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"If God didn't want them sheared he would not have made them sheep."

A subset of the Outlaw in The Wild West, with a Mexican flavor. Most often found in stories set in Mexico or near the border in New Mexico or Texas.

Stereotypically, the bandito has a thick Mexican accent, wears a sombrero and poncho or serape, and in later time periods a bandolier of ammunition. A thick mustache is common, but not mandatory. Many Banditos are designed after the real-life Bandito and Revolutionary general Pancho Villa.

Usually the villains of a Western, but if portrayed sympathetically will have a Robin Hood code of honor, or be revolutionaries fighting against the corrupt government.

As with the outlaw, the bandito often overlaps with The Gunslinger and Cowboy roles, with the latter being called vaqueros. A bandito might also use a knife or lariat and is often Trigger-Happy. Sombrero Equals Mexican usually applies to banditos.

Note that bandito is the English spelling. In Spanish it is bandido. In a similar case, we get desperado from the Spanish desesperado.


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  • Because Mexicans were easy targets, Frito-Lay had the Frito Bandito as a commercial mascot at one point.

    Comic Books 
  • Multiple times in Bat Lash, Bat crosses paths with the flamboyant and comical Mexican bandit Sergio (an Author Avatar of series writer Sergio Aragonés). And every time they meet, Sergio somehow manages to make Bat's complicated life even more complicated.
  • Jonah Hex's greatest recurring foe, El Papagayo, is a flamboyant bandito leader with a parrot.
  • Naturally, Lucky Luke has a few of these, from the murderous crook Pedro Cucaracha to the head honcho of a band of kidnappers, Don Emilio Espuelas.
  • A Man Called Frank (The Punisher in the Wild West) has Frank take on a job preventing rustlers from stealing his employer's cattle. One night, he violently interrupts the boss' Number Two handing over cattle with Mexican revolutionaries, and runs back to the ranch, where it turns out the boss was in on the deal. Then the Mexicans (who think they're been double-crossed) attack, just as Frank recognizes the Number Two as the man who'd murdered his family.
  • A People's History of the American Empire features an unusual portrayal that is both heroic and not Mexican: the historical Nicaraguan revolutionary Augusto Sandino. A brief biography of Sandino's life is given, with particular attention to his war against foreign capitalists and domestic corruption.

    Comic Strips 
  • El Toro and his bandit gang from the Modesty Blaise arc "A Few Flowers for the Colonel" are modern day banditos.

    Film — Animation 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In the Disney film The Apple Dumpling Gang, there was a single bandito among the otherwise homogeneous-white bad guys.
  • The main antagonists of Blindman are a group of Mexican bandits who are plotting to assassinate a general.
  • Volonte's character Chuncho in A Bullet for the General is a sort of Lovable Rogue type, who again redefined the archetype as a complex, sympathetic figure.
  • Several Banditos are part of Hedley Lamarr's army in Blazing Saddles.
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid had Mexican banditos in Bolivia (reportedly, you can tell by the accents).
  • Day of the Evil Gun: The Faux Affably Evil Jose Luis Gomez de la Tierra y Cordoba DeLeon leads a bandito gang who deal with the Apaches, including buying slaves of them.
  • The bandits in Django.
  • A rather pathetic bandito gang—who have only two horse and two guns between the five of them—attempt to ambush Sam and Wally on their way out of Mexico in Draw!.
  • El Indio (Gian Maria Volonté) of For a Few Dollars More cranks up the worst traits of the bandito. A drug-addicted Large Ham who stalks women, murders families, rigs duels, and takes trophies from his victims, he spends most of the film in an opium-induced haze, while plotting to use Monco and Colonel Mortimer to do his dirty work, wiping out his gang and leaving all the money from his robberies for him. In a departure from some of the stereotypes of the time, he was easily as smart, or smarter, than the film's protagonists.
  • Juan Miranda and his band of outlaws from Leone's A Fistful of Dynamite are also worth a mention.
  • The Rojo brothers of A Fistful of Dollars are banditos-turned-bootleggers, who sell alcohol on both sides of the border, and have an ugly rivalry with the Baxters, a family of white-collar American gunrunners. While two of the brothers are absolutely stereotypical, Ramon (also Gian Maria Valonte) subverts it somewhat by being totally evil, but very bright.
  • Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez (known as "The Rat") of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, re-invented the Bandito character and set the trend for the "lovable underdog" variation of the trope.
  • In Go West, Young Lady, Killer Pete dresses and talks like a bandito, but he is actually an Anglo in disguise.
  • An inept gang of these are among those targeting a Texas bank in The Great Bank Robbery.
  • Hannie Caulder: Price and Hannie travel to Mexico to have gunsmith Bailey build her a specialized revolver, to be a fast draw specialist. When bandidos surround the house, a gun battle erupts but Hannie is unable to kill a man face to face.
  • Calvera and his band of outlaws in The Magnificent Seven (1960).
  • Cheyenne in Once Upon a Time in the West is a particularly sympathetic example.
  • Revolutionary banditos make up one of the bad guy groups in the movie The Professionals.
  • ¡Three Amigos!, as a parody of The Magnificent Seven (1960) has an Expy of Calvera as its main antagonist.
  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre would give us our page quote, if we needed one.
  • At the start of The War Wagon, Levi Walking Bear is riding with a bandito gang on the border. When Taw and Lomax arrive to recruit, they discover they have to rescue him from the banditos.
  • One of the most absurd casting decisions of all time has Humphrey Bogart playing a Mexican bandito in Virginia City, complete with pencil mustache and terrible accent.
  • The Wild Bunch has examples of both. On the villain side, we have Mapache, the primary villain and his army of bandits. On the (anti-)heroic side, we have Angel, one of the Bunch.
  • In Yellow Hair and the Fortress of Gold, Flores and his band of comancheros are a gang of banditos working for Colonel Torres.
  • Filpino "goon" actors Paquito and Romy Diaz, Max Alavrado, and their contemporaries made entire careers out of playing the Filipino equivalent, and typically had the perfect matching mustaches to boot.

