|Directed by:||Jared Hess|
|Produced by:|| Jack Black|
Ricardo Del Río
|Written by:|| Jared Hess|
|Music by:||John Debney|
|Cinematography:||Xavier Perez Grobet|
|Editing by:||Billy Weber|
|Distributed by:|| Paramount Pictures|
|Release date:||June 16, 2006|
|Running time:||1 hour, 32 minutes|
|Preceded by:||Yours, Mine & Ours|
Nacho Libre is a 2006 comedy-drama film directed by Jared Hess and written by Jared and Jerusha Hess and Mike White. The producers are Jack Black, David Klawans, Julia Pistor, and Mike White. The film was released on June 16, 2006 by Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies. The film received mixed reviews from critics, but was a moderate box office success.
Ignacio is the son of a Scandinavian Lutheran missionary and a Mexican deacon. They tried to convert each other but got married instead, then died while Ignacio was young. Now a cook for an orphanage, Ignacio dreams of becoming a luchador (lucha libre performer) but wrestling is forbidden by the monastery. Ignacio cares deeply for the orphans, but his food is terrible due to a lack of funds with which to obtain quality ingredients. One night, he is robbed of the orphans' tortilla chips in an alley, and decides to make money to buy better food. He also reveals a desire to be respected by the other friars, to overcome a sanctimonious friar who mistreats him, and consummate his feelings for the newly arrived tutor, Sister Encarnación. Ignacio decides to disregard the monastery's rules and becomes a Luchador in order to make money. He pairs up with the tortilla chip thief, Steven, and they pair as tag partners and join the local competition, with Ignacio changing his name to "Nacho" to keep his identity secret.
Steven adopts the name "Esqueleto" (Skeleton); Nacho and Esqueleto are defeated in their first match, but are nevertheless paid, as every wrestler is entitled to a portion of the total revenue, and they continue to wrestle every week, with Ignacio using his pay to buy and prepare better food for the orphans. Ignacio is, however, discovered by an orphan named "Chancho" (Pig), who promises to keep it a secret and admires him for it. However, after losing many fights, Ignacio starts to look for help. Steven brings him to a gypsy-like man known as "Emperor" who tells Ignacio to climb to an eagle's nest, crack open the egg, and swallow the yolk, claiming that he will gain the powers of an eagle. Ignacio completes the task, but still loses the following night's wrestling bout, along with several others. He decides to seek advice from Ramses, a champion luchador. However, when he sneaks into a party and gets thrown out, and later when Ramses shoves him after meeting him in the street, he realizes Ramses is not in any mood to even help aspiring wrestlers, being too vain to think of anyone but himself.
Ignacio's secret is revealed when his robe catches fire during a prayer, exposing his wrestling costume. He admits that he is Nacho, intends to fight at the "Battle-Jam", a battle royale between eight luchadores, for the right to take on Ramses, and for a cash prize, which he will use to make life better for the orphans. 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, due to the actions of an already beaten wrestler, comes in second place. Feeling shunned at the monastery, Ignacio leaves to live in the nearby wilderness. In the morning, Steven comes to tell him that Silencio's bunions are swollen and therefore cannot fight Ramses; he will, therefore, have to fight instead. It is revealed that Silencio's injury was caused because Steven had driven over his foot with a tricycle. Ignacio is distrustful of Steven, as he had previously stated that he hated orphans. Steven convinces him that he no longer does. Ignacio agrees to team up again. That night, Ignacio sends a message via Steven to Encarnación, explaining his plan and confessing his love to her (as a sister).
In the match, Nacho does well despite initial difficulty. With the crowd supporting Ignacio, Ramses resorts to cheating. Nacho then 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). Encarnación then enters with the orphans. Elated and inspired, Nacho throws Ramses off, knocks him out of the ring, and jumps onto him with a flair recalling his earlier brush with eagle eggs and their supposed power. Ramses is defeated and Ignacio uses his prize money to buy a bus for field trips for the children. The film closes with Ignacio, Steven, and Sister Encarnación take the children to see an ancient city, Monte Albán, 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.
- Jack Black as Ignacio/Nacho
- Troy Gentile as young Ignacio
- Ana de la Reguera as Sister Encarnación
- Héctor Jiménez as Esqueleto/Steven
- Peter Stormare as Emperor
- Carla Jimenez as Cándida
- Richard Montoya as Guillermo
- César Cuauhtémoc González as Ramses
- Moises Arias as Juan Pablo
- Donald Chambers as Silencio
- Darius Rose as Chancho
- Diego Eduardo Gomez as Chuy
- Craig Williams as El Snowflake
Release and box office
The release date was originally set for 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 loosely based on the story of Fray Tormenta ("Friar Storm"), aka Rev. Sergio Gutiérrez Benítez, a real-life Mexican Catholic priest who had a 23-year career as a masked luchador. He competed in order to support the orphanage he directed.
- In the United States, this film received a PG-rating from the MPAA, while in the United Kingdom, it received a 12 rating (12A in cinema; UK equivalence to PG-13) making it the first Nickelodeon film to receive that rating in the country. This was because the film contained content that may be inappropriate for the British viewers.
- It was the second Nickelodeon film that is not set in the United States. This film was set in Mexico.