Villa Rides is a 1968 American Technicolor western war film in Panavision directed by Buzz Kulik and starring Yul Brynner (in toupee) as Francisco Villa and Robert Mitchum as an American adventurer and pilot of fortune. The supporting cast includes Charles Bronson as Fierro, Herbert Lom as Huerta, and Alexander Knox as Madero. Sam Peckinpah wrote the original script and was set to direct but Brynner didn't like his depiction of Villa as cruel and had Robert Towne rewrite the script and sought another director. The screenplay is based on the biography by William Douglas Lansford.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Buzz Kulik|
|Produced by||Ted Richmond|
|Screenplay by||Robert Towne|
|Story by||William Douglas Lansford|
|Based on||Pancho Villa|
by William Douglas Lansford
|Music by||Maurice Jarre|
|Edited by||David Bretherton|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$1,200,000 (US/ Canada)|
Pulled into the Mexican Revolution by his own greed, Texas gunrunner and pilot Lee Arnold (Mitchum) joins bandit-turned-patriot Pancho Villa (Brynner) and his band of dedicated men in a march across Mexico battling the Colorados and stealing women's hearts as they go. However, each has a nemesis among his friends: Arnold is tormented by Fierro (Bronson), Villa's right-hand-man; and Villa must face possible betrayal by his own president's naiveté.
- Yul Brynner as Pancho Villa
- Robert Mitchum as Lee Arnold
- Maria Grazia Buccella as Fina
- Charles Bronson as Rodolfo Fierro
- Herbert Lom as Gen. Victoriano Huerta
- Robert Viharo as Urbina
- Frank Wolff as Ramirez
- Alexander Knox as President Francisco Madero
- Diana Lorys as Emilita
- Bob Carricart as Don Luis
- Fernando Rey as Fuentes
- José María Prada as Major
- Antoñito Ruiz as Juan
- Jill Ireland as Girl in restaurant
- Seyyal Taner as Guerrilla Girl
- Regina de Julián as Lupita
- Andrés Monreal as Capt. Herrera
Film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert, gave the film a mixed review, writing, "You would think an interesting picture could be made about Pancho Villa and the Mexican Revolution, a subject most Americans know next to nothing about. But we learn nothing except that Pancho was a romantic fellow who had a mustache and liked to have people lined up three in a row and killed with one bullet. (That scene, incidentally, got a big laugh.) Frankly, this kind of movie is beginning to get to me. You can enjoy one, maybe, or two. Or you can enjoy a particularly well done shoot-em-up. But the Loop has been filled with one action-adventure after another for the last month, and if Villa Rides is not the worst, it is certainly not the best."
Film critic A. H. Weiler wrote, "Yul Brynner, Robert Mitchum, cavalry, politicos and even the faint strains of "La Cucaracha" fail to disguise the fact that Villa Rides which dashed into the Forum Theater yesterday, is simply a sprawling Western and not history. As such it incessantly fills the screen with the din of pistols and rifles, and assorted warfare and wenching, shot in sharp color on rugged Spanish sites that strikingly simulate Mexico. Any resemblance to the 1912-1914 campaigns of the bandit-revolutionary in the cause of liberal President Madero and against General Huerta is purely coincidental."
- "Big Rental Films of 1968", Variety, 8 January 1969 p 15. Please note this figure is a rental accruing to distributors.
- Villa Rides on IMDb
- Ebert, Roger. Chicago Sun-Times, film review, June 25, 1968. Accessed: June 21, 2013.
- Weiler, A.H. The New York Times, film review, July 18, 1968. Accessed: June 21, 2013.