And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself

Produced in 2003 for television by HBO, budget of $25 million (HBO's most expensive film to date), color 35mm negative, 1.78:1 screen ratio, digital sound, 112 mins.
Matt Day as John Reed

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"When you tell people about this story--that there was an American crew filming Pancho Villa in battle, in 1914 in Mexico--they say that's not true, that it is a fantasy, a legend," says Antonio Banderas. "But it is true. It happened." This film "reveals how Mexican Revolutionary Villa allowed a Hollywood crew to film him and his army as they fought the nationalist Huerta forces, altering the course of film and military history in the process. The adventure gets its start when early movie giants D.W. Griffith (Colm Feore) and Harry Aiken (Jim Broadbent), send a junior executive, Frank Thayer (Eion Bailey) to Mexico to persuade the cash-strapped, publicity-hungry Villa (Banderas) to let them film his revolution. Stepping into the literal crossfire, Thayer's crew risk their lives in the mingling of fiction and reality-and prove, ultimately, that "the lens is mightier than the sword." After a string of dangerous exploits, escapes and double-crosses worthy of a silent action short, Thayer and Villa make their movie, and "The Life of General Villa" is released in the U.S. to popular acclaim. The film turns public opinion in Villa's favor-- but the charismatic revolutionary never gets to see his star turn on the silver screen." -- quote from HBO film synopsis.

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revised 2/1/04 by Steven Schoenherr | Filmnotes