The Mexican-American War was one of the most important wars in U.S. history – its outcome extended U.S. territory all the way to the Pacific – but I can’t recall seeing a single movie about it. (Alamo movies don’t count – the Texas Revolution was a different war.)
None that come to mind.
But then, there are huge chunks of important and interesting American history that are overlooked by Hollywood. Name a movie about The Trail of Tears, for example, or the Seminole Wars.
Anything about how we put down the Filipino freedom fighers after we won the Phillippines from Spain after the Spanish-American War? Not exactly a bright spot on the record, but that would have made it more attractive to the “rebellious” 1960s-1970s filmmakers if any of them knew history.
There is rather little on WWI, which makes more sense*, and I think Charlie Wilson’s War is one of the few movies about what we did during the Cold War besides Vietnam and Korea.
*(Not that it’s justified. However, WWI is usually glossed over in history classes as the prequel to WWII. It is much more important than that, seeing as how WWI killed the monarchies of Europe and put Democracy on the fast track to success once the initial kinks were worked out.)
Wasn’t there an “Epic” movie made about the Alamo a few years back? I never bothered seeing it…
You could take just one actor, Gary Cooper, and in his filmography alone find movies on just about every one of the events mentioned, with the exception of the Trail of Tears.
WWI films were fairly common in the silent era, with Wings and The Big Parade as the most well-known. A more recent WWI film is Flyboys, about the Lafayette Escadrille. For Coop, there was A Farewell to Arms (1932) and Sergeant York (1941). He also made one about the Seminole Wars, called Distant Drums (1951). For Mexican Wars, Coop made one about the Mexican insurrection against the French in 1866, called Vera Cruz, and one about Pershing’s punitive expedition into Mexico in 1917, called They Came to Cordura. (Ok, I haven’t found one yet about the 1844-45 Mexican War).
For the Philippine Insurrection, Coop made The Real Glory (1939), about training Philippine soldiers on Mindanao to fight the Moros in 1906.
The war occurred between the last two Zorro movies, and was kind of a glaring omission (One of several).
Do Pancho Villa movies not count, too? If they do, I keep wanting to rent “And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself” with Antonio Banderes. It just looks fun.
The war serves as backdrop for some early chapters in the novel and episode 2 of the mini-series North and South.
Well, it wasn’t a very cinematic war. Take the final battle of Cahuenga (which occurred after the war had ended, but they didn’t know). Both armies faced each other in the area of Los Angeles where Universal Studios is now located. The combat consisted of one canon being fired, which hit a donkey. Then Mexico surrendered.
Then it should be good material for a comedy!
Villa’s rebellion was way later.
The movie Ravenous takes place during the Mexican-American war and includes scenes from it at the beginning.
I don’t know. You could probably work up a good three-hanky film about Los Niños Héroes.
I have always viewed it as the rise of Communism and the set up for WWII. You are correct, considering the fall of the Austro Hungarian Empire, the loss of the English (qualified) ruling class and the fall of Turkey. No more Wilhelm II approaching Nicholas II with the “Admiral of the (my side your side) sea.”
Of course it changed the ways wars were fought; horses and infantry charges were out, machine guns, tanks and aircraft were in.
There was always Viva Villa and Zapata (or was it Viva Zapata?).
But an interesting one for me was Old Gringo with Gregory Peck and Jane Fonda and Jimmy Smits as Villa, and of course, there is always Villa Rides with Yul Brenner (as Villa interestingly enough), Robert Mitchem and Charles Bronson.
carnivorousplant: Your view seems to be the modern conventional one that keeps people from looking at WWI as much as they look at WWII. There are other reasons, the main one being that WWI veterans are nearly gone but WWII veterans are still a viable market, but also WWI, in isolation, was a great big stupid clusterfuck of a family feud with no reason behind it comprehensible to a rational mind. No wonder the 1920s went Absurdist.
But, again, it was still more than that: WWI proved that America would not remain absolutely isolationist and that it could be decisive on a world stage, both in peace and in war. The fact Wilson screwed up the peace and the League of Nations was nothing more than a dinner club is secondary to the fact Wilson was allowed such a large role in the first place. It was the beginning of the culmination of Theodore Roosevelt’s plan to put America on the forefront.
And this is still a European-centric view. What about the Chinese Civil War? That ran, kind of on and off, from 1911-1949 (the fall of the last Dynasty to the expulsion of the Republic of China to Taiwan, interrupted by some various periods of peace and the unification of China against Japan during WWII). Any serious English-language movies about that period of time? Killing off a major empire and putting a large fraction of the world’s population on boil for almost a half-century should rate a few epics.
Villa was born about 40 years after the war ended, though.
The Last Emperor.
The Sand Pebbles.