And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself (2003)

TV Movie  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  7 September 2003 (USA)
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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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Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Thayer
Sam Drebben
Harry Aitken
William Christy Cabanne
Teddy Sampson
William Benton (as Anthony Stewart Head)
Eli Morton
Cosme Alberto ...
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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Lights. Camera. Revolution.


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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?


WILHELM SCREAM: At 8:56 when Frank Thayer (Eion Bailey) is looking through his binoculars at a Federale being killed by thrown dynamite. 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 »


Frank Thayer: [Frank Thayer and Teddy Sampson are lying inside a tent after having sex] I've had this scene written in my head from the moment I first lay eyes on you.
Teddy Sampson: Did I do OK? Do you want to try one more take?
Frank Thayer: You sure its not too late?
Teddy Sampson: Ooh, I'm sure not!
[Frank lays on top of her and they continue to have sex]
Frank Thayer: Onward and upward, thats the ticket.
[kisses Frank]
Frank Thayer: That's what mom told me.
See more »


Featured in The 56th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards (2004) See more »


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
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User Reviews

great film for HBO
16 October 2004 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

This was a film based on true events that you can actually happened between 1912-1916 during the Mexican Revolution. You can check it right here at IMDb just type Pancho Villa and see the results; there four short films were made where Pancho Villa starred as himself, but good luck finding those films. I sure like to see those and see how closeto the truth this film was. Over all this was a very impressive film for an HBO TV film, Antonnio Banderas did a great job, even thought he didn't look anything like Villa who was a short and small stature of a man and he actually looked a lot more like the actor "Damián Alcázar" who plays "Gen. Rodolfo Fierro" in this film; there is a close resemblance if you see the pictures of Villa and after all Alcazar is a real Mexican compare to Banderas who is from Spain.

Both the photography and location of this film was just perfect, especially the photography and the great choice of location to be able to shoot in Mexico with a great cast of real Mexican extras who really added so much authenticity and depth to this film. Its really a pity Hollywood doesn't do more historical films like this, this film was only about the deal Villa made with Hollywood to shoot his revolution and yet there is so much more to be made into a film such as the Mexican revolution and history of Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata who changed the course of History in Mexico.

Maybe one day people like Robert Rodriguez who some how gets so much money handed to them to make dumb films like "once upton in Mexico" (which was the most dumbest and awful film I have ever seen) decide to look into their own history and find there is so much more to be depicted for the younger generation of Mexicans who have never even heard of Pancho Villa.

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