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Nacho Libre is a 2006 comedy film directed by Jared Hess. It is a production of Nickelodeon Movies.The script was written by Jared Hess, Jerusha Hess, and Mike White. It was loosely based on the story of Fray Tormenta ("Friar Storm"), aka Rev. Sergio Gutiérrez Benítez, a real-life Mexicanmarker Catholic priest who had a 23-year career as a masked luchador. He competed in order to support the orphanage he directed. The producers are Jack Black, David Klawans, Julia Pistor, and Mike White.


Ignacio (Jack Black) is the son of a Lutheran missionary from Scandinavia and a deacon from Mexicomarker. They tried to convert each other but instead got married, then died while Ignacio was young. At the beginning of the film Ignacio is seen looking through his religious toys and books, and hidden inside his bible is a drawing of a masked wrestler titled Nacho. He steals various items (a table cloth, beads from a robe, a flower from a grave) and makes a wrestling costume. He briefly pretends to be a great wrestler but is caught by the monks and put to work in the kitchens as punishment for breaking the rules he is seen to vent his frustration using a wrestling move on a bowl of tortilla chips, before starting to cook stew. The scene fades and Ignacio is shown to be a man still cooking for the monastery. Having grown up as an orphan in a Mexican monastery, he is now a grown man and the monastery’s cook, but he is looked down upon by the other friars. All his life, Ignacio has dreamed of becoming a luchador (lucha libre performer); but because wrestling was forbidden by the monastery, his dream remains unfulfilled. Ignacio cares deeply for the orphans, but his food is terrible due to a lack of funds with which to obtain quality ingredients.

After being robbed in an alley of the orphans' tortilla chips, he decides that he must hatch a plan to make money to buy better food. During the same few days, he reveals that he additionally desires to be respected and admired, as the luchadores are; that he is particularly hostile to one friar, who behaves in a sanctimonious way toward him; and that he harbors loving feelings for the newly arrived tutor, Sister Encarnación (Ana de la Reguera) with whom he finds he has much in common. It is partly to impress Sister Encarnación with the idea that he is a good man that Ignacio calculates his later actions.

Ignacio eventually decides to become a luchador. He pairs up with the tortilla chip thief to earn money for the orphans. Donning a homemade mask, sweats, and a blouse, he enters the local competition, accompanied by the slender, atheistic street thief Steven (Héctor Jiménez). Steven, under the name of Esqueleto ("Skeleton"), becomes Ignacio's tag partner in wrestling. Ignacio, in order to keep his identity secret from the monastic order, shortens his given name to "Nacho" while in the ring.

In their first match, Nacho and Esqueleto are defeated. To their surprise, the manager pays them anyway, explaining that every wrestler is entitled to a portion of the total revenue. He asks them to return next week to fight another bout. Later, Ignacio is caught wearing his wrestling undergarments by Chancho, one of the orphans. Nacho tells Chancho that when you get older it is fun to play dress up, but Chancho sees through the lie but promises not to tell anyone that he has become a Luchador.

Ignacio becomes frustrated by losing every fight and looks for help. Steven brings him to a gypsy-like man (Peter Stormare) who tells Ignacio to climb to an eagle's nest, crack open the egg, and swallow the yolk. This, he claims, will give him the powers of an eagle. Ignacio completes the task, but still loses the following night's wrestling bout. Later, he decides to seek advice from Ramses (played by Mexican Luchador César González who works as "Silver King"), the champion luchador. They sneak into a party and try to arrange an audience with the champion to try to become experts. They fail and are thrown out. Nacho is rather disgusted by Ramses' treatment of them, which kills his hero-worship of the champion.

Thereafter both Esqueleto and Nacho compete with several other popular wrestlers in order to earn the right to challenge Ramses. The wrestler Silencio ("silence") wins; Nacho comes in second place.

Ignacio is revealed to the monastery as a luchador when his robe catches fire during a prayer, exposing his wrestling costume. Ignacio leaves the monastery to live in the nearby wilderness, taking only his clothes and a lucky machete given to him by Chancho.

