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Viva Villa! (1934)

Passed | | Biography, Western | 27 April 1934 (USA)
After enacting revenge on the overseer who murdered his father, Pancho Villa becomes a bandit, earning the respect of the poor by brutally attacking the wealthy.

Directors:

Jack Conway, Howard Hawks (uncredited) | 1 more credit »

Writers:

Ben Hecht (screen play), Edgecumb Pinchon (suggested by the book by) (as Edgcumb Pinchon) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Wallace Beery ... Pancho Villa
Leo Carrillo ... Rodolfo Fierro (as Sierra)
Fay Wray ... Teresa
Donald Cook ... Don Felipe de Castillo
Stuart Erwin ... Jonny Sykes
Henry B. Walthall ... Francisco Madero
Joseph Schildkraut ... Gen. Pascal
Katherine DeMille ... Rosita Morales (as Katherine de Mille)
George E. Stone ... Emilio Chavito
Phillip Cooper Phillip Cooper ... Pancho Villa - as a Boy
David Durand ... Bugle Boy
Frank Puglia ... Pancho Villa's Father
Francis X. Bushman Jr. ... Wallace Calloway
Adrian Rosley Adrian Rosley ... Alphonso Mendoza
Henry Armetta ... Alfredo Mendosa
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Storyline

In this fictionalized biography, young Pancho Villa takes to the hills after killing an overseer in revenge for his father's death. In 1910, he befriends American reporter Johnny Sykes. Then a meeting with visionary Francisco Madero transforms Villa from an avenging bandit to a revolutionary general. To the tune of 'La Cucaracha,' his armies sweep Mexico. After victory, Villa's bandit-like disregard for human life forces Madero to exile him. But Madero's fall brings Villa back to raise the people against a new tyrant... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

20,000 flaming headlines leap to life as this epic drama flashes across the screens of the nation! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 April 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Viva Villa See more »

Filming Locations:

San Marcos, Mexico See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,017,400 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,109,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Pancho Villa's widow wrote a letter to David O. Selznick telling him that she liked Wallace Beery's interpretation of her husband. See more »

Goofs

Madero is shown being shot by Pascal at Madero's desk in his office in the Presidential Palace in Mexico City. In reality, Madero and his Vice President were shot by soldiers of Gen. Victoriano Huerta, who had overthrown Madero and was having him transported to a prison outside Mexico City. The car they were in stopped behind a building outside the prison, and Madero and his vice president were taken outside the cars and shot. See more »

Quotes

Bugle boy: [plays the "battle charge" on the bugle, and stops]
Pancho Villa: Play some more!
Bugle boy: That is all I know.
Pancho Villa: [laughs] That's okay. That's all you'll need!
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the original version of this film, during the scene in which Wallace Beery tries to rape Fay Wray and she shoots him in the arm, Beery horsewhips her after she begins laughing hysterically at him. The whipping is shown only by their shadows on the wall. After the Production Code went into effect, this scene was edited, and it is the edited version that was officially available for years. In 2015, the scene was restored, and was reinstated in the Warner Archive Collection DVD. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Viva Buddy (1934) See more »

Soundtracks

La Cucaracha
(uncredited)
Traditional
New lyrics by Ned Washington
Sung by chorus at intervals throughout film
Played as background music often
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A very good movie, but not in tune with modern sensibilities
26 January 2015 | by richard-1787See all my reviews

This is really a very well made movie, but its presentation of Pancho Villa will likely offend modern sensibilities. Those sensitive ones should notice that while Villa is portrayed speaking bad English, most of the other Mexican characters, such as Madero, are not. It was a perhaps unfortunate effort to suggest not that Mexicans are stupid, but that Villa came from a humble background - he repeats over and over that he is illiterate - and had a very different command of language than the government and military officials with whom he had dealings.

The movie starts by explaining that it is not based on archival documents, but is an effort to convey the "spirit" of the revolutionary. As a result, there's no point in complaining about the places where it differs from history. It makes an honest effort to present a complex individual, capable of greatness and horrors - the torture of the Mexican general; the attempted rape of a supporter's sister. For 1935, it's really a very sympathetic presentation of a poor, illiterate Mexican.

You can't watch this to learn about Mexican history. But you can watch it to see a fine presentation of an imperfect but remarkable man.


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