From ‘Star Trek’ to ‘Spy Kids’: 5 Movies Starring Mexican Actor Ricardo Montalbán You Can Stream at Home

Lead Photo: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
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Best known for the role of Mr. Roarke on the 1970s TV series Fantasy Island (now being remade), Mexican actor Ricardo Montalbán had a wide-ranging film career as well. Despite getting his first leading role in a 1941 soundie film titled He’s a Latin from Staten Island, Montalbán didn’t rise to stardom on this side of the border until close to a decade later. And that was after starring in a slew of Mexican films first. But with the success of the Esther Williams musicals he co-starred in around the late 40s, he eventually became one of the most celebrated Mexican actors of his generation.

Whether playing iconic Star Trek villains or brooding leading men, Montalbán managed to have a longrunning career well into the turn of the century. His last role was a part in American Dad in 2009. Find five of his most famous big screen performances below—all of which you can stream at home!


Border Incident

Anthony Mann

Available to stream on FilmStruck, Amazon, and YouTube.

Set along the US-Mexico border, this black and white drama concerns the issue of Mexican farm workers (“braceros”) who cross into California, legally and illegally. Wanting to investigate a series of robberies and stabbings perpetrated by a bandits who ambush the braceros, agents Pablo Rodriguez (Ricardo Montalbán) and Jack Bearnes (George Murphy) decide to go undercover. Pablo, who’s Mexican, infiltrates the braceros while American Jack is set to monitor his movements; what they find is a highly sophisticated web of illegal trafficking that will put them both in danger.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
United States
Crime, Thriller, Drama
John C. Higgins
Nicholas Nayfack


Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams

Robert Rodriguez

Available to stream on Amazon, Google Play, and iTunes.

Robert Rodriguez family-friendly spy adventure comedy expanded its world with this 2002 sequel. OSS having a full-blown child spy section meant that 13-year-old Carmen Cortez (Alex Vega) and 10-year-old Juni Cortez (Daryl Sabara) became full agents like their parents. Their mission in the film ends up taking them to an island full of genetically modified animals. Joining this kickass CGI-enhanced film cast, which already included Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino, were Holland Taylor and Ricardo Montalbán as the kids’ grandparents.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
United States
Adventure, Action, Comedy
Robert Rodriguez
Robert Rodriguez


Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn

Nicholas Meyer

Available to stream on Amazon, Google Play, and iTunes.

Arguably one of the most famous entries in the Star Trek pantheon, The Wrath of Khan was the 1982 sequel to the franchise’s first big screen outing. The film follows crew of the starship USS Enterprise facing off against the genetically engineered tyrant Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalbán). Montalbán had already played the character in the TV series but the film has him fend off the likes of Captain T. Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy) as he tries to exact revenge on Kirk and hopes to acquire a powerful terraforming device named Genesis.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
United States
Science Fiction, Adventure, Action
Jack B. Sowards
Robert Sallin


Escape from the Planet of the Apes

Don Taylor

Available to stream on Amazon, Google Play, and iTunes.

Star Trek wasn’t Ricardo Montalbán’s first foray into Hollywood sequels. He was also part of the original Planet of the Apes film. Escape from the Planet of the Apes was the third film in that franchise. The sci-fi flick offers a different timeline from the previous films. It follows Cornelius (Roddy McDowall) and Zira (Kim Hunter), who had escaped on a spaceship heading to Earth. They arrive there in 1971 where they find themselves first at the Los Angeles Zoo, become celebrities and then feared specimens only to later flee to a circus run by Señor Armando (Ricardo Montalbán).

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
United States
Science Fiction, Action
Paul Dehn
Arthur P. Jacobs


On An Island With You

Richard Thorpe

Available to stream on Amazon, Google Play, and iTunes.

A technicolor musical set against a paradise backdrop, On an Island With You is a comedy of errors about two interlocking couples. Rosalind Reynolds (Esther Williams), a swimming star goes to Hawaii to make a film set on a tropical island, bringing along her fiancé, Ricardo Montez (Ricardo Montalbán). A military technical adviser for the film, U.S. Navy Lt. Lawrence Y. Kingslee (Peter Lawford) falls in love with her. Yvonne Torro (Cyd Charisse), her best friend and fellow movie star, secretly wants Ricardo for herself.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
United States
Musical, Romance, Comedy
Dorothy Kingsley, Dorothy Cooper, Charles Martin, Hans Wilhelm
Joe Pasternak