Up 5,169 this week

Viva Max (1969)

G  |   |  Comedy  |  December 1969 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.0/10 from 353 users  
Reviews: 12 user

When his girlfriend tells him that his men wouldn't follow him to a house of ill repute, Max, a general in the Mexican army decides to perform some great act of heroism. He takes his men ... See full summary »



(novel) (as James Lehrer) , (screenplay)
0Check in

IMDb Picks: April

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in April.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 1655 titles
created 18 Sep 2011
a list of 33 titles
created 05 Feb 2012
a list of 760 titles
created 18 Apr 2012
a list of 2568 titles
created 26 Dec 2012
a list of 5704 titles
created 8 months ago

Related Items

Search for "Viva Max" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Viva Max (1969)

Viva Max (1969) on IMDb 6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Viva Max.


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Hot Millions (1968)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A Cockney con-artist just out of prison replaces an insurance company's computer programmer and sends claim checks to himself in various guises at addresses all over Europe. Meanwhile, he ... See full summary »

Director: Eric Till
Stars: Peter Ustinov, Maggie Smith, Karl Malden
Les espions (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A psychiatrist, desperate for money to keep his faltering practice running, makes a deal with a spy to hide a mysterious person in his clinic in return for a million francs. As soon as the ... See full summary »

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot
Stars: Curd Jürgens, Peter Ustinov, O.E. Hasse
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

The Crown Prince of Fawzia gets dropped from the football team at Notre Dame; and his father, King Fawz (Peter Ustinov)... See full synopsis »

Director: J. Lee Thompson
Stars: Shirley MacLaine, Peter Ustinov, Richard Crenna
Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A cold-hearted landlord is turned into a dog by a magician, and will remain a dog until he can find someone who loves him.

Director: Ladislao Vajda
Stars: Peter Ustinov, Pablito Calvo, Aroldo Tieri
Beau Brummell (1954)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In 19th century England, captain George Brummell is an upper-class dandy. He has to leave the army after having insulted the crown prince. This gives him the opportunity to start a smear ... See full summary »

Director: Curtis Bernhardt
Stars: Stewart Granger, Elizabeth Taylor, Peter Ustinov
The Comedians (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A cynical Welsh hotel owner secretly romances a diplomat's wife in Haiti under the violent reign of the despot "Papa Doc" Duvalier.

Director: Peter Glenville
Stars: Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Alec Guinness
Drama | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In Australia's Outback during the early 20th century the impoverished Carmody family lives a nomadic life out of their wagon but the mom and son want to settle while the dad is against it.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Deborah Kerr, Robert Mitchum, Peter Ustinov
Viva Maria! (1965)
Adventure | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Somewhere in Middle America, 1907: Maria II, the daugther of an Irish terrorist, meets after the dead of her father Maria I, the singer of an circus. She decided to stay with the circus. On... See full summary »

Director: Louis Malle
Stars: Brigitte Bardot, Jeanne Moreau, George Hamilton
Comedy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4/10 X  

Famous detective Charlie Chan is called out of retirement to help a San Francisco detective solve a mysterious series of murders. With his bumbling grandson as his sidekick, Chan also ... See full summary »

Director: Clive Donner
Stars: Peter Ustinov, Lee Grant, Angie Dickinson
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Plain, repressed spinster falls for a dashing young medical student, but he prefers the wilder life, until it's too late.

Director: Peter Glenville
Stars: Laurence Harvey, Geraldine Page, Rita Moreno
Hotel Sahara (1951)
Comedy | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In WW2,desert hotel proprietors Emad and Yasmin are caught between the waring armies and have to constantly shift their political allegiance to whichever army happens to control the area.

Director: Ken Annakin
Stars: Yvonne De Carlo, Peter Ustinov, David Tomlinson
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

The Faust legend retold (loosely) and applied to a mentally disturbed patient in a hospital run by a doctor of dubious sanity himself. The patient (Burton) offers the innocent orderly (... See full summary »

Director: Peter Ustinov
Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Peter Ustinov


Cast overview, first billed only:
General Maximilian Rodrigues De Santos
Pamela Tiffin ...
Paula Whitland
Sergeant Valdez
General Lacomber
Chief of Police Sylvester
Dr. Sam Gillison
Edna Miller
Desmond Miller
Christopher Ross ...
Don Diamond ...


When his girlfriend tells him that his men wouldn't follow him to a house of ill repute, Max, a general in the Mexican army decides to perform some great act of heroism. He takes his men over the border into Texas and re-captures the Alamo. This upsets the Texans greatly. The Texas National Guard is sent to retake the mission. Normally this would be easy as Max's men have left all of their ammunition back in Mexico, but the State department insists that no one be killed and so the National Guard also goes in with unloaded weapons. Written by John Vogel <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The most magnificent mistake of them all! See more »




G | See all certifications »




Release Date:

December 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Viva Max!  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


See  »

Did You Know?


