The cocaine trade of the 70's and 80's had an indelible impact on contemporary Miami. Smugglers and distributors forever changed a once sleepy retirement community into one of the world’s most glamorous hot spots, the epicenter of a $20 billion annual business fed by Colombia’s Medellin cartel. By the early 80s, Miami’s tripled homicide rate had made it the murder capital of the country, for which a Time cover story dubbed the city “Paradise Lost.”
With Cocaine Cowboys, filmmaker Billy Corben paints a dazzling portrait of a cultural explosion that still echoes as Hollywood myth. Composer of the original “Miami Vice” theme, Jan Hammer, provides the score.
New York Magazine: “Billy Corben’s often hilarious, exuberant documentary practically celebrates the bloodbath that was Miami’s cocaine heyday.”
MTV: “Bullets fly and dead bodies drop like whacked weeds in this startling documentary about the bad old days of the Miami drug trade. “
New York Times: “A hyperventilating account of the blood-drenched Miami drug culture in the 1970’s and 80’s, the movie overflows with cops and coroners, snitches and smugglers, reporters and importers. Most resemble refugees from 'Scarface,' and all talk a mile a minute — except for the dead bodies, of course.”
A.V. Club: “Such a buzz to watch...Cocaine Cowboys is kinetic and absorbing, the documentary equivalent of Goodfellas.”
Time Out New York: “**** An uncommonly well-researched documentary which achieves an adrenalized, almost coked-up momentum with a pulse-pounding dossier of criminal high life (and lowlifes).”
Entertainment Weekly: “Griselda Blanco, a homicidal Colombian ‘Godmother’ who makes Tony Montana look like Mother Teresa.”
Houston Chronicle: “Forget Scarface and Miami Vice. Cocaine Cowboys is the real deal.”
New York Daily News: "***1/2 If ‘The Godfather’ movies were based on real gangsters and some of them were still around to talk about the good old days., they might be as fascinating as the characters in ‘Cocaine Cowboys’.”
Film Threat: “All rush and no crash. Fascinating and edited for maximum impact, it packs the furious momentum and dramatic punch of a riveting feature film.”
Variety: “A rogues gallery of flamboyant gangsters paint an anecdote-rich portrait of the drug trade”
AP - “Between bootleg DVDs and strong word-of-mouth, "Cocaine Cowboys” - named for a term made popular by the media in the ’70s and ’80s - had already become an underground hit in Miami before its theatrical release Friday.”
Best bit of Scarface is still when the cocaine cowboys machine gun that fucking clown in the nightclub hit...