  • In the Ben Snow story "The Trail of the Golden Cross", Ben fights to protect the cross from the bandito Zanja who turns out to be a gringo and his gang.
  • Banditos feature in several of J.T. Edson's novels. They play an especially prominent role in The Quest for Bowie's Blade.
  • Blood Meridian features a number of these, most notably Juan Miguel (or "John Mcgill") who rides with Glanton's men and also the gang that The Kid and Sproule encounter following the battle with the Comanches.
    When the lambs is lost in the mountain he said. They is cry. Sometime come the mother. Sometime the wolf.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A gang of these turns up in the Doctor Who serial "The War Games".
  • Frontier Circus: Ben and a group of stagecoach passengers are captured by a gang of banditos in "Naomi Champagne".
  • One of the most memorable Swedish Chef sketches on The Muppet Show involves the Chef about to make a lobster, before hearing a cavalry charge and his kitchen is invaded by Spanish-speaking lobster banditos.
  • Lucas McCain runs afoul of banditos in The Rifleman episode "The Vaqueros".
  • Subject of a gag in an episode of The Wild Wild West, wherein the Fastest Gun in the West, "Lighnin' McCoy", is eventually revealed to be one of these.
  • A 16-year-old Indiana Jones was captured by Mexican revolutionaries in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.
  • One such person holds up a train in the middle of 20th Century England in the "Bambi" episode of The Young Ones.


  • One of the Bart Brothers Outlaws in Cactus Canyon is Bandelero Bart, complete with thick Mexican accent.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Crazy Rudy and Bandido, better known as "Bad Guys", who make mischief in WWC, New Wrestling Stars, World Wrestling Stars, and IWA Puerto Rico.
  • Bandita of Wrestlicious, the manager of Bull Fighter Maria Toro

  • The Very World of Milton Jones has an episode where Milton somehow ends up freeing a Mexican village of these. They finally go away when Milton makes them rich by cutting one's arm off, thus making him a one-armed bandit. Admittedly a radio comedy, but the accents and behaviours are very much there.


    Video Games 
  • In 1866: A Mount & Blade Western, there are several factions of them (the minor scalphunters faction, as well as a random number of the bandit armies, refered as "X Banda"), and any party deserter party counting an important number of soldiers from the Mexico faction (or from the Bandas) fits this trope. Peyote Pablo is a hirable stoned bandito. Also, the mod allows to hire prisoners and to choose which type of soldiers (American army, American lawmen, American outlaws, Mexican army, Mexican outlaws, Comanche, Apache) can be recruited in the settlements owned by the player. This and the possibility to play as a outlaw allows a player to lead a full bandito party.
  • Renegados, Pistoleros and Comancheros appear as mercenaries and treasure guardians in Age of Empires III.
  • BioShock has ammo vending machines with a cartoon/period picture of a bandito's masked face, which spouts recorded messages with an outrageously thick accent. "¡Bienvenidos al Ammo Bandito!"
  • Juarez's gang (including himself) in Call of Juarez and Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood.
  • Desperados features a lots of banditos as mooks. The playable character Sanchez (who begins the game as the designated antagonist) is himself a stereotypical one.
  • Indiana Jones and His Desktop Adventures has these as human enemies (other than Nazis). Some of them are the typical sombrero-wearin', ammo bandolier-toting moustached guys, while others go without hats.
  • Outlaws: has "Spittin'" Jack Sánchez.
  • Part of Red Dead Redemption takes place in Mexico, where the protagonist contends with both banditos and revolutionaries.
    • The player can also get a bandito outfit.
  • There were few of them in Red Dead Revolver.
  • The fourth outlaw in Wild Gunman contrasts the other, more stereotypically "cowboy"-looking gunslingers by being pretty short and sporting a large white poncho and matching sombrero.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation