Apocalypto (/əˌpɒkəˈlɪptoʊ/) is a 2006 American-Mexican-Guatemalan epic historical adventure film produced, co-written, and directed by Mel Gibson. The film features a cast of Native American and Indigenous Mexican actors consisting of Rudy Youngblood, Raoul Trujillo, Mayra Sérbulo, Dalia Hernández, Gerardo Taracena, Rodolfo Palacios, Bernardo Ruiz Juarez, Ammel Rodrigo Mendoza, Ricardo Diaz Mendoza, and Israel Contreras. All of the indigenous people depicted in the film were Maya. Similar to Gibson’s earlier film The Passion of the Christ, all dialogue is in a modern approximation of the ancient language of the setting. Here, the Indigenous Yucatec Mayan language is spoken with subtitles, which sometimes refer to the language as Mayan. This was the last film Gibson directed until 2016’s Hacksaw Ridge ten years later.
Set in Yucatán, Mexico, around the year 1502, Apocalypto portrays the hero’s journey of a young man named Jaguar Paw, a late Mesoamerican hunter and his fellow tribesmen who are captured by an invading force. After the devastation of their village, they are brought on a perilous journey to a Mayan city for human sacrifice at a time when the Mayan civilization is in decline. The film was a box office success, grossing over $120 million worldwide, and received mostly positive reviews, with critics praising Gibson’s direction, Dean Semler’s cinematography, and the performances of the cast, though the portrayal of Mayan civilization and historical accuracy were criticized. The film was distributed by Buena Vista Pictures in North America and Icon Film Distribution in the United Kingdom and Australia.
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