And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself

2003

Biography / Drama / History

0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 53%
IMDb Rating 6.5 10 3337

Keywords:   biography, mexico, mexican revolution, pancho villa

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
April 22, 2022 at 02:58 PM

Cast

Alexa Davalos as Teddy Sampson
Antonio Banderas as Pancho Villa
Michael McKean as William Christy Cabanne
Kyle Chandler as Raoul Walsh
720p.WEB
1 GB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 51 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by The_Void 6 / 10

Excellent account of an absurd true story

Pancho Villa is a Mexican general who makes a deal with a movie studio where he will get $25,000 in gold, in exchange for the rights to film his battles. This is quite an absurd idea, especially as it leads to certain battles being 'made to measure' for the camera, and it becomes even more absurd when you realize that this is actually a true story. Yes, that's right; And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself is actually a film about the making of another film from 1914, known as 'The Life of General Villa'. The film is a little like Shadow of the Vampire, in that it depicts the making of an old film, using today's actors to play the people involved in the making of the old film. This film was made for American TV, and to me this seems a great injustice and a commentary on what the American film industry thinks of it's audience. Like 1995's Citizen X, the only reason that I can think of as to why this wasn't given a cinema release is that it would be lost on it's potential audience.

The film features a number of familiar faces. People that you often see in films, but don't know their names. Here we have the excellent Alan Arkin, who's one of my favourite 'smaller' stars without a doubt, Jim Broadbent, Eion Bailey and Anthony Head from the rubbish 'Buffy' program also makes an appearance. The real acting plaudits, however, go to Antonio Banderas for his complete embodiment of the title character. I've heard a number of people say bad things about Antonio in this movie, but I have no idea why; here he gives what is probably the best performance of his career. In fact, he is so good that after a while you forget that you're watching an actor and it actually seems like Pancho Villa really is starring as himself. This does the movie no end of favours on the reality front as it continually switches between the movie that they're making and the reality of Pancho Villa's revolution. This movie does an excellent job of catching an authentic Mexican atmosphere, and this is made even finer by way of an excellent, subtle, score.

The battles in the film are excellently staged, and also quite violent and bloody; which is always nice to see. That came as something of a surprise to me as, with this being a TV movie, I wasn't expecting the battles to be particularly well done. The message that this film has seems to be that people can be made to believe anything. As one character professes at one point in the film, "the lens is mightier than the sword", and through the way that the film shows the difference between what the film that the characters are making shows and what the truth is; this message comes across loud and clear.

Please don't miss this movie because it is cursed with '(TV)' after it's title; as although it isn't a masterpiece, it most definitely is well worth seeing.

Reviewed by ma-cortes 6 / 10

Antonio Banderas makes an insightful portrayal of the Mexican revolutionary leader

The film chronicles about the title role,the Mexican bandit and guerrilla leader, with broadened focus on the filming his life and actual war.Mexican revolutionary urges funds to finance the battles against the Huertas government.Great director D.W.Griffith(Colm Feore)sends Frank Thayer(Eion Bailey)and crew as Raoul Walsh(Kyle Chandler) pull off the shooting the events around Pancho Villa.Thayer converts annoyed and disappointed by the rebel.

This vibrant film an uneven rehash of Pancho Villa legend including strong violence,profanities,epics battles and bloody scenes. Antonio Banderas plays the famous and rowdy bandit,he is perfect in title role.Remainder casting is frankly well:Alan Arkin,Colm Feore(Griffith),Michel McKean,Kyle Chandler..Another films about Villa feats are : the classic ¨Viva Villa¨with Wallace Beery,forever belongs this role;¨Villa¨with Rodolfo Hoyos and Brian Keith; ¨Villa riders¨with Yul Brynner,¨Pancho Villa¨with Telly Savalas and Clint Walker.

The picture is based on true events,thus : Pancho Villa born in Chihuahua with the name Doroteo Arango,from his peasant upbringing he became an outlaw in his youth and adopted the name Francisco Villa from another outlaw.He played a leading role in the Mexican Revolution(1910-1920),winning many victories (as Torreon battle narrated in the film).For a time Villa,who seemed in line for leadership of Mexico,enjoyed the agreeable interest of the United States government;but William Randolph Hearsts media empire's press campaign against him and USA authorities then dropped Villa and supported his rival,Carranza.Villa's resentment resulted in the revenge raid on Columbus(deeds narrated in another films but no here) by General Pershing's column.Unable to suppress Villa by force,the Mexican government purchased his retirement from the political arena as a weary, disillusioned political liability with a handsome pension and large estate.Villa was assassinated in 1923 when gunmen ambushed his car.

Reviewed by steve_b33 8 / 10

A revolutionary history

As the blurb puts it - a story so improbable.....it must be true.... Set during the Mexican revolution of 1914 its the story of revolutionary hero Pancho Villa and his rather shrewd manipulation of the media - the Mutual Film Company led by the ever marvellous Jim Broadbent are contacted by Villa and offered to film the struggle.Star director DW Griffiths thinks its a great idea and Broadbent's nephew Frank Thayer(Eion Bailey) is dispatched south of the border with a bag containing $25 000 in gold as payment.Villa(Antonio Banderas) soon has them filming during actual battles and inspiring Frank with his dreams of a free Mexico. They return with the film but its fairly amateurish and gets laughed off screen - Frank somehow persuades his uncle to part with even more money and this time use actors like Raoul Walsh to play Villa and add some artistic licence to proceedings. There follows a very funny scene where Boradbent gets Villa to agree to only fight during the day(when they can film) and if they miss any battles to re-enact them for the cameras - Villa is appalled at the liberties taken with his lifes story but Frank explains its what the audience wants to see and will help his cause no end - something he needs as William Randolph Hearst's press empire is starting a campaign to get the US to invade Mexico to protect America's lifeblood - Oil.

Its a great little movie - made by HBO its a TV movie but Bruce Beresford directs as if its for the big screen - epic adventure,lavish battles and romance all intermingle to great effect - Banderas is excellent as Villa - a bit of a ham who is far more savvy than he lets on - the scene where he plays himself as the aged El Presidente is priceless - it doesn't shy away from the cruelties of both sides either - in fact this cruelty is what finally drives the friendship between Frank and Villa apart - although the way its used in the final film is a more than ironic touch. Fine support from Broadbent and Alan Arkin as a machine-gunning Brooklyn Jew add to the rounded cast and its picked up a really good reputation on DVD and its easy to see why......

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