In the wilderness, Ignacio eats cactus and builds a crude framework of sticks, in an effort to create shelter. In the morning, Steven comes to see him. He tells him that Silencio's bunions are swollen and therefore cannot fight Ramses; because Nacho came in second, he now has the right to fight Ramses in Silencio's stead. During Steven's explanation, the viewer is shown a flashback, wherein Steven ran a motorized tricycle over Silencio's foot, having seen him quarrel with a tiny child over a loaf of bread.

Ignacio, at first, is skeptical of Steven's enthusiasm, due to an argument in which Steven had stated that he hated all the orphans in the whole world. Steven replies that he does not hate them anymore, and that the children need a hero. Ignacio accepts the role.

That night, Ignacio sends a message via Steven to Sister Encarnación, explaining his plan and confessing his love to her. In the match, Nacho is nearly defeated - indeed, unmasked - by Ramses. (Although the unmasking is a very significant event in a luchador's career, suggesting the player's defeat and dishonor, the match continues with minimal acknowledgment of the act.) Just as Nacho is about to lose, Sister Encarnación enters accompanied by the orphans, who are wearing masks to imitate Nacho. Inspired, Nacho throws Ramses off, chases him out of the ring, and jumps onto him with a flair recalling his earlier brush with eagle eggs and their supposed power. By doing so, Nacho beats Ramses and becomes champion.

Ignacio uses the prize money to buy a bus for field trips for the children. The film closes on one such trip, wherein Ignacio, Steven, and Sister Encarnación take the children to see an ancient city, Monte Albánmarker, built by the Zapotec civilization. Ignacio, by now, has earned Encarnación's favor, as demonstrated by her signs of encouragement and his somewhat awkward acknowledgment thereof.

Release date

The release date was originally set to be May 2006, but was changed by Paramount to avoid competition from Fox's X-Men: The Last Stand and one of Paramount's other films, Mission: Impossible III. It was then placed between the releases of Disney/Pixar's Cars (June 9) and Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures' Superman Returns (June 28). The film was rated PG by the MPAA for "rough action and crude humor, including dialogue."

It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on October 24, 2006. It was distributed in Switzerlandmarker, Spainmarker, and the Netherlandsmarker by Universal Pictures.

Film goofs

In the scene where Nacho is discussing his family with the sister, in one shot he is shown taking a bite of a piece of toast, when the camera returns to him he has just finished swallowing the bite. However, another bite has already been taken, in the next shot he is holding a piece of french toast with a bite out of it.

In the scene where one of Satan's Cavemen is removing Nacho's mask during a match, Chancho realizes it is actually Ignacio. When he is sitting, he is wearing a shirt but when he stands up in front of the T.V. to prevent others from seeing, he is only wearing an undershirt along with the other children.

In the scene where he is serving the stew to the priests and gets to the last one; he spills all over the place and makes a line of stew towards him (Nacho), but when they go back to the last priest, the spilled stew is obviously different in appearance.

Main cast

Actor Role
Jack Black Nacho
Ana de la Reguera Sister Encarnación
Héctor Jiménez Steven "Esqueleto"
Troy Gentile Nacho (young age)
Carla Jimenez Cándida
Richard Montoya Guillermo
César González Ramses
Moises Arias Juan Pablo
Mitchell Delgado Chancho
Peter Stormare Emperor

Critical reception

The film received mixed reviews by critics, it was labeled as "Rotten" on the Rotten Tomatoes website with a 39% favorable rating. According to Roger Ebert, "It takes some doing to make a Jack Black comedy that doesn't work, but Nacho Libre does it." Michael Medved gave the film two and a half stars (out of four) calling it, "Amusing, but resistable." but adding that, "Director Jared Hess [employs] the same off-beat humor that made his Napoleon Dynamite a cult hit".

Box office performance

The film was a modest hit, enjoying success during its commercial box office run. During its opening weekend Nacho Libre opened at second place, earning $28.3 million, with Cars still holding onto its number one spot, held over from the previous week. The total domestic box office for Nacho Libre stands at a respectable $80,197,993. Worldwide: $99,255,460.


Director Jared Hess originally wanted musical artist Beck to be behind the soundtrack for the film. Beck, being a fan of Hess, accepted. However, Paramount Pictures didn't think Beck's style fit the movie, and decided to try to get composer Danny Elfman to replace him. Elfman then wrote a full score and recorded it in May 2006. However, only about 2/3 of Elfman's score ended up in the movie.

