Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
October 31
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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Louis Malle October 31, 1932
Louis Malle born

The great French director Louis Malle was born October 30, 1932. Coming of movie-making age alongside the New Wave directors, Malle was never formally associated with that movement and, perhaps, was never treated as a boundary-breaking director.

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October 31, 1993
River Phoenix dies

During his successful and all-too-short career, actor River Phoenix was the James Dean of his generation.

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October 31, 1993
River's End

In a macabre twist, the 23-year-old actor River Phoenix died early on Halloween 1993 at 1:51 a.m. from a drug overdose at Los Angeles’ Viper Club.

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