Mexican Revolution Films

Thursday, April 21 by Annmicha Blugh

Mexican revolution films highlight the slice of Mexico's embattled history related to the turbulent period between 1910 and 1920. The revolution was triggered by Porfirio Diaz' dictatorship and his claim to power, the struggle for limited resources and subsequent oppression of the people. Revolution movies are similar to cowboy movies since ranchers and warring "caudillo" gangs are involved, however, they are more political in nature. Mexican cinema also stands as a memorial of the Mexican revolution with scores of film retelling the historical happenings. 

  1. "And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself" (2003) is a recent Mexican revolution movie which casts light on the life of historic Mexican legend Pancho Villa. Played by Antonio Banderas, this film recognizes the contribution of revolutionary general Pancho Villa who was a key figure with military strategy to lead the revolutionary forces to victory. 
  2.  "A Fistful of Dynamite" (1972) is a Mexican Revolution film in which the revolutionary cowboys attempt to rescue political prisoners held captive by the government and criminal elements taking advantage of the perilous political climate. This explosive genre of  movie, called the Zapata Western, portrays one of the  central personalities of the Mexican revolution Zapata.  The imagery of  dynamite demonstrates the mercenary and political terrorist activities in blowing to bits banks and prisons. 
  3. "The Wild Bunch" (1969) is a Mexican Revolution film which involves bank robberies by a notorious, savage, gang. Along the way, the gangsters encounter Villistas, loyals of Pancho Villa. Filled with shootouts, base survival instincts and betrayals, this western movie represents to viewers clashes with the US Army, the Mexican army and the gangbangers who pledge no allegiance. 
  4. "Viva Zapata!" (1952) demonstrates the political upheavals in Mexico during the Mexican revolution. Played by Marlon Brando, Emiliano Zapata arises from humble peasantry  status in Mexico and stood as a powerful revolutionary who fights successfully against the Diaz regime, restores order and returns stolen resources to the poor.
  5. "Viva Villa!" (1934) gives some cinematic portrayal of the life of Pancho Villa, Mexican revolutionary who also fought against the Porfirio Diaz regime. In a mixture of historic accuracy and imagination, this story shows how Villa started on the path of being a revolutionary and shows through the lens of an American journalist, Villa's adventures. 
  6. "El Compadre Mendoza" (1934) also shows events of the Mexican Revolution. The lead actor, Rosalio Mendoza (Del Diestro) leads the life of a traitor who works with both the government forces of the Diaz regime and the revolutionary rebels. At a critical point, the game cannot continue and Mendoza ends up having to choose sides and declaring his loyalty. 

-Annmicha Blugh

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