35 Movies & TV Shows To Binge For Hispanic Heritage Month

From Selena starring Jennifer Lopez to telenovela adaptations like Ugly Betty and Jane the Virgin, here's what to watch to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month this September.

By Samantha Bergeson Sep 18, 2021 12:00 AMTags
Watch: "Jane the Virgin" Stars Gush Over Gloria Estefan Cameo

¡Ya es hora! That means "It's time" in Spanish, and it is indeed time to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, all September long. 

There are too many brilliant films and TV shows by Latinx and Hispanic auteurs to round up in one list, so we've narrowed it down to 35 things to watch to learn more about the American Latinx experience.

In an open letter signed by 270 Latinx TV and film writers, showrunners and creators in October 2020, stars like Lin-Manuel Miranda, John Leguizamo and One Day at a Time showrunner Gloria Calderón Kellett called for more on-screen representation both above and below the line. "While Latinx ​are ​18.3%​ ​of the U.S. population, we only make up 4.7% of feature writers and 8.7% of TV writers," the letter stated, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter"Inclusivity is not enough."

The statement called for "no stories about us, without us," as well as more producers to greenlight projects centered on Latinx history and storytelling.

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50 Fascinating Facts About Jennifer Lopez

As E!'s own Lilliana Vazquez explained about Hispanic Heritage Month last year, "I think it's more about creating awareness around the splendor of success and contributions that Latinos have made in many different fields."

The Daily Pop co-host added, "We have so much work to do because not only are we underrepresented in the images you see, but the images you see represent such a small portion of our population. We need to do a better job by showing more images and having more people on screen that identify and represent Black and African Latinx." 

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, E! News has compiled our favorite films, including Disney/Pixar's Coco and Real Women Have Curves, plus the best (and most bingeable) Latinx series like Vida and Selena: The Series. From documentaries on civil rights activist Cesar Chavez to classic Jennifer Lopez movies and Oscar-winner Roma, see our picks for what to watch. 

Selena

Jennifer Lopez cemented her title as a triple threat in 1997 biographical film Selena, based on the life and career of Tejano superstar Selena Quintaniilla-Pérez who was murdered at age 23 in 1995. With Edwards James Olmos and Constance Marie co-starring, Selena still remains an acclaimed film more than 20 years later.

Watch Selena on Peacock.

 

Selena: The Series

The real-life Quintanilla family is involved in Netflix's Selena: The Series starring Christian SerratosSelena's sister, Suzette is an executive producer. 

Watch Selena: The Series on Netflix.

Jane the Virgin

Beloved Netflix series Jane the Virgin had plenty of tears, twists and turns (and weddings and babies) over its five seasons. Gina Rodriguez won an Emmy for playing Jane, a woman who becomes pregnant seemingly due to immaculate conception. Cue up a steamy love triangle and an adorable matriarchy in this adaptation of a Venezuelan telenovela. 

Spy Kids

Before you laugh at its inclusion, Spy Kids is not just a classic 2000s childhood nostalgia trip, it's also a benchmark for Latinx representation in high-concept films. Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino star as international spies, whose two kids follow in their espionage-loving footsteps. Looking back exactly 20 years after its release, the on-screen multicultural family is a boundary breaker. Good thing a reboot is reportedly in the works with director Robert Rodriguez returning.

Watch Spy Kids on Hulu.

Real Women Have Curves

America Ferrera's debut in this 2002 coming-of-age dramedy is about a young woman who learns to embrace her body and her heritage while balancing her ambitions of going to college and pressure from her mother to have children and oversee the family's textile factory in East Los Angeles. 

Watch Real Women Have Curves on HBO Max.

De Lo Mio

Independent film De Lo Mio wowed during the festival circuit in 2019 before finding a home at HBO. Telling the story of three Dominican siblings after their father dies, the day-in-the-life film challenges what it means to be a multicultural American and captures the beauty of returning home. Héctor AníbalSasha Merci and Darlene Demorizi star in this moving masterpiece.

Watch De Lo Mio on HBO Max.

Pain and Glory

Antonio Banderas plays a film director who reflects on his life choices in the somber 2019 Oscar-nominated film, written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar. The 2019 film was also critically acclaimed for Penélope Cruz's performance as the failed director's muse.

Watch Pain and Glory on Amazon Prime Video.

15: A Quinceañera Story

Four short films follow five girls from different cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds as they all prepare to celebrate their quinceañeras, or 15th birthdays.

Watch 15: A Quinceañera Story on HBO Max.

 

Frida

Salma Hayek stars as Frida Kahlo in the 2022 biopic, Frida and Alfred Molina co-starred as her husband, Diego Rivera. The film landed Hayek a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her portrayal of the famous painter. 

Watch Frida on Amazon Prime Video.

On My Block

Netflix series On My Block centers on four friends navigating high school in South Central Los Angeles. From gang encounters to love triangles, the coming-of-age show spotlights rising talent. 

Watch On My Block on Netflix.

 

Roma

Alfonso Cuarón's autobiographical Oscar-winning 2018 film captures his upbringing in the Colonia Roma neighborhood of Mexico City through the eyes of his nanny, played by Yalitza Aparicio

Watch Roma on Netflix.

The Motorcycle Diaries

The 2004 film dramatizes a motorcycle road trip taken by Che Guevara, played by Gael García Bernal. Based on Guevara's memoir, The Motorcycle Diaries follows the life-changing experience that led to the Argentine revolutionary's vision. 

Watch The Motorcycle Diaries on Peacock.

