Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
May 04
El Mariachi February 26, 1994
El Mariachi opens

"If Robert Rodriguez didn't exist, independent filmmakers would have to invent him," wrote Peter Broderick in Filmmaker magazine about the director's first feature, El Mariachi, which opened in theaters on February 26, 1994. The film was famously made by the 23-year-old filmmaker for a budget of $7,225, crewed by his brother and sister, and with funding Rodriguez raised from a series of medical testing procedures he enrolled himself in. A rare indie action film, El Mariachi was an early example of the "no-budget movie," a film made for a tiny fraction of a Hollywood film and which impresses viewers with the ingenuity of its filmmaking solutions. Said Rodriguez at the time, "The nice thing about making a movie by yourself is that you can take credit for any aspect of it anyone likes."


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Five Graves to Cairo May 4, 1943
Five Graves to Cairo opens

After the success of his directorial debut with The Major and The Minor, writer-director Billy Wilder was given a bit of freedom in choosing his next film.

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May 4, 1972
Play It Again, Sam plays

Today in 1972, Woody Allen got romantic advice from the ghost of Humphrey Bogart in yet another film that confirmed the bespectacled neurotic as an unlikely rising star. Play It Again, Sam, based on a play by Allen and originally called Aspirin for Three, was, in some senses, the most straightforwardly commercial film of Allen’s career so far.

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