Classic Film Review- The Alamo (1960 film)

The Alamo is one of the few films that John Wayne directed, produced, and starred in. It is presented as a war epic, and though it takes several liberties with the historical events, it is one of his masterpieces. His co-stars include:  Frankie Avalon, Patrick Wayne, Linda Cristal, Joan O’Brien, Chill Wills, Joseph Calleia, Ken Curtis, Ruben Padilla, Richard Boon, and that is just a few. 

The film depicts the events leading up to the Battle of the Alamo, the siege, and later the final battle. It starts with General Sam Houston giving orders to Colonel William Travis to protect the Alamo as it is strategic to Texas independence. Jim Bowie arrives with reinforcements and Davy Crockett arrives with volunteers from Tennessee. 

At first, his men are hesitant to join the fight, but Crockett forges a note from Santa Anna, the President of Mexico suggesting they surrender or die. This angers the men, even after Crockett admits to the forgery, they all agree to stay to help the Texas Army. 

Though Travis and Bowie seem confident that they can hold off the assault from Santa Anna’s army, while waiting from reinforcements from Col. James Fannin, but Crockett senses that Santa Anna is planning something big.

The film borrows themes from the Cold War. It is very obvious that Santa Anna represents Communism and the Alamo fighters are Americans fighting for freedom. Despite this, the film is very respectful to both armies, showing there are heroes on both sides. 

As I stated earlier, there are historical inaccuracies, this film does its best to show the final battle in a true way. It relies a lot on legend, such as the line in the sand, Davy Crockett destroying the armory so it could not be captured, etc. 

Despite these things, I am surprise John Wayne did not direct more films. It is well developed and the acting is great. The score by Dimitri Tionkin, an Academy Award winning composer, is fantastic. It steps up each moment in the perfect way. John Wayne also approaches Davy Crockett in a new way. As opposed to the smiling, comical old soldier, he is portrayed as a brilliant tactician and a smart commander. It is a great film that does not need special effects, but instead relies on realism and good storytelling. 

FAVORITE QUOTES: I hope they remember. I hope Texas remembers. 

PARENTAL CONCERNS: Language and war violence

Be sure to subscribe for more classic film reviews and don’t forget August is Texas Month! 

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