The Mexican Revolution (Revolución Mexicana) 1910 -1920

Time Line of the Mexican Revolution

 The Revolution from 1910 -20 was very devastating to Mexico. An estimated 2 million were killed But it also destroyed the privileges of the Creoles and the virtual caste system gave rise to the mestizo nation , a sense of national pride and appreciation of Mexican culture called mexicanidad and a greater respect for women . Feudalism and debt peonage was ended , land was redistributed and unions were permitted to protect the rights of the workers .

Yaqui Indians of northern Mexico who have been captured after uprising against unjust seizure of their land. Sold as debt peons slaves to the infamous henequen (for rope and twine) plantations in the Valle Nacional,Yucatan where they faced a life expectancy of 6 months. It was cheaper to buy more Indian slaves than to keep them alive.Yanqi Indians made up a large part of the army of Obregon and fought with a desperate fury. Conditions such as these lead to the Mexican Revolution . Photo from the muckraker book Barbarous Mexico by John Kenneth Turner .



 The storm that swept Mexico, the Mexican Revolution


Video on the Mexican Revolution by the Mexican government


In May of 1910, Haley's Comet appeared over Mexico, a traditional Indian portent of war and disaster. However, below in Mexico, everything seemed well on the surface in the pax porfiriana. President Diaz, who had rules Mexico with an iron fist since 1876 was soon to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the start of the Mexican War of Independence against Spain and Diaz's 80th birthday. Lavish celebrations were held on the elegant Reforma Boulevard and half a million Mexicans came to watch. Leaders of the world heaped praise on the industrial progress and political stability brought about by Diaz. But underneath, anger was simmering over the injustice of decades.To stop the cycle of military revolts he offered pan o palo (bread or the stick). Ambitious political and military leaders were put on the gov payroll with high salaries or faced imprisonment or execution. "A dog with a bone neither bites or barks."

Diaz, while professing to respect the progressive institutions which Juarez, turned Mexico into a dictatorship and the constitutional government to a government which no longer depended for its sovereignty on the will of the people, but solely upon the army .


Villa and Zapata: A History of the Mexican Revolution

A detailed history of the revolutionaries


Federal soldiers


Following the advice of his cientifico (scientist) advisers who believed the Indian and mestizos (who made up 90% of the population) were only good for manual labor and their belief in social Darwinism, this huge class of people was not educated and systematically cheated of their land. Believing the Hacienda (large estates) were more efficient than traditional methods, many Indians and campesinos (farmers) lost their farms and became virtual slaves on the large haciendas.  The growth of railroads lead to a property bubble and Indians and farmers were tricked out of their land and the  ommunial egidos (shields) lands which had existed since the Spanish Conquest. Farmers went into debt peonage as they were tricked out of their land,often working on their former farms that had been taken by the haciendas. Poverty increased and workers wages remained low . Most large companies were foreign owned,paid little or no taxes and paid low wages. Foreign companies exploited Mexico vast oil and mineral wealth that benefited only the Mexican wealthy elite.  .Decades of injustice only needed a spark to explode.


Both Federal and revolutionary armies made good use of 9,000 miles of railroad tracks laid during the Diaz years. Trains were often used as weapons themselves, packed with explosives and sent off as rolling torpedoes to destroy enemy trains and positions.


The election of 1910 provided a spark, started by Diaz himself.  In an 1908 interview with the American James Creelman, he claimed he would not run for office in 1910 and would even allow opposition parties to run. Previously, the press was controlled by Diaz and no one would run against him. However, when 1910 came,he decided to run for re-election anyway and any rivals were suppressed.


Francisco Madero decided to run against Diaz. Madero came from a rich hacienda family, but was genuinely concerned with the plight of the poor. He took an interest in politics and in 1908 wrote a book calling for free elections in Mexico,which tapped into the growing anti-Diaz sentiments of the time. Madero was an unusual person for the times. He neither drank or smoked, was a vegetarian followed his own spiritual form of religion and wanted peaceful change through democracy. Madero ran for president and too the dismay of Diaz, Madero campaign, crossing the country on trains giving speeches quickly gained momentum. Diaz had Madero thrown in jail on trumped up charges and won the election of June 21,1910 with the usual vote stuffing and intimidation.


