...TOO BIG FOR HOLLYWOOD...it was dramatized in the heart of Mexico, with a cast of thousands!
In this fictionalized biography, young Pancho Villa takes to the hills after killing an overseer in revenge for his father's death...
115 min, USA:110 min (Turner library print)
1.37 : 1
Mexico, Army, Revenge, General, Pancho Villa
Black and White
Political Unrest, Righting the Wronged, Out For Revenge
Forceful, Gritty, Rousing, Tense
Has Detailed Data (New)
1, 2, 3
US Box Office
Country Of Origin
Viva Villa! is a 1934 American Pre-Code film starring Wallace Beery as Pancho Villa and was written by Ben Hecht, adapted from the book Viva Villa!. The film was shot on location in Mexico and directed by Jack Conway. There was uncredited assistance with the script by Howard Hawks, James Kevin McGuinness, and Howard Emmett Rogers. Hawks and William A. Wellman were also uncredited directors on the film.
Has Detailed Data (New)
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Wiki Bio Text
Viva Villa! (1934)
Directed by Jack Conway / Howard Hawks
Genres - Action | Sub-Genres - Biopic [feature] | Run Time - 115 min. | Countries - USA |
Synopsis by Hal Erickson
A far from factual filmed biography of Mexican patriot Pancho Villa, Viva Villa! was written by lengendary screenwriter Ben Hecht. We first meet the young Villa when his father is beaten to death after protesting Diaz' seizure of the Mexican peons' land. Pancho exacts a temporary revenge by knifing one of his father's killers, then heads for the hills, where he organizes a band of renegades. As he "matures," Pancho is played by child actor Phillip Cooper and adult star Wallace Beery. Though ruthless in his treatment of the rich, Pancho is a hero to the poor, who receive the spoils of Villa's raids. Befriended by American reporter Johnny Sykes (Stuart Erwin), Villa becomes internationally famous thanks to Sykes' articles concerning his exploits. Pancho also finds a strong ally in Don Felipe de Castillo (Donald Cook), who introduces the rebel bandit to Madero (Henry B. Walthall), the leader of the peon revolt. Madero convinces Villa to join forces with him, the better to oust the Diaz regime. His principal rival in this goal is ambitious General Pascal (Joseph Schildkraut), who intends to set up an even more despotic regime once Diaz is eliminated. Emerging victorious in his fight against the federales, Villa is encouraged to go back home by Madero. Illiterate and dangerously naïve, Villa quickly runs into trouble with the new government, giving Pascal a chance to humiliate his former "comrade in arms." Later, Pascal shows his true colors by assassinating Madero and assuming control of Mexico. Thirsting for revenge, Villa and his men go on a bloody rampage, culminiating in the ritualistic murder of the treacherous Pascal (he is staked out on an anthill and covered with honey). Made president of Mexico upon the elimination of Pacal, Villa once more finds himself in over his head. Unable to deal with political infighting, Villa retires to his ranch. One day, after running into his old friend Johnny Sykes (Stu Erwin), Villa is shot and mortally wounded by his onetime friend Don Felipe, who holds Pancho responsible for the death of his sister Teresa (Fay Wray). As he dies, Villa begs Johnny to tell him what his epitaph will be. Improvising quickly, Johnny tells of Villa's love for Mexico and his many accomplishments. Partially filmed on location in Mexico, Viva Villa was plagued with a multitude of production problems, not least of which was the diplomatic gaffe committed by Lee Tracy, the film's original Johnny Sykes: While standing on a balcony watching a military parade, an inebrieated Tracy relieved himself on the troops below and was immediately fired. Another crisis arose when the Mexican government objected to star Wallace Beery, on the grounds that Beery usually played villains or buffoons. Despite these and other setbacks, Viva Villa was finally completed under the assured directorial hand of MGM troubleshooter Jack Conway and the expert supervision of David O. Selznick. Though some critics objected to the film's violence, Viva Villa was a financial success.
Viva Villa! (1934)
1h 55min | Biography, Western | 27 April 1934 (USA)
In this fictionalized biography, young Pancho Villa takes to the hills after killing an overseer in revenge for his father's death. In 1910, he befriends American reporter Johnny Sykes. Then a meeting with visionary Francisco Madero transforms Villa from an avenging bandit to a revolutionary general. To the tune of 'La Cucaracha,' his armies sweep Mexico. After victory, Villa's bandit-like disregard for human life forces Madero to exile him. But Madero's fall brings Villa back to raise the people against a new tyrant...
- Written by Rod Crawford
Directors: Jack Conway, Howard Hawks (uncredited) | 1 more credit »
Writers: Ben Hecht (screen play), Edgecumb Pinchon (suggested by the book by) (as Edgcumb Pinchon) | 1 more credit »
Stars: Wallace Beery, Fay Wray, Leo Carrillo
Peasant, Reporter, Robbery, Power-Struggle, Patriotism, President, Ranch, Out For Revenge, Political Unrest, Righting the Wronged, Rebel-Leader, Revolution
Couple Profile Source
historical Event, Conspiracy, Torture, Whipping, Loyalty, Peon, Statesman, attempted Rape, bank Clerk, gunshot Wound, death Of Child, based On Book, based On Novel, character Name In Title, Mexican Revolution, Chihuahua, Brother Sister Relationship, Assassination, drunkenness Is this relevant? santa rosalia mexico, Execution, Betrayal, Murder, Historical Fiction, Eaten Alive, Death Of Title Character, Dead Body, Corruption, Bugle, Ants, Party, Mexico City, Juarez, El Paso Texas, Hanging, Banquet, Tortured With Ants, Shot To Death, Public Humiliation, Oppression, Mock Trial, Loss Of Sister, Loss Of Friend, Loss Of Father, Illiteracy, Honey, Pancho Villa, Bandit, Exile, Evil Man, Vulture
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