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In this fictionalized biography, young Pancho Villa takes to the hills after killing an overseer in revenge for his father's death. In 1910, he befriends American reporter Johnny Sykes. Then a meeting with visionary Francisco Madero transforms Villa from an avenging bandit to a revolutionary general. To the tune of 'La Cucaracha,' his armies sweep Mexico. After victory, Villa's bandit-like disregard for human life forces Madero to exile him. But Madero's fall brings Villa back to raise the people against a new tyrant... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
A very good movie, but not in tune with modern sensibilities
This is really a very well made movie, but its presentation of Pancho Villa will likely offend modern sensibilities. Those sensitive ones should notice that while Villa is portrayed speaking bad English, most of the other Mexican characters, such as Madero, are not. It was a perhaps unfortunate effort to suggest not that Mexicans are stupid, but that Villa came from a humble background - he repeats over and over that he is illiterate - and had a very different command of language than the government and military officials with whom he had dealings.
The movie starts by explaining that it is not based on archival documents, but is an effort to convey the "spirit" of the revolutionary. As a result, there's no point in complaining about the places where it differs from history. It makes an honest effort to present a complex individual, capable of greatness and horrors - the torture of the Mexican general; the attempted rape of a supporter's sister. For 1935, it's really a very sympathetic presentation of a poor, illiterate Mexican.
You can't watch this to learn about Mexican history. But you can watch it to see a fine presentation of an imperfect but remarkable man.
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