citizenship Marriage: At the end, he manages to sneak back into the USA and hastily marries Dolores so she will not be deported - she lives in Mexico but is from El Salvador and risks being sent back there as she has had her ID stolen.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Jimmy
    "GODDAMN IT! GODDAMN YOU! SON OF BITCH I HATE THIS FUCKING LIFE!"
  • Covers Always Lie: Despite what the cover above would imply, not a single chihuahua was shown.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: There's a couple of gags where an especially attractive redheadnote  Latino woman (who was one of Cheech's garage customers in the movie) would literally make everyone else stop in their tracks and stare whenever she walked past. She makes a last appearance at the end of the film.
    • Later in the movie, Rudy was looking at a Mexican woman in a leopard-spotted dress swaying her hips.
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  • Dodge This!:
    Ex-employee: Pepe pays me twice as much!
    Jimmy: Then why don't you go work for Pepe?
    Ex-employee: Ah eat shit!
    Jimmy: (makes a flipping-off gesture with his arms) Eat this! Eat this!!
  • El Spanish "-o":
    • "You wanna wait outside? Outside-o."
    • "El stop-o! God damn-o!"
  • Excuse Plot: Rudy accidentally getting deported.
  • The Film of the Song: Which is a parody of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA".
  • Fish out of Water: A Latino-American with little understanding of Mexican culture is deported to his "home country" and experiences culture shock.
  • Foreshadowing: Rudy's mom rented the house across the street. In the alternate ending, the tenants were the Coyotes.
  • Groin Attack: More like Groin Grab.
    Little guy: You better give us the money, or you better give us somethiiiiing! (grabbing Rudy's crotch)
  • The Illegal: Parodied. The main character is merely mistaken for an illegal alien and tries to get back home to L.A. after he's deported.
  • Jerkass: The crooked immigration officer in a cowboy hat and sunglasses.
  • Mood-Swinger: Jimmy. Mostly during his introduction.
  • Motor Mouth:
    Rudy: First I went down to the factory to pick up my cousin, you know, I don't even know what he looks like, but my mother showed me a picture, and went to the factory to pick him up, and I won't lie to you but he's probably an illegal anyways, so anyway I went to look for him and he's not even there, and I was walking around the factory and all of a sudden the goddamn immigration raid, the guys came and busted in, and they think that I'm an illegal and grabbed me and threw me in the bus! And I want to complain about that officer right now, this guy was not only rude, he was degrading! So they put me in the bus and deported me, and so they bring me down here, so here I am and-- all I wanted to do is go home now, okay?
    Immigration worker: Well that's a real interesting story. Now would you mind repeating it to somebody as slow as I am can understand?
  • No, You: Doubles an Ironic Echo.
    Feo: Don't forget, brother. You owe us a $100.
    Rudy: (gives him the finger) Here's one of them: fuck you.
    Feo: The wrath of God will follow you, heathen!

    (after Rudy is in jail for trying to pass the border)
    Feo: Fuck me? No. Fuck you!
  • Oh, Crap!: Rudy tries to call home to get picked up. But just remembered his family went to Fresno.
  • One Steve Limit:
    Immigration worker: (reading a file on the computer) Guadalupe Rudolpho Roplez. Age 57. Arrested 3 times in San Diego, twice in Los Angeles, 3 times in Santa Ana. Once you made it all the way up to San Francisco. You sure like cities named after saints. Returned to Mexico, as an illegal alien 9 times, I think we'll make that 10.
    Rudy: What are you talking about?! 57! I'm not 57, and I don't care what your damn computer says!
  • Prelap: As a police officer drags Rudy for beating up a telephone booth, we hear Rudy screaming "Guard!", then we cut to Rudy in jail still calling for the guard.
  • Precision F-Strike: Rudy tends to say "shit" whenever he's angry.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Rudy drives a pink lowered Volkswagen to work.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!:
    Rudy: I wanna see your superior officer right now! I know my right!
    Immigration worker: Come and get this guy!
  • Those Two Bad Guys
  • Title Drop: Rusy says "I was born in East LA" twice in defiance of being called a Mexican.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The two guys who drove Rudy and the others back to East LA. They were last seen leaving the truck to look for another.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Dolores was angry at Rudy for coming late to her house for dinner and throws a tantrum at him. She was cut off when Rudy asked for something cold for his head, he explained that he got into a fight with the two guys from jail, and when he got away he got on the wrong bus and had to walk 5 miles. He apologizes though. She too apologizes for yelling at him, she felt disappointed he didn't come soon since she was pretty lonely living in Mexico.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Feo (which is Spanish for "ugly"). He must have been one ugly baby.
  • You Just Had to Say It:
    Rudy: Is there anything else? I like to eat my breakfast before it grows green hair on it!
    Rudy's mom: As a matter of fact, there is.
    Rudy: I had to ask.

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