Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Antonio Banderas plays the title role in this cable-TV reenactment of a little-known chapter in the life of Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa. The year is 1914: With Villa's war of rebellion against the Huerta forces going badly, he hits upon a brilliant method to finance his crusade. Actually, the idea is brought to him: American filmmakers D.W. Griffith (Colm Feore) and Harry Aiken (Jim Broadbent), then busy at work on The Birth of a Nation, approach Villa with a request that he sell them the movie rights to his revolution. Acting as Griffith and Aiken's representative, junior executive Frank Thayer (Eion Bailey) tags along with Villa as the rebel leader willingly "directs" the film of his campaign, even going so far as to delay mass executions until early morning so that the cameramen won't "lose the sun." Ultimately, Villa's dreams of cinematic glory are dashed when the American public, goaded on by certain special interest groups, turns against Pancho and his noble cause. By turns comic, tragic, gruesome, and ironic, And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself was first telecast by HBO on September 7, 2003.
battle [war], battlefield, filmmaker, film-producer, friendship, General, Mexican-Revolution, rebel-leader, strategy