El Norte is a 1983 British-American low-budget independent drama film, directed by Gregory Nava. The screenplay was written by Gregory Nava and Anna Thomas, based on Nava's story. The movie was first presented at the Telluride Film Festival in 1983, and its wide release was in January 1984. The picture was partly funded by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), a non-profit public broadcasting television service in the United States.
El Norte received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay in 1985, the first American independent film to be so honored. In 1995, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
The drama features Zaide Silvia Gutierrez and David Villalpando, in their first film roles, as two indigenous youths who flee Guatemala in the early 1980s due to the ethnic and political persecution of the Guatemalan Civil War. They head north and travel through Mexico to the United States, arriving in Los Angeles, California, after an arduous journey.
When released, the staff at Variety magazine described the film as the "first United American independent epic".