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And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself (2003)

TV Movie  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  7 September 2003 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 2,568 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 9 critic

Hollywood makes a deal with Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa to film his war and recreate his life.

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 8 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Frank Thayer
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Sam Drebben
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Harry Aitken
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William Christy Cabanne
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Teddy Sampson
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William Benton (as Anthony Stewart Head)
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Eli Morton
Cosme Alberto ...
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Don Luis Terrazas (as Pedro Armendáriz)
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Priest
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Storyline

Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa (Antonio Banderas) finds himself without adequate funding to finance his war against the military-run government. He also finds himself at odds with the Americans because of the Hearst media empire's press campaign against him. To counter both of these, he sends emissaries to movie producers to convince them to pay to film his progress and the actual battles. Producer D.W. Griffith (Colm Feore) becomes interested and sends Frank Thayer (Eion Bailey) with a film crew to develop film reels. Thayer becomes horrified and fascinated by the bandit. He finds an enigmatic individual that is both ghoulishly brutal and charmingly captivating. The resulting film became the first feature length movie, introducing scores of Americans to the true horrors of war that they had never personally seen. Thayer sold the studios on making the film despite their concerns that no one would sit through a movie longer than 1 hour by convincing them that they could raise the ... Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Lights. Camera. Revolution.


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Details

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Release Date:

7 September 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pancho Villa  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While filming Life of Villa (1912) a battle between the forces of Pancho Villa and federal troops near Ojinaga, cameraman Charles Rosher was captured by federal soldiers and brought before their commanding general. Rosher thought he was about to be executed as a spy, and things didn't look too good for him until the Mexican general noticed Rosher's Masonic pin in his lapel. The general then gave Rosher the Masonic greeting; it turned out he was a Mason, too. Instead of being shot as a spy, Rosher was treated as a guest, and was later released after the Mexican government made a deal with the American government that allowed their troops to cross into American territory in order to outflank Villa's forces and attack them from the rear. See more »

Goofs

Griffith is shown to be making a short western in New York in 1914. It is a very cloudy and overcast day. In reality, Griffith has already moved his stock company out to California by then, plus he would have known not to shoot on such a cloudy day (there would not be enough light for the exposure). He also did not film any westerns in 1914, and would have been at work on The Battle of the Sexes at this time. See more »

Quotes

Pancho Villa: [after hearing a gunshot] Sometimes justice can be loud.
See more »

Connections

References Lawrence of Arabia (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

On a Tree by a River a Little Tom Tit
from "The Mikado"
Written by William S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan
Performed by John Reed, the Royal Philarmonic Orchestra and D'Oyey Carte Opera Company
Courtesy of Decca Music Group Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A movie about a movie
7 September 2003 | by (Washington, DC) – See all my reviews

Every hero is guilty of some atrocities, and Pancho Villa was no exception. Antonio Banderas delivers a convincing performance as a complicated man who had the brilliance to use the majesty of his own personality to help finance a peasant revolution in Mexico.

As docudramas go, this one is very well balanced ... it reveals the darker side of a legend, the people who tried to manipulate him, and the people he manipulated. Although the original film, the making of which is the heart of this story, has been lost to the ages, it is nonetheless a moving story.

How much is history and how much is Hollywood? Who can say? All I know is that I was more impressed than I expected to be, and more than just being entertained and educated, I was given a lot of food for thought. I sincerely hope that a Spanish language version of this will be available so that the people of Mexico can learn a different version of his story than the one that is in the books in their schools.

This was two hours of my life that I'm glad I spent in front of the screen, and I thank everyone involved for the experience. It is not the best movie I've seen this year, nor will it ever be on my Top Ten list, but it *IS* a very good example of what cinema *SHOULD* be, and all too often is not ... a thought provoking drama that tells a slightly different story than the one we thought we knew.


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