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I love to celebrate Costa Rican culture and heritage with my children- and movies are a great way to do so. This list of Latino movies you’ll love will help you get in the mood for the best Hispanic Heritage Month yet! Plus, I’ve got all the snacks you’ll need to celebrate, like our favorites from Marinela. (This is a sponsored post.)
Do you know what most reminds me of childhood in Costa Rica? Little packs of cookies. Everyone has them in their kitchen cabinets because they are inexpensive, have a long shelf life, and everyone loves them. I can’t tell you how many times we visit friends and family members back home and our girls are offered cookies and hot tea or cold juice to enjoy while the adults chat.
Like most bilingual and bicultural parents I’m always trying to figure out how to take the ordinary experiences in Costa Rica and make them into extraordinary experiences here in the United States.
But the easiest way to evoke memories of home is through food. That’s why I am proud to partner with Marianela and Walmart to bring you the ultimate list of Latino-themed movies to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
Whether or not you are a Latino family, watching movies that celebrate Hispanic heritage in an authentic way is a great way to learn about daily life for Latinos around the world.
And for those of us who want our children rooted in two cultures at the same time, a family movie night complete with snacks from Latin America is the perfect way to relax and enjoy family time while still celebrating our Latino heritage.
Many of the movies I am listing below can be viewed in either English or Spanish- so if not everyone in your family is fluent in the Spanish language, the family movie night is still lots of fun. If you want to really push the Spanish envelope, you can just switch the language input to Spanish.
What we like to do for family movie night is just what we did in Costa Rica growing up- grab a few of our favorite cookies, a warm drink (like chocolate caliente or té de manzanilla), some pillows and blankets, and our favorite movies.
My girls love the Marinela cookies because of the individual packets- for some reason, they love the autonomy of being able to open their own packet and enjoy the entire contents. And since the cookies are individually wrapped into reasonable portion sizes, I’m not worried about letting them choose their favorites. Plus it’s easy to find out favorites right at Walmart, which saves me a stop at the Hispanic grocery store. And right now, you can save on Marinela cookies with this link from Ibotta.
For this movie night we just put the following favorite cookies on a tray and settled in for a marathon!
- Marinela Barritas Pineapple Soft Filled Cookie
- Marinela Polvorons Orange Flavored Shortbread Cookies
- Marinela Barritas (Fresa) Strawberry
- Marinela Canelitas
Here are our favorite Hispanic movies for family movie night- grouped by age.
Latino Movies for Elementary School Age
These movies are perfect for kids ages 0-10. Our current obsession is definitely In The Heights! All of these movies are available to stream in both English and Spanish!
Elena and the Secret of Avalor
Elena, a teenage princess, must find her way as the new ruler of the kingdom of Avalor. Combines fantastical and mythical beasts with decisions Elena has to make about making the right choice in tough circumstances.
In the Heights
Usnavy, a Dominican bodega owner in Washington Heights explores what “home” means in the context of immigrant life. Do note there are some swear words in this, but the story is amazing, the soundtrack is excellent and the dancing is second to none.
An adorable story about the Spanish bull Ferdinand who escapes from his training camp because his father disappears after leaving with a matador. This movie gets a lot of laughs!
A gorgeous animated movie about the importance of family-centered around the main character Miguel who visits the Land of the Dead in order to find his real family. Read the Coco Movie Review here.
The Book of Life
A fun animated love triangle set in Mexico. Two boys want to marry the same girl- but the gods in the afterlife have another plan!
This movie just came out! Lin-Manuel Miranda plays a kinkajou on a mission to deliver a love song to his oldest friend.
Hispanic Movies For Middle School Kids
Each of these movies highlights a different Spanish-speaking country. These are great movies for home or use in the classroom.
Related post: 100 Spanish Language Resources For Bilingual Parents
This hilarious movie about Puerto Rican high school students rigging their class president elections is a lot of fun.
Under the Same Moon
After his mom leaves him with grandma in Mexico to pursue a better life for herself and her family, Carlos decides to follow her to the US to find her.
Adam Sandler’s self-absorbed wife hires Flor, a Mexican immigrant housekeeper. Tensions rise and fall as the families learn to love together.
Instructions Not Included
Mexican comedic Eugenio Derbez has to grow up fast when a former girlfriend leaves their son on his doorstep- never to be seen again.
Stand and Deliver
A Mexican American classic that everyone must-see. Based on a true story about a high school math teacher (Edward James Olmos) struggling- and finally triumphing- to teach his low-income students math.
Real Women Have Curves
A coming of age story about a young woman (America Ferrera) who wants to go away to college despite her parent’s protests. To appease them, she spends the summer working with her mother in the sewing factory before she makes her final decisions.
Yo soy Boricua pa’que tu lo sepas!
A documentary about Puerto Ricans living in New York City, this movie will teach you about Puerto Rican history and have you on your feet cheering at the same time. Directed by Rosie Perez.
A movie for every soccer fan. A young Mexican cook living in Los Angeles gets the chance of a lifetime- to play professional soccer in England.
High School Movies For Hispanic Heritage Month
A Honduran teenager embarks on the journey to the United States through Mexican via train. While on her trip she end up in the crosshairs of a gang conflict. This is a tough movie to watch but so good- better for older teens due to violence and language.
Maria Full of Grace
A young Colombian woman finds out she is pregnant and makes the decision to become a cocaine mule to the United States in order to make money to give her child a better life.
The Motorcycle Diaries
Based on the famous early journals of Che Guevara, this movie follows the trip through South America on a motorcycle. It’s an endearing, funny and eye-opening movie and I love it.
Salma Hayek plays Frida Kahlo from her teenage years until her death. Winner of an Academy Award (and rightfully so), the movie portrays Frida at her best and her worst. One of my favorites.
I saved the best for last! A Dominican baseball player is recruited to play in the United States. An endearing portrait of cultural acclimation, and one of my all-time favorite movies.
What did I miss? Is your favorite family movie listed here? If not, make sure to let me know what I missed in the comments below!
And don’t forget to bring Marinela cookies to your family movie night this Hispanic Heritage Month.
Welcome! I’m Christa, a former high school teacher married to a handsome Costa Rican and mother of two bilingual daughters. I love all things Spanish and bi-cultural, (especially travel and food!) and you’ll find my observations on life here. Thanks for stopping by