Reviews Film

The Motorcycle Diaries

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 26 August 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:518
  1. Deborah Cohen, editor, student (
  1. BMJ

    Directed by Walter Salles

    UK release date: 27 August 2004

    US release date: 24 September 2004

    Rating: Embedded ImageEmbedded ImageEmbedded ImageEmbedded Image

    Medicine is often a mix of disillusionment and conflicting ideologies, misplaced respect and status, friendship and solidarity. These are values that surprisingly play a central theme in The Motorcycle Diaries, a film about a young Che Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado.

    Guevara's iconic status as a revolutionary is immortalised in Alberto Corda's famous photograph, ironically used as a money spinning machine to adorn posters, T shirts, and mugs. But perhaps what is less well known is that Ernesto “Che” Guevara was a doctor, whose political future was shaped by a journey through South America as a medical student with Granado.

    Their adventure is detailed in this inspirational film based on Guevara's diary (published as a book of the same name), two years' extensive research, and first hand accounts from Granado.

    The journey starts in Buenos Aires in 1952 when Granado (played by Rodrigo de la Serna), a hospital biochemist with a special interest in leprosy, invites Guevara (Gael García Bernal), an upper middle class medical student jaded by …

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