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Using a 'borrowed' airplane, American Lee Arnold (Robert Mitchum) runs guns to the Federales. A local blacksmith repairs the plane's landing gear, allowing Lee to meet the lovely Fina (Grazia Buccella). Federale officer Ramirez (Frank Wolff) rapes Fina and executes eight men including her father before Pancho Villa (Yul Brynner) counterattacks. Relieved of his money, Lee is prepared for execution by Villa's second in command, Fierro (Charles Bronson). But Villa bargains with Lee for his services as an aerial spotter and bombardier in a major battle. When Arnold complains that Villa delayed attacking the village to give the people more reason to hate the Federales, the General compensates by marrying Fina, restoring her honor. Unfortunately, Villa has married many women in the same way. More problems come from Villa's political rival General Huerta (Herbert Lom), who plots to ensure that Villa's army is wiped out in battle. The naïve President Madero (Alexander Knox) orders Villa not to cause trouble. Pancho takes a town without firing a shot, only to be arrested and put before a firing squad. Villa is convinced that his beloved President will intervene, but Madero is hundreds of miles away in Mexico City. […]
All of this is told through the experience of Robert Mitchum's Yankee aviator Lee Arnold, who wants a fast buck but keeps getting sucked into Pancho's idealistic battles. Like a fly on the wall, Arnold witnesses mass hangings and executions while never being particularly important to the plot. His girlfriend is raped and his money stolen, and he spends more than a little of his time hoping that Charles Bronson's trigger happy General Fierro won't use him for target practice.
The impressive production musters hundreds of costumed extras, an armed battle train and exciting aerial sequences with Arnold's WW1 pursuit plane. The pyrotechnics and stunt horse falls are expertly done. Top talent like ace British cinematographer Jack Hildyard put a gloss on all technical aspects, and the cast is quite capable. […] An unexpected casting success is Alexander Knox, a specialist in stuffy English authority figures. Knox is a compelling President Madero, and has a fine time play-acting in a black beard, mustache and wig.
Legend Films' DVD of Paramount's Villa Rides! is a very good enhanced transfer of elements in fine shape. The only funky shots are the barely-adequate blue screen composites that insert Mitchum into the airplane in flight. Another highlight is Maurice Jarre's spirited, classy score. It's not as lively as his work on The Professionals and some of the more lyrical passages clash with the violent subject matter, but Jarre's music is a definite plus. No extras are included. Unlike most of the other Legend releases, the cover graphic uses original poster art. --Glenn Erickson of DVDSavant.com
Top Customer Reviews
No extras, but an acceptable 2.35:1 widescreen transfer.
The story revolves around an early gunrunner who "borrows" a US biplane to deliver stolen guns to the Colorados army, which is suppressing the Mexican Revolution. He immediately gets into trouble and runs afoul of the Colorados and then the revolutionists who force him to fly for them. Ultimately, it's a retelling of Lawrence of Arabia, but that doesn't detract from its entertainment value.
Just having a little fun at Yul and Pancho's expense.
In reality I'm sure Pancho Villa would have been flattered having Yul Brenner
portray him in a film that shared a glimpse of his life - Hollywood style.
Though the quasi Robin Hood and hero of Mexico's history was a bit more violent(okay, way more violent-and real)than England's hero of the people.
Not to mention stouter, thicker...
I still liked the movie.
I first saw it at the theater way back when I was a young boy almost teenager.
Robert Mitchum was riding the last wave of his box office draw as a leading man (Mr. Moses,The Yakuza,El Dorado etc....)though I wasn't aware of it at the time and didn't care..still don't.
Not an Academy Award performance nor film nominee but I liked Mitchum, Brenner and Bronson (Charles Bronson as Pancho's right hand man/enforcer and comedy relief).definitely a more violent version of Robin's - Little John.The violence might be a bit of a turn off for the female viewer but put into comparison with movie graphics today...
So as far as my humble opinion goes in regards to this film.
Let me sum it up like this.
As a kid I remember my (now late) grandfather fondly relating one his childhood memories living in Mexico and seeing Pancho Villa ride into his village once ,twice, three times (Villa's long barrel pistol was described along with his great horsemanship skills).In fact over the many years I heard my grandfather tell of these glorious encounters in all their glamor,once twice,thrice...but unlike this Director's "Pancho" story, Grandpa's accuracy in detail was never questioned.
This is good because just like this Villa movie, I enjoyed his "Villa Rides" way back then and still do today.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's not that bad. Some parts of it are a bit stilted, but it is a decent flick to watch on the genre.Published 1 month ago by Bartok Kinski
This is a classic great movie great cast great director. A must see...Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is a western period piece when players may get killed but they never got dirty. Yul Bryner and Charles Bronson playing Mexicans and Robert Mitchum as the eponymous... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Jack Zubritsky
Excellent service and movie no problems with this purchase …Published 12 months ago by Helen Gillyon
Another classic adventure movie with great acting. Definitely watch this one!Published 14 months ago by Pastor Gary