Customer Reviews: Villa Rides
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Villa Rides is one of those films that's disliked not for what it is but what it isn't. It isn't the script that Sam Peckinpah wrote while trying to work his way out of directorial exile - Yul Brynner found Peckinpah's vision of Pancho Villa's cruelty too unsympathetic for his ego - and it isn't that much the version that Robert Towne rewrote either. But taken on its own terms, it's a decent south of the border oater that sees Robert Mitchum's gunrunning aviator first a prisoner and then a reluctant ally of Yul Brynner's Villa in the early, less successful days of his revolutionary career. Of course, even with hair casting Brynner as Villa in the first place is a bit like casting Jeff Goldblum as Fatty Arbuckle (Herbert Lom's General Huerte is no lookalike either, though he wouldn't be out of place as a Bond villain), but as long as you're willing to overlook little things like historical accuracy, it offers some spectacular battle scenes and enough efficient action to pass muster for a couple of hours. It's also of note for introducing Charles Bronson to his trademark Zapata moustache (and unfortunately his first co-starring role with Jill Ireland) as a Villista who likes shooting prisoners and for a great Maurice Jarre score that finally received a long overdue CD release in 2011 (El Condor / Villa Rides). And Peckinpah did at least get the chance to put all that research he did to good use when he took a trip down south of the border with William Holden, Robert Ryan and the rest of the Bunch...

No extras, but an acceptable 2.35:1 widescreen transfer.
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on April 21, 2004
Look for great performances by Yul Brynner, Charles Bronson, Robert Mitchum, and even Herbert Lom (as the villainous Gen. Huerta). Close enough to historical fact to be engaging, but dramatized enough to be entertaining, this movie deserves a bigger re-release, especially on DVD.

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.
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on June 3, 2015
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 "gringo' who aids them in their quest.
Is the story true to life? Who cares?
To see these three icons of the Western swagger through this horse opera is incredibly good fun. The picture is all desert and beige colors and the action is serious without being violent. And the end is never in doubt.
You'll end your two hours with a smile.
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on January 30, 2010
Ahhh Revolution etc. etc. etc.
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.
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on March 14, 2016
The film conflates the stories of real life american adventurers, Jack Berger, and Howard Rinehart. These two did in fact travel to Villa's HQ in Chihuahua with Wright airplanes. William A Lamkey also flew for Villa between April and July 1916 in a Martin TT.
Although the story is not historically 'accurate', nor is the aircraft shown period correct, it does give a flavor of what it must have been like to have been there at the time.
Some beautiful scenery, and lots of Sam Peckinpah action.
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on January 14, 2013
Saw this movie years ago and ran across it and bought it. It was a fun movie back years ago and still is. Great cast and lots of action...Makes you wish these guys were still alive and making movies.
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on March 8, 2014
Yep, this was a well-liked movie of mine from years ago and when the DVD arrived I sat down and watched it right away. Usually I may not watch a movie I've bought for months. No other reason being I just don't have that much time and the entire purpose for buying them is to have them available to watch when I want to. So, that works and I've not bought a bad DVD, Blu-ray at any time.

Yul Brynner, Robert Mitchum and Charles Bronson are a hard trio to beat in an easy-going Hollywood bio pic. It's fun and Herbert Lom is up to his usual deviousness. All 4 actors are long gone but they were always great in their roles, however large or small. So, pop the corn, sit back with a beverage, kick off your house slippers and get ready to enjoy. The movie is about to begin...
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on December 11, 2013
Great action movie, what a great cast, three terrific main stars, they just don't make em like this anymore. Pity Bronson and Mitcham didn't like each other very much, they were truly great stars in their day. This is a got to see movie.
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on October 22, 2013
Though it's strange to see Yul Brynner with black hair. The film is a tribute to Villa, and Big Bob Mitchum does well as the American mercenary willing to play both sides of the Revolution. Charles Bronson plays an interesting role as Villa's lieutenant Fierro, a real-life figure, and it takes one back to the days when Bronson was a character actor, before he had become a star. I recommend it.
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on November 15, 2014
A film partially-written by violence-master Sam Peckinpah, this film concerns an American gun-runner who---though reluctantly at first---joins the Revolutionary Army of bandit-turned-freedom-fighter Pancho Villa (Yul Brynner) in Villa's struggle to free Mexico from the oppression of Porfirio Diaz. This American , being an aviator, utilizes---with Pancho Villa's chief-lieutenant, Rudolpho Fierro (Charles Bronson, on the eve of his own stardom)---his airplane, thus creating the "original" Mexican Air Force. This is a MUST for lovers of Euro-westerns (this film was shot in Spain), Charles Bronson, Robert Mitchum, and Sam Peckinpah, who had originally co-wrote the screenplay and was slated to direct. AMAZON being AMAZON, this dvd arrived on-time and in excellent-condition. Enjoy !
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