Hollywood makes a deal with Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa to film his war and recreate his life.

Director:

Bruce Beresford

Writer:

Larry Gelbart
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 8 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Antonio Banderas ... Pancho Villa
Eion Bailey ... Frank Thayer
Alan Arkin ... Sam Drebben
Jim Broadbent ... Harry Aitken
Matt Day ... John Reed
Michael McKean ... William Christy Cabanne
Colm Feore ... D.W. Griffith
Alexa Davalos ... Teddy Sampson
Anthony Head ... William Benton (as Anthony Stewart Head)
Kyle Chandler ... Raoul Walsh
Saul Rubinek ... Eli Morton
Cosme Alberto Cosme Alberto ... Abraham Sanchez
Damián Alcázar ... Gen. Rodolfo Fierro
Pedro Armendáriz Jr. ... Don Luis Terrazas (as Pedro Armendáriz)
Fernando Becerril ... Priest
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Lights. Camera. Revolution.


Certificate:

TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While filming a battle between the forces of Pancho Villa and federal troops near Ojinaga for Life of Villa (1912), cameraman Charles Rosher was captured by federal soldiers and brought before their commanding general. Rosher thought he was about to be executed as a spy, and things didn't look too good for him until the Mexican general noticed Rosher's Masonic pin in his lapel. The general then gave Rosher the Masonic greeting; it turned out he was a Mason, too. Instead of being shot as a spy, Rosher was treated as a guest, and was later released after the Mexican government made a deal with the American government that allowed their troops to cross into American territory in order to outflank Villa's forces and attack them from the rear. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Pancho Villa: [after hearing a gunshot] Sometimes justice can be loud.
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Connections

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

Soundtracks

On a Tree by a River a Little Tom Tit
from "The Mikado"
Written by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan
Performed by John Reed, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company
Courtesy of Decca Music Group Limited
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User Reviews

 
To the major studios....take a hint
15 September 2003 | by guymovieSee all my reviews

I did not expect the premise of the movie to work but it did. This story line and the wonderful way it was developed and portrayed on screen is so much missing in the fare presented by the major studios any more. I had to put my book down! Antonio Banderas so thoroughly submerges himself into the character that after awhile he BECAME Pancho Villa. He made Pancho Villa at once hero and villain; resolute and uncertain; stoic and tender. Best of all, there was no attempt to wrap the feature up in a tidy bow at the end.

I have my TIVO permanently locked on HBO.

I am curious about the original film - The Life of General Villa (1914) - in which IMDB shows only two performers, Pancho Villa and Raoul Walsh.


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Details

Official Sites:

HBO Films

Country:

USA | Mexico

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 September 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself See more »

Filming Locations:

Guanajuato, Mexico See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

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