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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:
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 <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Lights. Camera. Revolution.


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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?


Larry Gelbart's final TV writing project. See more »


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 »


Pancho Villa: [to Frank, in spanish] Cover my ass.
See more »


References Lawrence of Arabia (1962) See more »


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

A Movie About a Revolutionary and a Legend of a Lost Movie
1 October 2006 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

In 1914, the Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa (Antonio Banderas) invites studios to shoot his actual battles against Porfírio Diaz army to raise funds for financing guns and ammunition. The Mutual Film Corporation, through producer D.W. Griffith (Colm Feore), interests for the proposition and sends the filmmaker Frank Thayer (Eion Bailey) to negotiate a contract with Pancho Villa himself. They become very close and along months, Frank makes the first feature five reels length movie, "The Life of General Villa", when the usual was two reels only. After edition, another reality about Pancho Villa is screened for the audience.

"And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself" is a surprisingly good made for television movie. The story about the life of Pancho Villa is also homage to a lost movie. In accordance with the legend, the first five reels length movie would be "The Life of General Villa", directed in 1914 by Frank Thayer with Pancho Villa as himself. Truth, or legend, this interesting movie was nominated for Golden Globe, awarded with seven wins and another eighteen nominations. The cast is splendid, highlighting the performance of Antonio Banderas, who gives a great credibility to General Pancho Villa. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "E Estrelando Pancho Villa" ("And Starring Pancho Villa")

10 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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