Viva Villa!

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Viva Villa!
Viva Villa!.jpg
original Italian lobby card
Directed by Jack Conway
Howard Hawks
William Wellman
Produced by David O. Selznick
Written by Ben Hecht
Howard Hawks
James Kevin McGuinness
Howard Emmett Rogers
Based on Viva Villa! (book) 
by Edgecumb Pinchon
O.B. Stade
Starring Wallace Beery
Fay Wray
Leo Carrillo
Music by Herbert Stothart
Cinematography Charles G. Clarke
James Wong Howe
Gabriel Figueroa
Edited by George Amy
Distributed by MGM
Release dates
  • April 10, 1934 (1934-04-10)
Running time
115 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget over $1 million[1]

Viva Villa! is a 1934 American film starring Wallace Beery as Pancho Villa and was written by Ben Hecht, adapted from the book Viva Villa! by Edgecumb Pinchon and Odo B. Stade. The picture 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.

The film is a fictionalized biography of Pancho Villa starring Beery, Leo Carrillo and Fay Wray. The supporting cast features Donald Cook, Stuart Erwin, Henry B. Walthall, Joseph Schildkraut and Katherine DeMille.



During filming, Lee Tracy was originally cast in the role of the reporter, but he was an alcoholic who could not or would not stop his drinking. This led to a serious incident in Mexico City. According to a man and his daughter,during a parade, Tracy, having just taken a bath, came out on the balcony clad only in a towel, and, instead of "ole"ing the marchers, subjected them to a screeching tirade of insults, during which his towel fell off, and finished by urinating on the paraders.A much milder account portrayed him as exchanging insults with a Mexican (who started the exchange). This was an international incident. Despite official orders to remain in Mexico pending an investigation of the outrage, Tracy flew back to the U.S.A. on the next plane. He found upon his return that his contract with MGM had been cancelled. MGM apologized to the Mexican government and assured them that Mr.Tracy had been fired for this incident. He was replaced by another actor and all his scenes reshot. Radicals demanded that the filming stop and the film, which they saw as insulting to Mexico, be scrapped. Tracy never worked for MGM again,but found work with other film companies.


The film was very popular at the box office.[2]


The picture was nominated for the following Academy Awards:[3]

In popular culture[edit]

Viva Villa! partially inspired the creation of Elia Kazan's 1952 film Viva Zapata!, written by John Steinbeck and starring Marlon Brando and Anthony Quinn.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ David Thomson, Showman: The Life of David O. Selznick, Abacus, 1993 p 181
  2. ^ Churchill, Douglas W. The Year in Hollywood: 1934 May Be Remembered as the Beginning of the Sweetness-and-Light Era (gate locked); New York Times [New York, N.Y] 30 Dec 1934: X5. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
  3. ^ "The 7th Academy Awards (1935) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-08-07. 

External links[edit]