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 »

Directors:

, (uncredited) | 1 more credit »

Writers:

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

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A cocky guy joins the Navy for the wrong reason but finds romance and twice is cited for heroism.

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, Gloria Stuart
The Sea Wolf (1941)
Drama | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Humphrey van Weyden, a writer, and fugitives Ruth Webster and George Leach have been given refuge aboard the sealer "Ghost," captained by the cruel Wolf Larsen. The crew mutinies against ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Ida Lupino, John Garfield
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The friendship between two orphans endures even though they grow up on opposite sides of the law and fall in love with the same woman.

Directors: W.S. Van Dyke, George Cukor
Stars: Clark Gable, William Powell, Myrna Loy
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The idyllic life of Tarzan and Jane is challenged by men on safari who come seeking ivory, and come seeking Jane as well.

Directors: Cedric Gibbons, Jack Conway, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, Neil Hamilton
Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Young Jim Hawkins is torn between his loyalty to his benefactors and his affection for lovable rogue Long John Silver in their struggle to recover a buried pirate treasure.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper, Lionel Barrymore
The Plainsman (1936)
Biography | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Wild Bill Hickok attempts to stop an Indian uprising that was started by white gun-runners.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, James Ellison
The Sullivans (1944)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The lives of a close-knit group of brothers growing up in Iowa during the days of the Great Depression and of World War II and their eventual deaths in action in the Pacific theater are ... See full summary »

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: Anne Baxter, Thomas Mitchell, Selena Royle
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The lives of numerous people over the course of 20 years in 19th century France, weaved together by the story of an ex-convict named Jean Valjean on the run from an obsessive police inspector, who pursues him for only a minor offense.

Director: Raymond Bernard
Stars: Harry Baur, Charles Vanel, Paul Azaïs
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The title represents the hopeful, ambitious students at a hospital training school and is primarily a story of the stern discipline and laborious physical and mental toil they endure in ... See full summary »

Director: Irving Cummings
Stars: Loretta Young, John Boles, Dorothy Wilson
Dark Command (1940)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In Kansas, during the Civil War opposing pro-Union and pro-Confederate camps clash and visiting Texan Bob Seton runs afoul of William Cantrell's Raiders.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: Claire Trevor, John Wayne, Walter Pidgeon
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Archie Rice, an old-time British music hall performer sinking into final defeat, schemes to stay in show business.

Director: Tony Richardson
Stars: Laurence Olivier, Brenda de Banzie, Roger Livesey
The Spoilers (1942)
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In Nome, Alaska, miner Roy Glennister and his partner Dextry, financed by saloon entertainer Cherry Malotte, fight to save their gold claim from crooked commissioner Alexander McNamara.

Director: Ray Enright
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Randolph Scott, John Wayne
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Rodolfo Fierro (as Sierra)
...
Teresa
...
Don Felipe de Castillo
...
Jonny Sykes
...
...
Gen. Pascal
...
Rosita Morales (as Katherine de Mille)
...
Emilio Chavito
Phillip Cooper ...
...
Bugle Boy
...
Pancho Villa's Father
...
Wallace Calloway
Adrian Rosley ...
Alphonso Mendoza
...
Alfredo Mendosa
Edit

Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

HE HELD A NATION IN HIS POWER! and he would have given it all for a kiss...from the one woman he couldn't conquer! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Western

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 April 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Viva Villa  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,017,400 (estimated)

Gross:

$1,109,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

After Howard Hawks was replaced by Jack Conway and Stu Erwin was recast in the Tracy part and all the second unit scenes were lost in a plane crash, Mona Maris was replaced by Fay Wray with an almost completely rewritten part. A primary reason for the change was star Wallace Beery's dissatisfaction with Maris. See more »

Goofs

President Madero is shown as being overthrown in a coup by Gen. Pascal, who then shoots him. In reality, there was no such general named Pascal; Madero was assassinated on the orders of Gen. Victoriano Huerta, who did overthrow him but who did not personally shoot him. See more »

Quotes

Jonny Sykes: [typing] Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of Jonny Sykes.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Viva Buddy (1934) See more »

Soundtracks

The Wedding March
(1843) (uncredited)
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61"
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Played on a gramophone at two of Pancho Villa's weddings
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The Battle Cry of Vengeance
2 March 2014 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

VIVA VILLA! (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1934), directed by Jack Conway, stars the Academy Award winning Wallace Beery ("The Champ" 1931) in one of his most notable film roles, that of the notorious Mexican bandit leader, Pancho Villa (1877-1923). Suggested by the book written by Edgcumb Finchon and O.B. Stade, the film itself is not so much an authentic biographical account on Villa's personal life, but, a fictional story scripted by Ben Hecht that gives its viewers an idea of what's to be shown: "FORWARD: This saga of the Mexican hero, Pancho Villa, does not come out of the archives of history. It is fiction woven out of truth, and inspired by a love of the half-legendary Pancho, and the glamorous country he served."