Madero was jailed in San Luis Potosi, while there he drew up his Plan of San Luis Potosi  and called for Mexicans to rise up against Diaz. During this time the unconnected  anti-hacienda rebellions led by Pancho Villa in the north and Zapata in the south grew in strength.Madero escaped to America and was able to reenter Mexico after Villa seized Chihuahua. from federal forces. By May 10


Pancho Villa (June 5, 1878 – July 20, 1923)

                                  A mestizo bandito ( Mexicans distinguish between banditos and ladrones (thieves). A ladron steals from his neighbors, banditos,on the other hand rob from the rich) who became the commander of the División del Norte (Army of the North ), started as a bandit making raids on wealthy cattle ranches in northern Mexico. His birth name was Doroteo Arango and took the name Pancho Villa to honor a fallen bandit leader. Villa's men are mostly miners from the north. His men are known as dorados 'golden ones' because of their golden hued uniforms and rode into battle crying Viva Villa ! Viva la Revolucion !

Famous for their cavalry charges,often led by Villa himself.

                                 Villa tried to give each soldier a horse to make his army more mobile Legendary as a cavalry commander and nicknamed  El Centauro del Norte (The Centaur of the North) he was defeated by Obregon who used WWI tactics in the decisive Battle of Celaya in  1915. He fought the Revolution for Land reform and equal education. He caused Americans under Pershing to invade Mexico after killing Americans and raids into America, but was never caught.He was assassinated in 1923 after retiring .


And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself

(2003) Antonio Banderas as Pancho Villa



 Pancho Villa - The Battle Of Torreón Sept 29, 1913


Emiliano  Zapata (August 8, 1879–April 10, 1919)

Was a small landholder and horse trainer who battled in court against Diaz's land reforms in the smallcentral Mexican state of Morelos .He became a general of the army that formed in that state, the Ejército Libertador del Sur (Liberation Army of the South), commonly known as Zapatistas. The Zapatistas were mainly poor peasants who wished to spend much of their time working their land to produce an income. As a result, Zapatista soldiers tended to serve for several months at a time, and then return home to spend most of the year farming. He fought the Constitutionalist Carranza after Huerta was defeated. Carranza put a bounty on Zapata's head, and a federalist officer pretended to defect to Zapata's side and killed him in an ambush . Villa stood 6 feet tall and was a well built 200 pounds,most noticeable feature were calculating eyes according to those that met him.



 Emiliano Zapata documentary

Pascual  Orozco  (28 January 1882 – 30 August 1915)

When Francisco I. Madero called for an uprising against Díaz in 1910, Orozco was an enthusiastic supporter and, on 31 October of that year, was placed in command of the revolutionary forces in Guerrero municipality. Madero promoted him to colonel, and in early 1911 to brigadier general, remarkably, these promotions were earned without any kind of military knowledge or military training. On 10 May of that year Orozco and his subordinate general Pancho Villa seized Ciudad Juárez After Díaz's fall, Orozco became resentful at Madero's failure to name him to the cabinet or a state governorship. Orozco was particularly upset with Madero's failure to create a series of social reforms that he promised at the beginning of the revolution.On 3 March 1912 Orozco decreed a formal revolt against Madero's government. Madero ordered Victoriano Huerta to fight the rebellion. Huerta's troops defeated the orozquistas in Conejos, Rellano and Bachimba finally seizing Ciudad Juárez. After being wounded in Ojinaga, Orozco was forced to flee to the United States.In the USA he met with Huerta in New York to make plans to retake Mexico.He was killed on Aug 30, 1915 in Texas while trying to return to Mexico.


Madero was jailed in San Luis Potosi, while there he drew up his Plan of San Luis Potosi  and called for Mexicans to rise up against Diaz. During this time the unconnected  anti-hacienda rebellions led by Pancho Villa in the north and Zapata in the south grew in strength.Madero escaped to America and was able to reenter Mexico after Villa seized Chihuahua. from federal forces. Diaz sent armies to Morelos to deal with Zapata and to the north to attack Villa.In April  the forces of Madero, Orzoco and Villa lay siege to Ciudad Juarez. By May 10th this city had fallen in bitter house to house fighting watched by Americans across the river in El Paso and rebellions against Diaz break out throughout the country. Crowds on the Zocalo ( main square ) in Mexico City chanted 'Death to Diaz!" By May 21 Diaz's offer to resign is accepted by Madero.  Francisco de la Barra, the ambassador to the U.S. would serve as interim president. Madero entered Mexico City in early June to cheering crowds . Would this be an end to the bloodshed. There was another portent as the earlier Haley's Comet. Almost as soon as Madero stepped off the train in Mexico City, it was rocked by a major earthquake killing over 200. Diaz goes into exile in France and dies four years later. His nephew, Felix Diaz will come into the picture soon.