Coco

Gael García Bernal, Benjamin BrattEdward James OlmosAnthony Gonzalez and Alanna Ubach lend their voices to the heart-wrenching Disney/Pixar film Coco, about a young boy in a fictional Mexican village who dreams of becoming a famous musician like his idol. An accidental trip to the Land of the Dead during Día de los Muertos makes for a moving coming-of-age tale about learning from our elders. 

Watch Coco on Disney+.

The Baby-Sitters Club

Netflix's reboot of The Baby-Sitters Club returns with its second season on Monday, Oct. 11. Based on author Ann M. Martin's books, the series stars Sophie GraceMalia BakerMomona TamadaShay Rudolph and Kyndra Sanchez, with new cast members Vivian Watson and Anais Lee joining the diverse tween gang.

Watch The Baby-Sitters Club on Netflix.

Diary of a Future President

Gina Rodriguez and Tess Romero star in Disney+'s Diary of a Future President about a young Cuban-American girl who is determined to govern America.

Watch Diary of a Future President on Disney+.

Mucho Mucho Amor

The 2019 documentary Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado follows the gender non-conforming astrologer who captivated millions of Latinx viewers over the years. In the doc, Lin-Manuel MirandaRaul de Molina and Willy Acosta share their memories of the upbeat TV personality.

Watch Mucho Mucho Amor on Netflix.

One Day at a Time

Rita Moreno wows in Pop TV's One Day at a Timea Latinx reimagining of the Norman Lear sitcom. The series tackled racism, LGBTQ+ rights and immigration during its four seasons. Star Isabella Gomez told E! News in 2018 that the series is "very satisfying" for representation. "To be able to live with a family, especially a family like this family that's underrepresented right now—a good, Latino, hard-working immigrant family that's making good in America—we feel it's more important than ever given this current climate to show what that looks like in a real way," Gomez said. "These are good, hard-working people that are good Americans."

Watch One Day at a Time on Netflix.

Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup follows a Mexican-American master chef who loses his taste for food but relishes in life as a father to three daughters.

Watch Tortilla Soup on Amazon Prime Video.

Roswell, New Mexico

Michael Vlamis and So You Think You Can Dance champion Jeanine Mason lead this rebooted supernatural Netflix series about a small town in New Mexico where aliens live in secret. 

Watch Roswell, New Mexico on Netflix.

Ugly Betty

Want to know our dream cast? Look no further than Ugly Betty, based on Fernando Gaitán's Colombian telenovela Yo soy Betty, la fea. With America Ferrera playing fish-out-of-water Betty in the cutthroat New York City fashion magazine industry, and Judith Light and Vanessa Williams playing her sophisticated counterparts, it's clear why the ABC drama was a fan favorite for four seasons.

Watch Ugly Betty on Disney+. 

La Mission

Bay Area native Benjamin Bratt teamed up with his writer-director brother Peter Bratt for 2012 film La Mission, set in the Mission District of San Francisco. A single-parent ex-con (Benjamin Bratt) confronts cultural norms when his son comes out as gay.

 

Watch La Mission on Amazon Prime Video.

Vida

Starz's Vida is a breakout hit about two estranged sisters who are forced to move back home to Los Angeles after the death of their mother. Turns out their mom may not have been who she seemed. 

Watch Vida on Hulu.

 

Cesar's Last Faast

This 2014 documentary premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, spotlighting never-before-seen footage of Cesar Chavez's last protest in 1988. The civil rights activist kicked off his "Fast for Life" with a 36-day water-only hunger strike to draw attention to the effects of pesticides on farmworkers and their communities. 

Watch Cesar's Last Fast on Amazon Prime Video.

Devious Maids

Actress-producer Eva Longoria has been an advocate for bringing Latinx stories to the forefront, with series like Grand Hotel and Devious Maids adapted for ABC. The soap opera Devious Maids reunited Longoria with Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry to tell the deliciously salacious story of four Latina maids who get entangled in the scandalous lives of their employers in Beverly Hills. 

Watch Devious Maids on Hulu.

The Baker and the Beauty

A baker (Victor Rasuk) falls for an international superstar (Nathalie Kelley) in this Latinx adaptation of the Israeli romantic-comedy series of the same name. 

Watch The Baker and the Beauty on Hulu.

The Sentence

Filmmaker Rudy Valdez turned the camera on his own family to show the aftermath of his sister Cindy Shank's 15-year sentence for conspiracy charges related to crimes committed by her deceased ex-boyfriend. This moving documentary premiered in 2018 at the Sundance Film Festival.

Watch The Sentence on Amazon Prime Video.

Grand Hotel

Eva Longoria produced this vacation-based dramedy about the inner workings of a family-run hotel in Miami. Demián Bichir and Roselyn Sanchez lead the talented ensemble cast.

Watch Grand Hotel on Hulu.

The Infiltrators

Based on true events, filmmaker Alex Rivera's The Infiltrators follows a group of undocumented Dreamers who are deliberately detained by Border Patrol to infiltrate a for-profit detention center and uncover the illegal practices inside.

Watch The Infiltrators on Amazon Prime Video.

Party of Five

Yes, it's a new take on the 1990s hit series. But, this time, the five Acosta kids are not orphaned: Their parents are deported to Mexico.

Watch Party of Five on Hulu.

Stand and Deliver

Lou Diamond Phillips and Edward James Olmos star in this Oscar-nominated 1988 film about a teacher trying to make a difference. 

Watch Stand and Deliver on Amazon Prime Video.

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