In 1836, a small band of soldiers sacrifice their lives in hopeless combat against a massive army in order to prevent a tyrant from smashing the new Republic of Texas.

Director:

John Wayne

Writer:

James Edward Grant (original screenplay)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Wayne ... Col. Davy Crockett
Richard Widmark ... Col. Jim Bowie
Laurence Harvey ... Colonel William Barret Travis
Frankie Avalon ... Smitty
Patrick Wayne ... Capt. James Butler Bonham
Linda Cristal ... Flaca
Joan O'Brien ... Mrs. Sue Dickinson
Chill Wills ... Beekeeper
Joseph Calleia ... Juan Seguin
Ken Curtis ... Capt. Almeron Dickinson
Carlos Arruza Carlos Arruza ... Lt. Reyes
Jester Hairston ... Jethro
Veda Ann Borg ... Blind Nell Robertson
John Dierkes ... Jocko Robertson
Denver Pyle ... Thimblerig (the Gambler)
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Storyline

In 1836, General Santa Anna and the Mexican Army is sweeping across Texas. To be able to stop him, General Sam Houston needs time to get his main force into shape. To buy that time he orders Colonel William Travis to defend a small mission on the Mexicans' route at all costs. Travis' small troop is swelled by groups accompanying Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett, but as the situation becomes ever more desperate Travis makes it clear there will be no shame if they leave while they can. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Mission That Became a Fortress, The Fortress That Became a Shrine See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the start of production on location just a few miles from the historic battle site, John Wayne had a clergyman say a prayer for the movie in front of the assembled cast and crew of 342, asking God to bless their work and help them produce a fitting testament to the brave men who died for the cause. See more »

Goofs

After Col. Travis reprimands Bowie, Crockett remains talking to him. At one point, Crocket leans his hands on his hips. Next long shot he appears with his arms crossed. See more »

Quotes

Tennesseean: We sure killed many brave men today.
Thimblerig: Funny, I was proud of 'em. Even while I was killing 'em, I was proud of 'em. It speaks well for men that so many ain't afraid to die when they think right is on their side. It speaks well.
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Alternate Versions

After its LA premiere the film was cut by approximately 26 minutes. It wasn't until 1992 that these scenes were restored for release on LaserDisc and VHS. As of April 2007 all DVD releases feature the shorter general release version. The following scenes were added back:
  • The original overture, intermission, theatrical trailer, and end themes;
  • The "Jefferson Speech" extended between Col. Travis & Cap. Dickinson;
  • The death of Emil Sand;
  • Conversation between Col. Travis & Col. Bowie regarding Col. Fannin;
  • The death of the Parson and Scotty;
  • Crockett's prayer following Parson's & Scotty's death;
  • The "Philosophical Debate" when the Alamo defenders talk about God;
  • More complete "Gunpowder Raid" scene;
  • Crockett's night with Senora;
  • Senora's brief scene with a fleeing young woman;
  • Birthday Party for Dickson's child;
  • Bonham's original report to Travis;
  • A slightly different Crockett death scene.
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Connections

Referenced in Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

Here's to the Ladies
Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Performed separately by Frankie Avalon and Chill Wills (uncredited)
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User Reviews

 
While not exactly accurate and a bit overlong, it was far better than I expected
1 October 2008 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Considering that THE ALAMO lost a ton of money when it debuted, I was amazed that despite its faults, the film is worth watching--though historically speaking, the film is far from perfect.

Let's talk about the historical problems with the film. It is true that General Santa Ana was indeed an idiot and one of the most inept leaders you could imagine (read up about "the Pastry War" and his leg's subsequent lavish funeral and you'll know what I mean). Nevertheless, one of the problems that Texans had with Mexican rule was that it would not allow slavery--not just that the General was a dumb dictator. This important fact was never mentioned and there was a rather insulting character of a slave who was given his freedom just before the Mexicans slaughtered everyone. In the film, he chose to stay and die and even went so far as to throw his body across his master's to try to prevent the master's death. While I suppose this could have happened, it is very doubtful. I think this was distorted because John Wayne (who bankrolled and directed the film) wanted to make a super-patriotic film and talking about the slavery debate would have definitely weakened his narrative--though I am sure the Black Americans who saw the film were offended. The Texans were patriots, but flawed as well.

An interesting contrast is how the Mexicans were portrayed in the film. Santa Ana's troops were portrayed as brave and loyal and Hispanics were humanized in the movie. In addition, John Wayne took quite a fancy to a lovely Mexican lady in the first half of the film. This sympathetic view is not surprising, though, as Wayne's real life wives were Mexican.

Despite the hyperbole and sentimentality that abounds in the film, you really do have to applaud the film for several reasons. The battle sequences are rather amazing and well-done. Also, some of the many little vignettes were rather moving and interesting. However, all these little touches did make the movie very, very long--probably about 10-20 minutes too long. Had it been tightened up a bit, it might have flowed better and prevented "butt fatigue" in the audience! The film just wasn't compelling enough during the first 3/4 of the film--though the movie did end on a very high note with the final battle. I actually love long films--but this one just didn't need to be.

I think overall that the film is a mixed bag--not nearly as bad as its reputation would suggest, is very exciting and has some excellent performances, though its rather one-dimensional view of the conflict and its extreme length have to be considered before you watch it.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

27 October 1960 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Alamo See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut) (1993 video release) | (1967 re-release) | (roadshow)

Sound Mix:

3 Channel Stereo (Westrex Recording System) (5.0) (L-R)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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