Spanish American War Movies

Thursday, April 28 by Annette Smith

Are you having trouble finding Spanish American War movies? While several motion pictures were produced between 1898 and 1901 (during the Spanish American War and subsequent Philippine Revolution) Hollywood has produced very few feature films on the subject. Here are nine great films to explore. Arranged alphabetically, the list features romantic war dramas, action-adventure films, documentaries, film shorts, and even a musical. Many of the movies are award winners.

  1. “Acros The Pacific.” “Across The Pacific” is a romantic 1926 war drama set just after the Spanish American War. The story centers on a soldier assigned to find the leader of a band of rebels in the Philippines. To accomplish his mission, he must romance a cabaret spy working for the rebels, which doesn’t sit well with his commanding officer’s daughter. Monte Blue, Jane Winton, and Myrna Loy star in this black-and-white silent film.
  2. “The Buffalo Soldiers.” “The Buffalo Soldiers” is a 1992 television movie. Starring Alpheus Merchant and Colin Powell, the film documents the heroism of the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments of the U.S. Army. These troops, composed of black soldiers, distinguished themselves in combat during the Spanish American War. The documentary film begins and ends with video footage from a dedication ceremony for the Buffalo Soldier monument at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
  3. “Citizen Kane.” “Citizen Kane” is a 1941 mystery drama starring Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton, and Dorothy Comingore. A wealthy publishing magnate is the movie’s focus. Following his death, newspaper reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his last words. Flashbacks reveal, among other things, the publisher’s manipulation of public opinion for the Spanish American War. Considered one of the greatest films of all time, this classic black-and-white movie won an Academy Award.
  4. “A Message To Garcia.” “A Message To Garcia” is a 1936 historical drama starring Wallace Beery, Barbara Stanwyck, and John Boles. Set in the middle of the Spanish American War, the film is a dramatized account of Lt. Rowan’s delivery of a message from President McKinley to General Garcia, head of the Cuban Revolutionary Army. Although the black-and-white classic portrays real-life events, fictionalized characters were added to the film.
  5. “Pursued.” “Pursued” is a black-and-white film noir starring Robert Mitchum, Teresa Wright, and Judith Anderson. The 1947 movie tells of an orphan raised by a neighboring family. While he has great affection for his foster mother and sister, his relationship with his foster brother is strained. Losing a coin toss to the foster brother, the man becomes the family’s designated volunteer as a fighter in the Spanish American War.
  6. “Rough Riders.” “Rough Riders” is a 1997 TV mini-series about future U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, known as the Rough Riders. The film’s focus is the Battle of San Juan Hill, a major part of the Spanish American War. The film series won several film awards, including an Emmy Award. Tom Berenger, Sam Elliott, and Gary Busey star in the film.
  7. “Stars And Stripes Forever.” “Stars And Stripes Forever” is a 1952 musical biography about the life of John Philip Sousa, composer of the patriotic march, “Stars and Stripes Forever.” The film follows Sousa’s career from his days in the U.S. Marine Corps Band to his involvement in the Spanish American War. This Golden Globe-nominated film stars Clifton Webb, Robert Wagner, and Debra Paget.
  8. “Teddy The Rough Rider.” “Teddy The Rough Rider” is a 1940 biographical short film that follows the political career of Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States. Among other events, his charge up San Juan Hill during the Spanish American War is recreated in the film. This Oscar-winning film stars Sidney Blackmer, Pierre Watkin, and Arthur Loft.
  9. “Texas Trail.” “Texas Trail” is a 1937 action adventure movie set during the Spanish American War. The story centers on Hopalong Cassidy and his Bar-20 Ranch friends, charged with rounding up wild horses for Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders. William Boyd, Russell Hayden, and George “Gabby” Hayes stars in this classic black-and-white film.

-Annette Smith


  1. April 28, 2011 10:58 pm


    Great article, a must read, especially for Hollywood Types. For those who think “buffoonery” is OK. One has to learn how to pull one-self up by the boot straps, before laughing.

    As in Bob Marley’s song, “Buffalo Soldiers”, the verse goes:
    “If you know your history,
    Then you would know where you coming from,
    Then you wouldn’t have to ask me,
    Who the ‘eck do you think I am.”

    How are a people kept down? ‘Never know’ their history.

    “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.”

    Dr. Carter G. Woodson 1875 – 1950

    “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”

    Marcus Garvey 1887-1940

    “A tree without roots can bare no fruit, it will die.”

    Erich Martin Hicks 1952 – Present

    Therefore, keep history alive by telling that history:

    Read the greatest untold fictionalized ‘historical novel’, Rescue at Pine Ridge, the first generation of Buffalo Soldiers. The website is: The greatest story of Black Military History…5 stars Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Youtube commercial:

    Rescue at Pine Ridge is the story of the rescue of the famed 7th Cavalry by the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers. This story is about, brutality, compassion, reprisal, bravery, heroism and gallantry.


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