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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.



Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 9 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Harry Aitken
John Reed
William Christy Cabanne
William Benton (as Anthony Stewart Head)
Raoul Walsh
Eli Morton
Cosme Alberto ...
Abraham Sanchez
Gen. Rodolfo Fierro
Don Luis Terrazas (as Pedro Armendáriz)


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


Lights. Camera. Revolution.


TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

7 September 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pancho Villa  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


A score by Stephen Endelman was rejected. See more »


At the beginning of the film, Pancho Villa makes a remark about Charlie Chaplin. This scene takes place sometime between the end of 1913 and the beginning of 1914. Chaplin made his screen debut in January 1914. In any case, there's no chance that Pancho Villa would have known Chaplin's films, considering that at that time (1914) the future star was just only another Keystone employee. See more »


Pancho Villa: [after hearing a gunshot] Sometimes justice can be loud.
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Referenced in The L Word: Pilot (2004) See more »


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

Would the REAL Pancho Villa please stand up?
22 May 2007 | by See all my reviews

Considering that this was made for TV, it is one strange take on the life of a 'man who would be king', and deserves a much wider viewing audience that it may have attracted.

Antonio Banderas is a much underrated actor - partially because he seems to accept any role that comes his way - and this should indicate to the harshest critic that he is most capable! Much as Robin Hood and, here in Australia, Ned Kelly, are revered as 'outlaws with a conscience', Pancho Villa is perceived as a folk hero. I hope this film dispels THAT particular notion. He was a self-serving bandit with a huge ego and, as the film shows, not above killing the 'locals' to further his grandiose schemes.

Banderas makes a fine fist of what is, essentially, a portrait of a seemingly-complex yet simple man seduced by the notion of Hollywood stardom. The irony, of course, is that, these days, anyone who appears on the screen (silver or no) is perceived as a 'star'.

Villa is presented as one in a long line of anti-heroes who find themselves fighting an unjust regime - but essentially just as brutal.

Overall a charmer of a film. Definitely worth more than one viewing.

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