Viva Villa! (1934)

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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. ... See full summary »


, (uncredited) , 1 more credit »


(screen play), (suggested by the book by) (as Edgcumb Pinchon) , 4 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Leo Carrillo ...
Rodolfo Fierro (as Sierra)
Donald Cook ...
Don Felipe de Castillo
Jonny Sykes
Henry B. Walthall ...
Gen. Pascal
Rosita Morales (as Katherine de Mille)
Emilio Chavito
Phillip Cooper ...
David Durand ...
Bugle Boy
Frank Puglia ...
Pancho Villa's Father
Wallace Calloway (as Francis X. Bushman Jr.)
Adrian Rosley ...
Alphonso Mendoza
Henry Armetta ...
Alfredo Mendosa


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


...TOO BIG FOR was dramatized in the heart of Mexico, with a cast of thousands! See more »


Biography | Western


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Release Date:

27 April 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Viva Villa  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,017,400 (estimated)


$1,109,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


David O. Selznick wanted to film all the exterior scenes in Mexico. MGM was not keen on this idea, having racked up huge extra costs due to location filming on Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925). Selznick got his way, however, having secured the promise of assistance from Mexican president Abelardo L. Rodriguez, in terms of military equipment and personnel. See more »


Madero is shown being shot by Pascal at Madero's desk in his office in the Presidential Palace in Mexico City. In reality, Madero and his Vice President were shot by soldiers of Gen. Victoriano Huerta, who had overthrown Madero and was having him transported to a prison outside Mexico City. The car they were in stopped behind a building outside the prison, and Madero and his vice president were taken outside the cars and shot. See more »


Bugle boy: [plays the "battle charge" on the bugle, and stops]
Pancho Villa: Play some more!
Bugle boy: That is all I know.
Pancho Villa: [laughs] That's okay. That's all you'll need!
See more »


Referenced in La Fiesta de Santa Barbara (1935) See more »


La Cucaracha
New lyrics by Ned Washington
Sung by chorus at intervals throughout film
Played as background music often
See more »

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User Reviews

Wallace Beery Invades Mexico
2 October 2010 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

After witnessing his father being whipped to death, grown-up Mexican bandit Wallace Beery (as Pancho Villa) becomes his country's revolutionary war hero. Boozy reporter Stuart Irwin (as Johnny Sykes) and peace-loving liberator Henry B. Walthall (as Francisco Madero) are important allies. Nurturing a taste for ladies and liquor, Mr. Beery marries Spanish spitfire Katherine De Mille (the real-life daughter of director Cecil B., as Rosita Morales). Later, Beery is tempted to add beautiful Fay Wray (as Teresa) to his harem.

The Mexican armies sing "La Cucaracha, la Cucaracha!" while future "East Side Kid" David Durand plays the bugle.

Beery's vanquished rival Joseph Schildkraut (as General Pascal) suffers a torturous fate, but dastardly Donald Cook (as Don Felipe) gets a last shot. MGM production values are high for this hammy, heavy-handed star vehicle, wisely introduced as "fictionalized." With "box office" Beery at the helm, "Viva Villa!" was a hit. It won critical acclaim at Venice, where Berry was the festival's "Best Actor". In a brief scene, the real-life son of early movie idol Francis X. Bushman plays a nerdy newspaperman ("Wallace Calloway").

****** Viva Villa! (4/10/34) Jack Conway ~ Wallace Beery, Stuart Irwin, Henry B. Walthall, Donald Cook

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