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The Alamo

Two major Hollywood motion pictures titled The Alamo have been made concerning the 1836 battle between 189 Texian and Tejano defenders and nearly 4,000 soldiers led by Mexican general Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna at the Alamo mission in San Antonio.

The Alamo (1960)

The first of these was released in 1960. It stars John Wayne as Davy Crockett, Richard Widmark as Jim Bowie, Laurence Harvey as William B. Travis, Frankie Avalon, Chill Wills, Patrick Wayne, Linda Cristal, Joseph Calleia as Juan Seguin, Ruben Padilla as Santa Anna and Richard Boone as Sam Houston.

The movie was written by James Edward Grant and directed by John Wayne. The film tells a highly romanticized, hagiographic version of events, in which the defenders are all portrayed as larger-than-life martyrs, and none of the Mexican characters is developed in depth. Critic Leonard Maltin has described the script as being "full of historical name-dropping and speechifying," but notes that the climactic battle scene is spectacular.

The Alamo won the Academy Award for Sound and was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Chill Wills), Best Cinematography, Color, Best Film Editing, Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture, Best Music, Song (Dimitri Tiomkin and Paul Francis Webster for The Green Leaves of Summer) and Best Picture.

The film is thought to have been denied winning more awards than the one it got due to an overblown campaign that alienated Academy voters, including one Variety ad that stated, in effect, that the film's producers were praying as hard for Chill Wills to win his award as the defenders of the Alamo themselves prayed the night before the battle.

For several years, the Alamo Theater in San Antonio, Texas played The Alamo repeatedly.

The Alamo (2004)

In 2003, a second major studio film about the legendary battle was shot and scheduled for release initially in December 2003 and then rescheduled for release in April 2004. This remake was directed by native Texan John Lee Hancock, and produced by Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, and Mark Johnson. Its script is credited to Hancock, John Sayles, Stephen Gaghan and Leslie Bohem. Its production budget was $95,000,000. Touchstone Pictures, a division of Buena Vista Distribution, handled US distribution.

It was shot near Austin, Texas between January and June 2003, mostly on a local property named Reimers Ranch. Here, what is reported to be the largest outdoor film set in history was built, comprising the entire Alamo mission and the nearby town of Bexar. The film's art direction devoted the greatest care to historical accuracy and verisimilitude; for instance, the mission's facade does not feature the well-known "hump" at the top, a detail that was actually added years after the battle during a restoration.

In contrast to the earlier 1960 film, the 2003 script makes an effort to depict the political points of view of both the Mexican and Texian sides. Santa Anna is featured as a much more prominent character.

The cast includes Billy Bob Thornton as a demythologized Crockett, Jason Patric as Bowie, stage actor Patrick Wilson as Travis, Dennis Quaid as Houston, Emilio Echevarría as Santa Anna, and Jordi Molla as Seguin.

See also: List of movies, List of actors, List of directors, List of documentaries, List of Hollywood movie studios

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