Cocaine Cowboys

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Released 2006

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Movie Summary

Director:
Billy Corben
Released:
2006
Rating:
R
Cocaine Cowboys is a documentary film documenting the rise of the cocaine trade in Miami during the 1970s and 80s and how the influx of drugs and money brought along a wave of violence that made Miami one of the most dangerous cities in the world, told by those who made it happen like big-time drug smuggler John Roberts and hitman Jorge Ayala. The movie effectively splices local news pieces from the period, recreations of events and interviews with those in the drug trade, police and average citizens who can attest to the change in Miami. As the drug trade became more lucrative, violence between rivals cartels escalated to unbeknownst levels. The brazen ruthlessness of those doing the hits earned them the nickname “cocaine cowboys”, as they would indiscriminately fire at anyone in sight during broad daylight. The documentary also takes an unflinching look at the cocaine trade’s affect on the development of Miami, noting that many industries such as luxury items and high-rise condominiums were a direct result of the influx of cocaine money. A sequel to the documentary, Cocaine Cowboys 2, was released in 2008 and focuses on the infamous “Cocaine Queen” Griselda Blanco.moreless

Metacritic Score

  • 70

    Variety Ronnie Scheib

    A rogues gallery of flamboyant gangsters paint an anecdote-rich portrait of the drug trade, while a steady stream of cops, coroners and crime reporters furnish social commentary.

  • 60

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    In a sense it's a shame that Cocaine Cowboys is so obsessed by violence, because the film has interesting points to make.

  • 30

    The New York Times Jeannette Catsoulis

    Cocaine Cowboys is a tabloid headline, a movie as oppressive and inarticulate as the lives it represents.

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Categories

Documentary

Themes

facing danger, Crime & Conspiracy, Culture, drug trafficking, drug addiction