All unfinished scenes were completed when the company relocated to Rome, Italy. Most of the key scenes needed that could not be completed in Rome were those showing the backdrop of the Alamo, filmed by second-unit crews in the street. The scenes in front of the Alamo and were shot early Sunday mornings, unbeknownst to local authorities. Several locals walking the streets early that morning were startled by police cars, National Guardsmen and soldiers rushing the Alamo across the Cenotaph Memorial. See more »


Max tells the border agent he and his men are headed to Laredo. Max would know Laredo is just 300 feet from the Mexico-Texas border, and can be accessed from the Laredo Convent Avenue Port of Entry. However, the border crossing Max leads his men to is in the middle of nowhere. See more »


General Maximilian Rodrigues De Santos: A friend of mine, a woman, she told me the men do not respect me. She said they would not follow me even into a whorehouse!
Sergeant Valdez: She is wrong, senor. The men would follow you into a whorehouse.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"All persons mentioned in this story are completely fictitious except for: Davy Crockett Col. William B. Travis James Bowie John Wayne and Richard Widmark" is the first credit to appear. See more »


References The Alamo (1960) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Witty satire on jingoism and the military mind
31 December 2009 | by (Tunbridge Wells, England) – See all my reviews

"Viva Max!" is a satirical comedy about what might happen if the Mexicans attempted to retake the Alamo. Following the battle in 1836, the Alamo has become an icon of American patriotism, even though the battle was technically a Mexican victory and even though the defenders were not fighting for the United States but for the long-defunct Republic of Texas. The standard patriotic version of the events of 1836 is narrated in the John Wayne epic from 1960, a film referred to several times in "Viva Max!" The Mexicans, of course, also have their own patriotic take on these events, seeing themselves as gallantly resisting U.S. aggression and conveniently forgetting that it was the dictatorial high-handedness of their government which provoked the War of Texan Independence and the incompetence of that government which led to them losing it.

The "hero" of the film is General Maximilian Rodriguez de Santos, a Mexican officer who is inspired to mount his invasion not by patriotism but by the desire to impress his mistress, who has taunted him that his men would not even follow him into a brothel. Despite his elevated rank, the General only has a single platoon of soldiers under his command, but this proves to be sufficient. They bluff their way past the American border guards, catch a bus into the centre of San Antonio and then storm into the Alamo just before closing time, capturing it without needing to fire a shot. (Which is just as well, as they have forgotten to bring any ammunition with them).

The film's star, Peter Ustinov, does not appear to have had a very high opinion of it; in his witty and entertaining autobiography "Dear Me" he dismisses it in a single sentence. He does, however, find room to tell us that it was banned in Mexico. The Mexican authorities presumably took exception to the depiction of their army as an incompetent, cowardly, ill-disciplined rabble led by buffoons like General Max. It was fortunate for the film-makers that the American constitution guarantees free speech, including the right to lampoon national institutions, otherwise the film might also have been banned north of the Rio Grande.

Certainly, the Americans in this film are satirised just as mercilessly as their Mexican counterparts. The National Guard general tasked with retaking the Alamo is more concerned with his furniture business than with warfare and is reluctant to order an attack for fear of alienating his customers (most of whom are Mexican-Americans). There is also a regular general who proves no more competent, a State Department official whose patronising attitude to the Mexicans prevents a peaceful resolution to the standoff and a right-wing militia who believe that Max and his men are part of a gigantic Chinese Communist conspiracy to take over America. The political left are also satirised in the person of Paula, the glamorous radical-chic student who manages to persuade herself that Max is a heroic Marxist revolutionary in the Che Guevara mould.

Although the Academy unaccountably awarded him an Oscar for his role in "Spartacus", I have always thought that Ustinov's talents lay more in the field of comedy than of serious drama. Some have taken exception to his performance in this film, largely on the grounds that they consider it politically incorrect for an actor to portray a character of an ethnicity different to his own, but given that Ustinov was the son of a Russian mother and a German father of Russian extraction, also had French, Italian, Ethiopian and Polish ancestry, held a British passport and lived in Switzerland it would be difficult to define precisely what his own ethnicity was. His varied background made him a master of different accents, a skill he puts to good use here. His Max is a brilliant comic creation, a satire on the military mind, and yet at the same time a human being who manages, for all his flaws, to retain a certain amount of sympathy.

Not all the satire really works, although Ustinov receives some good support from Jonathan Winters as the furniture-dealing General Hallson, John Astin as the bullying Sergeant Valdez and Kenneth Mars as the militia leader who finds out too late that his men would rather talk tough about Communism than fight it. Perhaps the greatest tribute to the film was paid by those Texans who staged protests against the movie, stopping filming taking place in the Alamo itself, which they regarded as a "sacred shrine". They evidently didn't realise that it was this sort of jingoistic pomposity that the film was sending up. 6/10

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
When is this coming out on DVD? (if ever?) rocoje
Controversy during filming cryptical70
John Astin bmcwi
Does Viva Max compare with The Interview? ryapo
Discuss Viva Max (1969) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: