Inside: A collection of Cantinflas quotes, along with resources for learning about her life and accomplishments.
Cantinflas was an early pioneer in Mexican film and comedy, as an actor, screenwriter, and producer.
He was a master of word play in Spanish and is referred to as the “Charlie Chaplin of Mexico.” Cantinflas was known for taking on the role of an everyday citizen, a disenfranchised man trying to make it in the world. He later became involved in humanitarian work.
Here’s an index of what’s included in the post. You can click on any link to jump straight to that section:
Fast Facts About Cantinflas
Born: August 12, 1911, in Mexico City
Died: April 20, 1993
Family: Married: Valentina Ivanova, Son: Mario Moreno Ivanova
Career: Cantinflas acted in over 50 movies, winning a Golden Globe for Around the World in 80 Days.
Legacy: One of the most iconic and wildly popular actors and producers of Latin cinema, Cantinflas helped bring about the Mexican Golden Age in films.
Cantinflas was born August 12, 1911, in Mexico City, Mexico, with the name Mario Fortino Alfonso Moreno-Reyes. He grew up in a poor neighborhood as one of eight children, and his father was a postal worker.
At age fifteen, he dropped out of school and ran away to join a Mexican tent show. He tried different things like boxing, dancing, circus work, and comedy acts. It was at this time he adopted the now-famous nickname “Cantinflas.”
Cantinflas met a producer who noticed his quick wit and way with word, and invited him to star in his first film, which came out in 1936. His first big break came in 1940, with the movies Ahí Está el Detalle and Somos, which some say is among the greatest Mexican films ever.
He became known for his movie persona as the underdog in society, an illiterate peasant worker who wore pants held up by a rope, a tattered coat and hat, and and kerchief around his neck. He was a master of verbal comedy and wordplay that delighted audiences.
Cantinflas continued to make successful movies in the 40’s and 50’s. He earned a Golden Globe for his role in Around the World in 80 Days, which brought him wide success among English-speaking audiences as well.
He later served as president of the Mexican actors guild’s ‘Asociación Nacional de Actores’ (ANDA) and as Mexican labor union secretary, working for reform. He also was involved in charitable work.
Cantinflas died of lung cancer on April 20th, in 1993.
Cantinflas Quotes in English
1. “The world should laugh more, but after having eaten.”
2. “I do not suspect anyone, but I distrust everyone.”
3. “I do the difficult things immediately; the impossible things take me a little longer.”
4. “There are moments in life that are truly momentary.”
5. “The first obligation of all human beings is to be happy. The second obligation, is to make others happy.”
6. “There’s the detail! That is neither the one nor the other, but the opposite.”
7. “Artist: a name given to many craftsmen.”
8. (Upon arriving late for a date with his girlfriend):
“Moments pass and minutes too… and then even seconds. Then, from second to second, one catches the second wind. And then you’re so cool. And so in love.”
9. “I am here because I am nowhere.”
10. “We are in an era, in which man, scientifically and technologically… is a giant. But morally… he’s a [Cantinflas used a pejorative term accepted at the time: an equivalent would be small person].”
11. “I love, you love, he loves, we love, you love, they love. If only they were not conjugations, but reality.”
12. “”For me all ideas are respectable even if they are ‘ideítas’ or ‘ideotas’.”
13. “If a sacrifice is needed, I surrender my part and take yours.”
14. “Democracy, you see, according to the Spanish language translated into Castilian, it means demo, like who says Dimo and Dimo with what we stay.”
15. “Life’s philosophy is “to be or not to be” which means “I saw you or I didn’t see you.”
16. “There must be something wrong with the job or the rich would have hoarded it by now.”
17. “He who commits an error, and acknowledges his fault, gives proof of his courage by acknowledging his fault.””
18. “As that great poet said, who did not say anything because they did not give him time…”
19. “Either we act like gentlemen, or like what we are.”
20. “Despite being such a chicken, I have more feathers than a rooster and, above all, I want to do justice and give the people what the people need.”
Frases de Cantinflas
1. “El mundo debería reírse más, pero después de haber comido”.
2. “No sospecho de nadie, pero desconfío de todos”.
3. “Lo difícil lo hago de inmediato, en lo imposible me tardo un poco más”.
4. “Hay momentos en la vida que son verdaderamente momentáneos”.
5. “ La primera obligación de todo ser humano es ser feliz, la segunda es hacer feliz a los demás.”.
6. “¡Ahí está el detalle! Que no es ni lo uno, ni lo otro, sino todo lo contrario”.
7. “Artista: nombre que se dan muchos artesanos”.
8. (Cuando llegó tarde a una cita con su novia):
“Los momentos pasan y los minutos también… y luego hasta los segundos. Luego, de segundo en segundo, agarra uno el segundo aire. Y luego tú tan chula que eres. Y uno tan enamorado”.
9. “Estoy aquí porque no estoy en ninguna parte”.
10. “Estamos en una era, en la que el hombre, científica y tecnológicamente… es un gigante. Pero que moralmente… es un pigmeo.”
11. “Yo amo, tú amas, él ama, nosotros amamos, ustedes aman, ellos aman. Ojalá no fuese conjugación sino realidad”.
12. “Para mí todas las ideas son respetables aunque sean “ideítas” o “ideotas”.
13. “Si se necesita un sacrificio, renuncio a mi parte y agarro la suya”.
14. “Democracia, mire usted, según la lengua española traducida al castellano, quiere decir demo, como quien dice dimo y dimo con qué nos quedamos”.
15. “La ’filosofía’ de la vida es “to be or not to be” que quiere decir “te vi o no te vi”.
16. “Algo malo debe tener el trabajo o los ricos ya lo habrían acaparado”.
17. “Aquel que mete la pata, y reconoce su falta, da prueba de su valor, reconociendo su falta”.
18. “Como dijo ese gran poeta, que no dijo nada pues porque no le dieron tiempo…”.
19. “O actuamos cómo caballeros, o cómo lo que somos”.
20. A pesar de ser tan pollo, tengo más plumas que un gallo y, sobre todo, tengo ganas de hacer justicia y darle al pueblo lo que el pueblo necesita”.
Cantinflas was part of more than 50 films, so we’ll just list some popular titles here.
- Ahí está el detalle (1940)
- You’re Missing the Point (1940)
- El gendarme desconocido (1941)
- Los tres mosqueteros (1942)
- El circo (1943)
- ¡A volar joven! (1947)
- El mago (1949)
- El siete machos (1951)
- El bombero atómico (1952)
- Si yo fuera diputado (1952)
- Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
- El bolero de Raquel (1957)
- Sube y baja (1959)
- El analfabeto (1961)
- El extra (1962)
- El padrecito (1964)
- Su excelencia (1967)
- El profe (1971)
- El patrullero 777 (1978)
Cantinflas Biography Videos
A biography of Cantinflas, in Spanish (5min 7s):
Here are some scenes to get a peek into Cantinflas on camera, from his hit El profesor:
This is a longer form biography in Spanish and produced in Argentina (43m 59s):
I hope these quotes and resources were helpful to you! If you have more ideas for resources or lessons, let me know in the comments below!
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