Fernando de Fuentes

Fernando de Fuentes Carrau (December 12, 1894 – July 4, 1958) was a Mexican film director, considered a pioneer in the film industry worldwide. He is perhaps best known for directing the films El prisionero trece, El compadre Mendoza, and Vámonos con Pancho Villa, all part of his Revolution Trilogy on the Mexican Revolution.

Fernando de Fuentes
Fernando de Fuentes.png
Born(1894-12-13)December 13, 1894
DiedJuly 4, 1958(1958-07-04) (aged 63)
Mexico City, Mexico
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter, film producer
Years active1932–1958
Notable work


Early life and educationEdit

Born in Veracruz; Mexico on December 13, 1894, son of Fernando de Fuentes and Emelina Carrau de Fuentes. He studied Philosophy at Tulane University in New Orleans.


On his return to Mexico he worked as executive assistant of Venustiano Carranza during the Mexican Revolution. After his marriage in 1919, he moved to Washington D.C., and worked at the Mexican Embassy. Back in Mexico, he wrote poetry and undertook journalism as a hobby, and worked in the Film Industry in exhibition. In 1932 he made his first film, “El Anónimo”, and in the same year “Una Vida por Otra”, in 1933 “El prisionero trece”, “La calandria”, “El Tigre de Yautepec” and “El compadre Mendoza”, considered one of his masterpieces, in the Mexican Revolution Trilogy, (“El Compadre Mendoza”, “Vámonos con Pancho Villa” and “El prisionero trece”).

In 1934 he directed “El Fantasma del Convento”, and “Cruz Diablo”. In 1935 he made “Vámonos Pancho Villa”, and “La Familia Dressel”, in 1936 “Las Mujeres Mandan” and one of the greatest hits in the history of the Mexican cinema, “Alla en el Rancho Grande” - a film that developed a complete new genre the “comedia ranchera”, with this film he was awarded the “Medalla al Mérito Cinematográfico” by the Mexican President General Lázaro Cárdenas. This film also won first place at the “Venice Film Festival” in 1938. It was the first International award won by a Mexican film.

Described as "the Mexican John Ford" (New York Times), Fernando de Fuentes was by far the most talented filmmaker of early Mexican sound cinema. This tragic trilogy set during the Mexican Revolution was possibly his greatest achievement. Prisoner 13 (1933, 76 mins.) concerns a son who pays for his father's faults and a desperate mother who tries at all costs to save her son's life. El Compadre Mendoza (1933, 85 mins.) examines the corrupted ideals of the Revolution by way of an opportunistic landowner, who must choose between remaining loyal to a general in Zapata's army (and facing financial ruin) or saving his own skin. Lastly, Fuentes' sweeping epic Let's Go with Pancho Villa (1936, 92 mins.) follows the adventures of six young men who leave their rural homes to join Pancho Villa's army, enduring hardship, loss, and disillusionment over the Revolution in the process. Shot by Gabriel Figueroa (The Fugitive), one of the world's most gifted black and white cinematographers.

His filmography covers almost all the different genres from drama, comedy, horror, family, historical, to classics and documentaries.

Marriage and childrenEdit

De Fuentes married in 1919, Magdalena Reyes Moran in San Antonio Texas. They had two children, Magdalena and Fernando.


Fernando de Fuentes died on July 4, 1958 in Mexico City aged 63.







  • Robert Sklar. A World History of Film Abrams, 1993.
  • Ephraim Katz, Ronald Dean Nolen. The Film Encyclopedia. 6th edition. HarperCollins, 2008. p. 363.
  • Fernando de Fuentes. Ed. Emilio García Riera. Cineteca Nacional, 1984.

External linksEdit