Due to how much of Elfman's music filled the film, Elfman's representatives asked that Elfman be the only person credited for Nacho Libre's score. Hess caught wind of this and would not allow the studio to remove Beck from the credits. When finding that he wouldn't have the only music credit, Elfman told Paramount to remove his name from the film. An agreement was eventually reached where both Beck and Elfman were credited for their respective parts of the score.

The track listing for the official soundtrack to Nacho Libre. The soundtrack was released October 24, 2006

  1. Hombre Religioso (Religious Man) - Mister Loco
  2. "A Nice Pile-Drive to the Face" - Nacho (Dialogue)
  3. Move, Move, Move - Alan Hawkshaw & Alan Parker
  4. Papas - Mister Loco
  5. Singing at the Party - Jack Black with Ismael Garcia Ruiz y Su Trio
  6. Ramses Suite - Danny Elfman
  7. "All the Orphans in the World" - Nacho & Esqueleto (Dialogue)
  8. There Is No Place in This World for Me - Beck
  9. "I'm Serious" - Nacho (Dialogue)
  10. 10,000 Pesos - Beck
  11. Irene - Caetano Veloso
  12. Pump a Jam (Ramses) - Cholotronic
  13. Black Is Black - Eddie Santiago
  14. Half Forgotten Daydreams - John Cameron
  15. Encarnación - Jack Black
  16. Tender Beasts of the Spangled Night - Beck
  17. Saint Behind the Glass - Los Lobos
  18. "Beneath the Clothes We Find the Man..." - Nacho (Dialogue)
  19. Forbidden Nector - Jack Black & Mucho Macho Acapulco

One song that was not included on the soundtrack, but was in the movie, was "Bubblegum" by Mr. Loco


During the filming, Jack Black began doing a production diary video podcast called "Jack Black's Nacho Libre Confessional". In every episode, Black was filmed with a hand-held camera inside his trailer. He introduced the viewer to the cast and set, and gave a brief "nacho" description of what he has been up to. This series was also available for free, to subscribers of Xbox Live via the Xbox 360's Marketplace service.

Each episode of the podcast begins and ends with an intro/outro featuring Beck's song "E-Pro" from the album Guero. This is likely a reference to the fact that Nacho is himself a white boy due to his half-Scandinavian heritage, as explained by Black while having his chest waxed in Episode 3 of the podcast.

Collaboration with professional wrestling

To prepare for the role Jack Black trained in New Japan Pro Wrestling's Los Angeles dojo with real luchadores prior to filming.

Before the release of the movie, World Wrestling Entertainment added Nacho to the SmackDown! brand roster on their website. After a month his profile was removed without his making any appearances.

On the June 20, 2006, episode of ECW on Sci Fi the character was parodied as "Macho Libre", with wrestler Tony DeVito dressing like Nacho and speaking like "Macho Man" Randy Savage with a Hispanic accent. After a few minutes he was attacked by the Sandman, in keeping with his gimmick at the time.

In addition, professional wrestler Human Tornado appears in the film as one of Nacho's opponents, "El Snowflake". Mexican professional luchador César González also appears as Ramses.

Moves portrayed

  • There are five notable mistakes / misinterpretations of how wrestling is ruled in Mexico.
    • When Nacho loses his first fight, the three second count is not shown (it appears he loses by TKO).
    • When Nacho beats Ramses, there is no count taking place outside the ring. Normally, when both fighters are outside the ring, a 20 second count begins for both of them to return.
    • Additionally, unless a special stipulation is otherwise noted, you cannot pin your opponent outside the ring. A legal pin can only be obtained inside the ring.
    • The battle royal is less than accurately within the rules, as Nacho is not pinned after the tombstone piledriver (considered TKO); or, if the rules were to throw your opponents out of the ring to win (like the other combatants), Nacho was not. There was no stipulation of having lost, or that he even came in second place as is later revealed in the film.
    • It should also be noted that in Mexico, the 'tombstone piledriver' is considered an illegal move. Using one's belt to strike an opponent is also deemed an illegal move.
    • It is illegal to remove another luchador's mask unless the victor defeats him in a mascara contra mascara match.

Video game

In 2006, a video game adaptation of Nacho Libre was published by Majesco Entertainment and was released for the Nintendo DS. It is a cartoonish wrestling game based upon the film.


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