The Alamo (1960)

Genres - Historical Film, Western  |   Sub-Genres - Epic Western, Historical Epic  |   Run Time - 167 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Michael Costello

Since John Wayne was unable to persuade friend John Ford to direct the star's long-cherished project on the historic event, he decided to get behind the camera himself, with better results than might have been expected. Although overlong, especially in its current three-hour-plus running time, and, at times, clumsy in staging, composition, and pacing, the film remains an entertaining experience. This is especially true of the excellent battle scenes, at least some of which were directed by Ford with the second unit. There are also bright moments early on, as the three principals, Davy Crockett (Wayne), Jim Bowie (Richard Widmark), and Col. William Travis (Laurence Harvey), vie for leadership of the beleaguered force. There's also an oversupply of the kind of tiresome horseplay Wayne thought of as comedy. The cast, which includes many Western veterans such as Chill Wills and Ken Curtis, is solid. Cowboy icon Richard Boone, in particular, excels as tough Governor Sam Houston. On the other hand, Patrick Wayne and Frankie Avalon look as though they've just wandered in from a beach movie.