For its eight minute prologue: "Mexico in the 1880s, a land cringing under the lone whip of Diaz the Tyrant," shows Pancho, the boy (Phillip Cooper) forced to witness his hard-working father (Frank Puglia) strung up at the whipping post for speaking out against a greedy Spanish landowner who has taken away his home and property along with his fellow peons. After the hundred lashes are carried out, the dead body is cut down, left on the street as a warning to the others. Later, Pancho, "the little avenger" during the night, awaits, stabs and kills his father's executioner, fleeing to the hills of Chihuahua. Years later, Pancho Villa, (Wallace Beery), the man, having earned the title of "La Cucaracha" (the cockroach), forms a bandit army, assisted by his trigger-happy henchman, Sierra (Leo Carrillo), to avenge the rich and give to the "peons." With the assistance of Johnny Sykes (Stuart Erwin), an American reporter for the New York World, Villa's name becomes well-known through the accounts printed in the newspaper. Don Felipe (Donald Cook) a wealthy landowner who sides with Villa's cause, introduces him to his friend, Francisco Madero (Henry B. Walthall), a gentle man known to all as "The Christ Fool." An eternal friendship forms as Madero offers Villa advise into helping him form a revolutionary Army. Though he does help with his cause, Madero is disappointed that Villa makes war as a bandit rather than a soldier. After the war, Villa, honored a hero by many, especially Don Felipe's sister, Teresa (Fay Wray), is soon exiled to El Paso, Texas, by orders of his rival, General Pascal (Joseph Schildkraut). After learning the assassination of President Madero, Villa returns to Mexico to avenge his friend's death, leading to another brutal revolution.

Quite popular upon its release, earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture, VIVA VILLA! offers some very grim moments. Aside from the aforementioned flogging of Villa's father in the opening segment, another intense scene occurs indicating the method of torture towards General Pascal under Villa's orders. With females of minor importance, Fay Wray, the now legendary star of the original KING KONG (RKO Radio, 1933), surprisingly has a relatively small role as opposed to Katherine DeMille's temperamental Rosita Morales, as one of Villa's wives, who gathers more attention and screen time here. Wray's climatic moment occurs in a darkened room as her Teresa laughs hysterically at the angry Villa, forcing him to continually whip her, as shown through their silhouette images on the wall. This existing scene, among a few others, have vanished from circulating prints since the 1980s, shortening the original length from 115 to 109 minutes.

Other members of the cast worth noting are: George E. Stone (Emilio Chavito, the artist who's rather draw pigeons than bulls); David Durand (The Mexican bugle boy who uses the American slang term, "ain't"); Paul Porcasi (The Priest); and, in smaller roles, Mischa Auer and Akim Tamiroff, among others.

As much as its leading players could have been enacted by natural born Hispanic performers, such is not the case here. Beery's co-star, Leo Carrillo, would have made an agreeable Villa, with Gilbert Roland playing Sierra; and Mexican spitfire Lupe Velez in Fay Wray's part. Of the actors to have portrayed Pancho Villa in later years, Yul Brynnar or Telly Salavas for example, Beery, in mustache, large sombrero and Spanish dialect (which he tends to lose from time to rime) is as part of Beery as King Henry VIII or Captain Bligh is to Charles Laughton. Interestingly, Beery, having played Villa in the silent 1917 chaptered serial, PATRIA, would become a Mexican bandito once again in the western comedy, THE BAD MAN (MGM, 1941), where he not only physically resembles his Pancho Villa portrayal, but assumes the character name of Pancho Lopez. Stuart Erwin, who reportedly replaced Lee Tracy during production, might seem miscast at first, but acceptable considering how Tracy's familiar comedic style and gestures might have turned this bio-drama into a somewhat unintentional comedy.

Reportedly controversial through its assumptions and enactment from the Mexicans point of view, VIVA VILLA may continue to be so today depending on its acceptance as a motion picture. The edited form taken from reissue prints of VIVA VILLA!, distributed to video cassette in 1993, is also the same presented on Turner Classic Movies cable channel. One can only hope a complete version of VIVA VILLA! will turn up again someday in honor of the man named Villa and the legendary song known as "La Cucaracha!" (***1/2)


0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Which character...? TangibleHistory
Discuss Viva Villa! (1934) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?