This is the film adaptation of the play "Zoot Suit," based on the real-life Sleepy Lagoon case in Los Angeles, in which several Hispanics were sent to jail in 1942 on trumped-up murder charges. Attempts were made to free the group but to no avail. Valdez, who adapted his play for the
screen, keeps the story and the camera moving nicely. Shot in 11 days on a tiny budget of $2.5 million, the film showcases the talents of several Hispanic-American actors, including future "Miami Vice" star Olmos.