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The Alamo (Widescreen Edition) (2004)

Westerns movie directed by John Lee Hancock

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A Much Maligned but Genuine Epic Film

  • Oct 1, 2004
THE ALAMO suffered in its theatrical release because of the flap it received in the media, articles condemning its production history and personal swings at far too many people. Had all of those gossipy rumors not surfaced, perhaps the public might have been able to view this solid American history re-enactment for what it is - a well written, character driven, well acted blockbuster grand movie. Yes, it is lengthy, but the length itself helps communicate the intensity and inevitable failure of the 13-day battle for the Alamo in 1836. Disparate characters are drawn together from various regions of the young United States for personal reasons, most of those reasons initially were in response to frontierism and greed, but gradually mutated into camaraderie and pride for country. The siege of the Alamo by the Mexican forces led by General Santa Anna (well portrayed by Emilio Echevarria) defeats and slaughters the likes of mythic heroes Davy Crockett (another fine performance imbued with subtlety by Billy Bob Thornton), Jim Bowie (Jason Patrick) and LtCol William Travis (a fine role for the increasingly interesting Patrick Wilson - 'Angels in America'). Within the walls of the Alamo we learn each character's private and public history, a technique in writing that makes the well-known defeat of this small band of clever men even more sad. Once the Alamo is taken, General Santa Anna decides to fragment his large army in order to attack the remaining general Sam Houston (Dennis Quaid), but Houston's lessons of Napoleon and Wellington were well learned and the final battle of the movie is ingenious. And Mexico ceded Texas to the US. A small but important character, Jaun Sequin (played by the gifted Argentinean actor Jordi Molla of 'Second Skin' and 'Blow' fame) brings continuity and closure to this grand scale movie in an intimate way that makes us all once again stop and consider about the madness of war. This well photographed, well-directed movie deserves wide attention!

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More The Alamo reviews
review by . April 13, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Some nice visuals and Thornton     Cons: Plodding story and boring action     The Bottom Line: Nothing great here, wait for the DVD     The classic siege of the Alamo comes to the big screen yet again this time with a mega-budget in “The Alamo”. The film stars Dennis Quaid as Sam Houston and Billy Bob Thornton as Congressman Davie Crockett and chronicles the events that would forever etch the name Alamo into American lore.   …
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Grady Harp ()
Ranked #96
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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Despite a troubled production history including a switch in directors, budget overruns, and delayed release dates,The Alamoturned out to be a remarkably intelligent mini-epic of corrective historical biography. Dispensing with the grandiose myth-making of previous films on this subject (including John Wayne's gung-ho1960 version), this well-written film breathes new, credibly dimensional life into the stodgy legends of Davy Crockett (Billy Bob Thornton), Jim Bowie (Jason Patric), and Lt. Col. William Travis (Patrick Wilson), who fought with 185 Anglo-"Texican" settlers (some historians claim their numbers were closer to 250) during the bloody 13-day siege by 5,000 Mexican soldiers at the titular San Antonio mission-turned-fortress in 1836. While Gen. Sam Houston (Dennis Quaid) anguishes over military strategy and reluctantly withholds much-needed support, the Alamo defenders face the unbeatable multitudes commanded by Mexican Gen. Santa Anna (Emilio Echevarria), and the screenplay (on which John Sayles was an early contributor, when Ron Howard was slated to direct) allows the central heroes to reveal a richer, more substantial humanity beneath their mythic reputations. Tackling his biggest production to date, director John Lee Hancock (who previously worked with Quaid onThe Rookie) reportedly shot 100 hours of footage, so it's almost miraculous that this 135-minute battle drama is so evenly balanced in telling its oft-told tale. Thornton was deservedly ...
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Director: John Lee Hancock
DVD Release Date: September 28, 2004
Runtime: 137 minutes
Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
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