Bound by Honour (1993, USA)

Blood In, Blood Out - Miklo

Alternatively known as ‘Blood In, Blood Out’.  Described as an ‘epic’ story by the film’s publicists; for this, read ‘long’. 

Loosely based on the true story of poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, the film traces the story of two Hispanic half-brothers and their cousin in Los Angeles in the 1980s and 90s.  A fight with a rival gang while they are just (very old looking) teenagers sees the three head off in very different directions: Miklo (fair skinned and blue eyed, just to make his acceptance into the Chicano gang culture more challenging) to San Quentin prison after shooting the other gang’s leader, Cruz (an artist, left with a damaged back courtesy of the other gang dropping him on a fire hydrant) into drug addiction, and Paco into the Marines and drug enforcement.  In jail, Miklo has to prove himself to La Onda, the Hispanic prison gang, by killing the leader of the white gang and there are plenty of violent interludes between the rival gangs. In particular, San Quentin’s narrow tiers (or this representation of them) seem particularly good for blocking the path of enemies or dangling or throwing them over the railings; some OH&S issues there, one would expect.  Miklo gets out and (in a scene positively dripping with significance) has one leg blown away by Paco during an armed heist, but once back in prison still rises to rule La Onda.

There’s scheming, bloodshed and tragedy aplenty but ‘each, in his own way, strives for power and respect’ (thanks to the film’s blurb) and none can shake the familial ties that bind them.  If after three hours you still care about any of the characters, you’re better than me.

Blood In, Blood Out - Cruz Blood In, Blood Out - Paco

Posted on May 18th, 2009 at 8:44 pm. Updated on August 27th, 2009 at 10:14 pm.

11 Responses to “Bound by Honour (1993, USA)”

  1. October 9th, 2011 at 7:34 am
    don cleto says:

    this is a very good movie. i give it 5 stars. If you speak or understand spanish then you are lucky because the spanish version is much better

  2. October 14th, 2011 at 2:06 pm
    S. Carter says:

    This is an incredible film, almost as good as James Elmos in American Me. Should be 4 1/2 stars.

  3. October 28th, 2011 at 12:46 pm
    jessica says:

    Blood in blood out besst movie I have ever seen I love micklo and paco they r the best and I think that the movie is way better in english than spanish and the movie is four hours long

  4. February 16th, 2012 at 11:28 pm
    Trthmsrtr says:

    This movie is an example of superior filmmaking, excellent characters, great story, and unparalleled entertainment. the above review of the movie was lousy. it was also an accurate. if you don’t like this movie you have no imagination, and your probably some pinnecked douche bag living in your mothers basement. The ensemble cast ok excellent actors displaying there veteran skills, alone, make it worth watching. it’s sad but there’s always some moron who can take a fantastic work of art and snipe away at it like a jealous little baby who had bottle taken away. if you don’t like the movie why do you review it? just the soundings of another masterbatorial virtuoso at work.

  5. April 11th, 2012 at 4:36 pm
    rico6704 says:

    Blood In Blood Out is one of the best movies I have ever seen. Liked it much better than American Me which I thought was pretty good. This movie has all the elements and is a great story. I do agree that the review it is getting above is horrible and wonder if the critic even saw the movie. This is definitely 5 stars.

  6. May 15th, 2012 at 2:28 am
    Carnale says:

    A great prison movie! Complex and fascinating. Audiences overwhelmimgly love it.
    Consider, as of this writing: “Blood in Blood Out” enjoys a 7.7 user rating (out of 10) at, and a 92% user rating at
    Compare that to “Cool Hand Luke” (this website’s #1 ranked prison film). It scores similarly: 8.2 at, and 93% at
    Please reconsider taking a fresh look at this great film. Everyone else- rent it! Thank you to for this useful website.

  7. July 15th, 2012 at 8:33 pm
    Mario says:

    This has to be the best movie of all time. It gives you a realistic imagination of what it would be like in jail. The actors really bring you within the movie. Vatos locos forever!!

  8. July 23rd, 2012 at 12:03 pm
    Aron B says:

    This movie has gotta be one of my all time favorites,
    Simply brilliant, no other way to put it.
    You cant have this movie at 2 stars, thats a total insult when films like the green mile are at the very top of the list!

  9. October 28th, 2012 at 6:46 am
    Eric says:

    This is definitely one of my favorite movies of all time. How it talks about the half blood trying to make his claim for his heritage, and all the trouble he goes through to gain acceptance is such a true representation of what happens in real life. I grew up in Southern Cali with the same issue as the main character Miklo, but without the prison time. It’s incredible what people do just to gain acceptance.

  10. December 6th, 2012 at 7:55 am
    jonathan says:

    bad and the movie my tio made

  11. February 21st, 2014 at 8:58 pm
    Tan Donut says:

    I’m more or less white, or half darker white, mediterranean, so my knowledge of chicanos is minimal, but I would say this is an amazing view into however accurate a portrayal it was in 1993.

    It’s long, but so what, it’s so ambitious. It covers street gangs, drugs, one of the most in-depth prison portrayals I’ve seen, complete with the trade of homsexual sex in prison. On top of that it covers the LA art scene, complete with the exploitative aspects of it. I’m amazed I knew nothing about this film until tonight. I think it does a lot to humanize American hispanics, who are a mystery to many of in the Northern whiter parts of the USA. It may not be perfect, but it’s a 4 star at least, not a 2 star, and I applaud associated with it greatly. It will stand the test of time for sure.

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