Pancho Villa in popular culture

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Pancho Villa was famous during the Revolution and has remained so, holding a fairly mythical reputation in Mexican consciousness, but not officially recognized in Mexico until long after his death.[1] As the "Centaur from the North" he was considered a threat to property and order on both sides of the border, feared, and revered, as a modern Robin Hood.

In Mariano Azuela's novel The Underdogs, anti-federal soldiers talk about him as an archetype of an anti-authoritarian bandit: "Villa, indomitable lord of the sierra, the eternal victim of all governments... Villa tracked, hunted down like a wild beast... Villa the reincarnation of the old legend; Villa as Providence, the bandit, that passes through the world armed with the blazing torch of an ideal: to rob the rich and give to the poor. It was the poor who built up and imposed a legend about him which Time itself was to increase and embellish as a shining example from generation to generation."[2] However, a little later, one character distrusts the rumors: "Anastasio Montañéz questioned the speaker more particularly. It was not long before he realized that all this high praise was hearsay and that not a single man in Natera's army had ever laid eyes on Villa."

Whatever the reality behind the legends, even after his defeat Villa remained a powerful character still lurking in the Mexican mind. In 1950 Octavio Paz wrote, in his morose but thoughtful book on the Mexican soul The Labyrinth of Solitude, "The brutality and uncouthness of many of the revolutionary leaders has not prevented them from becoming popular myths. Villa still gallops through the north, in songs and ballads; Zapata dies at every popular fair... It is the Revolution, the magical word, the word that is going to change everything, that is going to bring us immense delight and a quick death."[citation needed]

Pancho Villa remains a controversial figure in the United States. USA Today reported, "A terrorist in 1916, a tourist attraction in 2011. ... On Jan. 8, 1916, 18 U.S. businessmen were massacred by Villa's men in a train robbery in northern Mexico. It was not the first or last of Villa's atrocities; he personally shot a priest who begged for clemency for his villagers, as well as a woman who blamed him for her husband's death."[3]

In films, video, and television[edit]

Villa appeared as himself in the films Life of Villa (1912),[4] Barbarous Mexico (1913),[5] With General Pancho Villa in Mexico (1913), The Life of General Villa (1914)[6] and Following the Flag in Mexico (1916).[7]

Films based on Pancho Villa have appeared since the early years of the Revolution and have continued to be made into the twenty-first century. Hollywood's role in the shaping of the image of Villa, the Mexican Revolution, and U.S. public opinion has been the subject of a scholarly study.[8] The 1934 biopic Viva Villa! was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.[9][10] In 2003, HBO broadcast And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself, with Antonio Banderas as Villa that focuses on the making of the film The Life of General Villa.[11][12]

Actors who have portrayed Villa include:

In literature[edit]


  1. ^ Sherman, Scott (Winter 2000). "Living La Vida Grande". Dissent. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  2. ^ Azuela, Mariano (1915). "Chapter XX". Los de Abajo.
  3. ^ "Pancho Villa now celebrated in New Mexico". USA Today. 3 September 2011.
  4. ^ Fisher, Austin (6 February 2014). Radical Frontiers in the Spaghetti Western: Politics, Violence and Popular Italian Cinema. I.B.Tauris. p. 124. ISBN 9780857737700.
  5. ^ Damacio Tovares, Raúl (2002). Manufacturing the Gang: Mexican American Youth Gangs on Local Television News. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 43. ISBN 9780313318276.
  6. ^ Dash, Mike (6 November 2012). "Uncovering the Truth Behind the Myth of Pancho Villa, Movie Star". Smithsonian Mag. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  7. ^ Gevinson, Alan (1997). Within Our Gates: Ethnicity in American Feature Films, 1911-1960. American Film Institute. University of California Press. p. 343. ISBN 9780520209640.
  8. ^ Margarita de Orellana, Filming Pancho Villa: How Hollywood Shaped the Mexican Revolution: North American Cinema and Mexico, 1911–1917. New York: Verso, 2007.
  9. ^ "Do the wrong thing: 90 years, 90 movies that should have been nominated for Best Picture". The A.V. Club. Onion, Inc. 28 February 2018. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  10. ^ Ciampaglia, Dante A.; Schiling, Mary Kaye (23 February 2018). "All 90 Best Picture Oscar Winners, Ranked: Part 3—30 to 1". Newsweek. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  11. ^ Gallo, Phil (4 September 2003). "And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself". Variety. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  12. ^ Lloyd, Robert (6 September 2003). "Pancho Villa, the reel story". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  13. ^ "Walsh and Villa". Los Angeles Times. 10 August 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  14. ^ Butterfield, Beldon (31 December 2012). Mexico Behind the Mask: A Narrative, Past and Present. Potomac Books, Inc. p. 76. ISBN 9781612344263.
  15. ^ García Riera, Emilio (1987). México visto por el cine extranjero. Ediciones Era. p. 18. ISBN 9789684111639.
  16. ^ Gaytán, Marie Sarita (12 November 2014). ¡Tequila!: Distilling the Spirit of Mexico. Stanford University Press. p. 57. ISBN 9780804793100.
  17. ^ Pallot, James (1995). The Movie Guide. Berkeley Publishing Group. p. 961. ISBN 9780399519147.
  18. ^ International Motion Picture Almanac. Quigley Publications. 1947. p. 381.
  19. ^ Pitts, Michael R. (1984). Hollywood and American History: A Filmography of Over 250 Motion Pictures Depicting U.S. History. McFarland Publishing. p. 332. ISBN 9780899501321.
  20. ^ The BFI Companion to the Western. 1988. p. 232.
  21. ^ Rowan, Terry. Character-Based Film Series. Part 2. p. 67. ISBN 9781365021305.
  22. ^ Reed, Alan; Ohmart, Ben (2009). Yabba Dabba Doo!: The Alan Reed Story. BearManor Media. p. 96. ISBN 9781593933135.
  23. ^ Mi primer diccionario histórico de Coahuila y de las bellas artes: Diccionario de la lengua española para uso escolar. Editorial del Valle de Cándamo. 2004. p. 114. ISBN 9789687487090.
  24. ^ Rodriguez, Clara E. (2004). Heroes, Lovers, and Others: The Story of Latinos in Hollywood. Oxford University Press. p. 158. ISBN 9780195335132.
  25. ^ Katz, The Life and Times of Pancho Villa, p. 832.