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And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself (2003)

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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 & 22 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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1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original film The Life of General Villa (1914), the second film made about Pancho Villa's life by the Mutual Film Company, has been lost, but some unedited reels of the battle of Ojinaga (January 1914), showing Pancho Villa and his army fighting federal forces, as well as photographs and publicity stills taken from the original film, do still exist. See more »

Goofs

The screen title "May 9, 1914 - New York City" appears over a shot of Times Square. A billboard reads "The Broadway Melody - Metro Goldwyn Mayer". That studio was founded in 1924, and that movie was released in 1929. See more »

Quotes

D.W. Griffith: [on Pancho Villa] He's the James Boys, he's Billy the Kid, he's Napoleon all in one.
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Connections

References Life of Villa (1912) See more »

Soundtracks

Rosalia
Performed by Tuna Normalista de Dan Miguel de Allende, Guanajuayo
Courtesy of Discos Imagen
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User Reviews

 
A revolutionary history
7 February 2005 | by (London) – See all my reviews

As the blurb puts it - a story so improbable.....it must be true.... Set during the Mexican revolution of 1914 its the story of revolutionary hero Pancho Villa and his rather shrewd manipulation of the media - the Mutual Film Company led by the ever marvellous Jim Broadbent are contacted by Villa and offered to film the struggle.Star director DW Griffiths thinks its a great idea and Broadbent's nephew Frank Thayer(Eion Bailey) is dispatched south of the border with a bag containing $25 000 in gold as payment.Villa(Antonio Banderas) soon has them filming during actual battles and inspiring Frank with his dreams of a free Mexico. They return with the film but its fairly amateurish and gets laughed off screen - Frank somehow persuades his uncle to part with even more money and this time use actors like Raoul Walsh to play Villa and add some artistic licence to proceedings. There follows a very funny scene where Boradbent gets Villa to agree to only fight during the day(when they can film) and if they miss any battles to re-enact them for the cameras - Villa is appalled at the liberties taken with his lifes story but Frank explains its what the audience wants to see and will help his cause no end - something he needs as William Randolph Hearst's press empire is starting a campaign to get the US to invade Mexico to protect America's lifeblood - Oil.

Its a great little movie - made by HBO its a TV movie but Bruce Beresford directs as if its for the big screen - epic adventure,lavish battles and romance all intermingle to great effect - Banderas is excellent as Villa - a bit of a ham who is far more savvy than he lets on - the scene where he plays himself as the aged El Presidente is priceless - it doesn't shy away from the cruelties of both sides either

  • in fact this cruelty is what finally drives the friendship between


Frank and Villa apart - although the way its used in the final film is a more than ironic touch. Fine support from Broadbent and Alan Arkin as a machine-gunning Brooklyn Jew add to the rounded cast and its picked up a really good reputation on DVD and its easy to see why......


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