Watch Danny Trejo’s Journey to Transformation in Inmate#1: The Rise of Danny Trejo

man in black and white looking down behind chain link fence

Our favorite actors inspire us with their ability to face major challenges in their movies. Through the most arduous circumstances and when there’s no hope, they somehow manage to survive and overcome. But such strength isn’t just storytelling for the sake of it – it’s often inspired by real people with real character who have been there. And one of those people is Danny Trejo. His documentary, Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo is available to watch now, and depicts Trejo’s inspiring journey from surviving a tough life of crime to walking glamorous Hollywood red carpets.

man driving smiling

The film begins with Danny’s early days growing up in a poor community. His troubled life leads him to hard drug use and eventually crime that lands him in prison, which has a major impact on his outlook. When he makes it out to freedom, he decides to turn his life around. Of course, this is far from easy and starts with little steps and gestures.

Check out our exclusive clip of a conversation with Danny about making positive changes:

Doing such good deeds leads Danny to become a successful drug counselor and an upstanding member of his community. And by sheer circumstance, it even helps him land his first movie role. And the rest really is history. Danny goes on to star in countless action-packed Hollywood films and TV shows that we know and love. But what really makes Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo inspirational is the message of hope. Even when facing the darkest moments, the possibility for a better tomorrow and true change is real – and Trejo is a prime example of that.

See what role Danny says he’s most recognized for in this exclusive clip:

Let’s revisit some of the movies that gave Danny his rise in Hollywood and made him a household name.   

family of four in fight stance

Who can forget the fun kids flick, Spy Kids? The star-studded cast includes Antonio Banderas, Cheech Marin and of course the talented kids that made it an instant classic, Daryl Sabara and Alexa PenaVaga. The film centers on the kids’ action-packed journey to find their super spy parents and save them from a dangerous mission. And along the way, they meet their tough uncle Machete – which is funnily enough the first time we are introduced to Danny Trejo’s most iconic on-screen character.

photo of two men standing in suits in black and white

It wouldn’t be until one over-the-top trailer in Grindhouse and several years later that the film Machete would come to fruition in 2010. And incredibly enough, Danny was 69 years old when he landed the first lead role of his acting career.

man with long hair and coat walking

Machete stars Trejo in the role of a tough Federale who is assigned a mission to assassinate a senator. But when he suddenly realizes the whole thing is a set-up, Machete goes on the most crazy, brutal hunt for revenge ever seen on screen. And it just goes to show you – you don’t mess with Machete.

man and woman walking in front of explosion

If we go back in time before Danny’s wild Machete movies, Desperado was also a pivotal film in his career. This was when he and director Robert Rodriguez actually realized they were second cousins, and would go on to collaborate on tons of movies, including most of the ones we’ve mentioned. The iconic film takes place in a small Mexican bordertown and centers on a smoldering guitar player, played by Antonio Banderas, who seeks vengeance against the men responsible for his girlfriend’s death. Along the action-packed ride we’re introduced to Danny Trejo in the role of a mountain-sized hitman named Navajas who really has a thing for throwing knives. The movie’s fun, stylistic look combined with Danny’s persona made us all realize that Danny is here to stay.

One thing is for certain. No matter what role Danny is in, the story of how he got there is just as captivating as any of the Hollywood films he stars in. And these are the stories that need to be told to make a difference and in Danny’s words, “keep the good rolling.”