And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself Reviews

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May 2, 2016
As a portrait of Villa (though a snapshot) this was highly accurate in capturing his character and persona as well as the general style of fighting and Villista mystique. Having just finished reading _Villa and Zapata_ I rather enjoyed this movie.
October 21, 2013
Well written screenplay conveys the true story of the absurdity of American business. Dashingly photographed with attention to the lighting, for a screen filled delight for the eyes. Believable acting makes the realism harsh and fun as we watch a real war with people dying. Health and safety was ignored during the original filming and Mexicans died. Nibbles: Mixiotes, Carnitas.
½ September 12, 2013
The movie begins with a bunch of elitist white men bickering about how they are going to make and profit from a live-action film of Pancho Villa as himself and his revolutionary Mexican army. I try to stay away from films about films. I appreciate Hollywood film and its history but movies about movie making tends to lose my interest. As this film moves along, we begin to see more of who Pancho Villa was and what his passions and motives were. The story seemed to shed light on Villa's life that is otherwise ignored or forgotten in history.
Banderas is the perfect Pancho Villa. No one could do it better. Unfortunately, the lead actor alongside Banderas was miscast in my opinion, (Eion Bailey). Alan Arkin's appearances are infrequent, which is good in my opinion because his humor and ruthless violence were tasteless and out of place. Its always nice to see Arken, even when he's collecting teeth from dead bodies, but his presence is a typical American filmmaker tactic to bring comic relief and bravo-machismo which relieved the film of some of its authenticity.
A commendable effort for a TV movie, (HBO). Still, the romanticizing of war and killing in light of making a movie (within a movie) strikes a moral chord for me. Even when it seemed that Frank Thayer (Bailey) and his small film crew became invested in more than just making a movie, they were willing to risk the lives of Pancho's Villistas in order to "get a better picture". The whole idea behind this is absurd. I don't care about movie contract disputes in the middle of the Mexican Revolution. But this film tries to make you care.

an execution speaks many words and tells a sad story. Many times in this picture people lose their life in the blink of an eye and it just serves as background noise, a prop, a distraction.
July 28, 2013
This movie was ok. I felt I learned something about an interesting time in both the US and Mexico's history.
July 24, 2013
Antonio Banderas delivers a remarkable performance in this interesting movie about an important period of the life of Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa. It presents convincingly the historical period and the early days of cinema, but it wasn't as good as it could have been since the direction was too average, and albeit it had some fascinating moments, it wasn't at all engaging.
½ January 29, 2013
Fascinating movie... Opened a whole new era of history I wasn't exposed too...
½ December 5, 2012
Pretty average portrayal, Well I know nothing about its historical accuracies so I can't judge
July 8, 2012
Fascinating and historically pretty accurate for Hollywood standards.
Super Reviewer
June 27, 2012
After nine years I finally had a chance to see this TV film starring Antonio Banderas as Pancho Villa. I was especially interested in this one because at the time of production was the most expensive 2-hour television/cable movie ever made, with a budget of over $30 million!

The story follows the filming of The Life of General Villa (produced and shot in 1914 by the legendary D.W. Griffith ) and is told through Frank N. Thayer, a studio boss's nephew who gets a career boost when he is placed in charge of the project. At that time, Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa (played by Antonio Banderas) finds himself without adequate funding to finance his war against the military government, and he decides to send emissaries to movie producers to convince them to pay to film his progress and the actual battles. Producer D.W. Griffith (Colm Feore) is immediately interested and convinces Mutual Film Studios boss Harry E. Aitkin to send a film crew.

The original movie was the first feature length movie, introducing Americans to the true horrors of war that they had never personally seen. It's sad that the original film has been lost, but some unedited film reels of the battle, showing Pancho Villa and his army fighting Federal forces, as well as photographs and publicity stills taken from the original film survived. Even the actual contract that Pancho Villa signed with Frank N. Thayer and the Mutual Film Company on January 5, 1914 to film the Battle of Ojinaga still exists and is in a museum in Mexico City.

This movie surprised me with the quality of the acting, screenplay, sound and camera work - pleasantly! It won a couple of awards, like2005 Art Directors Guild award for Excellence in Production Design and 2004 Emmy Award for "Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special". If you like history and want to know more about this part of it, rent it and enjoy it!
October 17, 2011
This was an excellent movie. great action, never saw so many peasant women get shot. Antonio Banderas nails this one he is Pancho .This isn't a biopic it's more of a collision of two different worlds and Americas fascination with so called heroic figures.and of course FAME and it's consaquences.This is definately one of my favorites
½ April 26, 2011
This movie is average. A good role by Antonio Banderas and other cast members. I feel like I would have gained alot more from it had I researched the real world events it purports to be based upon.
Super Reviewer
½ January 2, 2011
This is an excellent historical drama with a fine cast led by Antonio Banderas, and Eion Bailey. Well-written and directed, with plenty of action and interesting sidelights into a very complex central figure. It might not be totally factual, but it clearly states that at the beginning of the film--"this film will show how things could have happened". I really enjoyed this movie. It was well done, and the acting was top notch.
October 25, 2010
A good film in many regards. I have a problem relating to the characters but I appreciate the recreation of many true elements and the performance of Banderas is one of his finest
September 24, 2010
boring and excessive
September 16, 2010
Great acting and pretty balanced portrayal that doesn't go too far over the top one way or the other.
September 13, 2010
Banderas is very good and the plot is interesting but the film left me asking for more.
August 8, 2010
Never feels like anything more than an historical reenactment devoid of tension, nuance, and personality
July 12, 2010
The only complaint about this movie is that Antonio Banderas did not gain some more weight for the role. Other then that, the movie is awesome! Solid A!
June 6, 2010
WOW! Antonio Banderas and Eion Bailey were an awesome duo in this film. The story was brilliant and the footage was amazing, especially trying to bring back old-world Mexico. Must see!
February 7, 2010
Actually a pretty good production for a TV movie. Banderas is without a question a geat actor. The deal between Villa and Mutual Fund Co. with D.W.Griffith was indeed an historical fact. ¡Viva mi general Villa cabrones!
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