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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:

...TOO BIG FOR HOLLYWOOD...it was dramatized in the heart of Mexico, with a cast of thousands! 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

After Howard Hawks bowed out as director, William A. Wellman did some uncredited help before Jack Conway took over. 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

Featured in Madero of Mexico (1942) 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

 
Should Have Been Viva Madero
7 December 2007 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

I'm still not clear on how MGM got away with this film. Pancho Villa had only been dead for 10 years and his famous raid on Columbus, New Mexico almost 20 years. Surely not enough time for people to have forgotten Villa or what he did.

But the most famous thing he did, raid into the USA and provide a pretext for intervention into Mexican affairs, is completely forgotten by this film. The Villa we see here is a lovable lug of a guy, a typical Wallace Beery part who gets his social conscience awakened by Francisco Madero and gives up banditry to become a revolutionary.

If you're a big fan of Wallace Beery and liked him in such films as Min and Bill and Treasure Island than Viva Villa is simply an extension of the characters he played there.

Actually I think the most interesting character in the film is that of Francisco Madero. Henry B. Walthall's performance is the best and I wish Walthall had starred in a film where he was the central character. Madero was as you see in the film a man of high ideals, betrayed and assassinated by his supporters. But it was hardly Pancho Villa who took vengeance on his betrayers. After long time Mexican dictator Porfirio Diaz was overthrown in 1911 and then Madero assassinated in 1912, Mexico fell apart much like the former Yugoslavia did almost 20 years ago. Civil war raged there for a generation. Eventually it united under the PRI party which elected all of its presidents until Vicente Fox.

I've never really liked this film, it stray so far from the facts it's laughable. The players go through their familiar roles and it's a good cast that Howard Hawks later Jack Conway put through their paces. Of course the most famous story coming out of this film is about Lee Tracy getting blotto and going out on a balcony and raining on some Mexican soldiers. Got him fired from the film and Stu Erwin got the break and Tracy's part as the newspaper reporter who popularizes Villa.

If in fact you consider it a break Erwin got to be in Viva Villa.


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