The Madero Presidency November 6, 1911 – February 18, 1913

Modero had unleashed a tiger. Now let's see if he can control it.

Porfiro Diaz, on his way to exile




Map showing locations of major areas of activity during the Mexican Revolution .

Click here for larger image .



 Francisco I. Madero


 Scene from historical movie


After Diaz resigned, the secretary of foreign relations, Leon de la Barra, became the interim president . During this time, Zapata and his forces in Morelos were ordered to disband and President Barra sent General Victoriano Huerta to see that it was done .These two came in conflict and Zapata blamed Madero for the attack.


On October 1, 1911 Modero won the national election . Madero allowed freedom of the press,which had been gagged since Diaz. However, both the liberal and conservative papers began to criticize him for lack of action and letting the economy flounder.


When he became president he was besieged with demands from all side and found the Revolution meant different things to different people and the more radical elements were displeased by his moderate steps at reform . Madero seemed to think once democracy was established other pressing problems,such as land reform could be solved by mutual agreement. Madero came to the decision that the hacienda owners must be paid for their hacienda lands, but the government had no money with to pay them. this infuriated Zapata,who consider the hacienda owners as thieves that stole the land. Zapata Some, such as Zapata wanted land reform to break up the hacendados, but Medero only appointed a commission that did not come to much .Madero appointed family members, some of them conservative, to important posts, which undermined the reforms he advocated .He gave out government contracts to family businesses, to many this looked like old style corrupt government . Some argued that the new administration  represented neither the principles of the Revolution nor even the theoretical reformism of Francisco Madero himself. It represented simply the private interests of the Madero clan. They pointed to the fact that throughout this regime not a single measure was instituted tending toward the amelioration of the vast evils endured by the people since the Diaz cuartelazo of 1876.


Possible Japanese plans in Mexico


To what extent  the rising power of Japan was involved in Mexico during these years will probably never be absolutely known. It is not without significance, however, that in the later years of the Diaz regime Japan made strenuous but unavailing efforts to obtain a naval base on the Mexican coast; and that more than four hundred Japanese veterans fought in the ranks of Madero's army, while many thousands of them who applied for enlistment were only refused by the revolutionary authorities out of deference to the prejudices of the Mexican volunteers. Diaz himself was of Japanese ancestry .


Discontent with Madero and Rebellion


The labor reformers were also disappointed and strikes continued. Educational reformers were also disappointed , even though Madero opened more schools he did not have enough funds to make more sweeping changes .Modero soon found himself facing revolts on many fronts . In November Zapata declared his Plan de Ayula and recognized Orozco as head of the rebellion which grew in size .On August 8 Madero orders Gen.Victoriano Huerta sent to Cuernavaca with 1,000 federal troops and forces Zapata to demobilize part of his peasant army. By Aug 10 Huerta orders Zapatas arrest and he flees into the countryside.


Gen. Huerta


Madero was also criticised by conservatives as being anti-business. Madero levies tax on oil companies to pay for education, angering American ambassador Henry Lane Wilson.


Former General Reyes also launched a rebellion, but he did not have mach support and he surrendered to federal forces . A third rebellion was launched by Emilio Gomez, who was angry that Modero replaced him as vice president for Jose Suarez and by Jan the forces of Gomes had taken Cuidad Juarez .Orozco, who  had reached an agreement with Madero, convinced the Gomez forces to give up their fight, but this showed how weak the new government was .


Orozco in turn rose against Madero with a well equipped 6,000 army, supported by the powerful Terraza and Creel hacienda families of northern Mexico who feared land reform. Orozco became resentful at Madero's failure to name him to the cabinet or a state governorship and the slow pace of land reform .and on March 3 went into open revolt. In his Plan Orozquista, Modero was attacked for corruption and putting too many relatives into high positions .Orozco planned to march on Mexico City Orozco amassed a large army and the federal army was defeated at Rellano and its commander, Jose Salas, committed suicide .


Prisoners were commonly executed by all sides. In some cases prisoners were lined up 2~3 deep to save on bullets. Knowing this fate many chose to fight to the death


Modero place Gen. Huerta in charge of the army , supported by Villa. Huerta saw Villa as an ambitious competitor, and later accused Villa of stealing a horse and insubordination and had Villa sentenced to execution.. Reportedly, Villa was standing in front of a firing squad waiting to be shot when a telegram from President Madero was received commuting his sentence to imprisonment, from which Villa later escaped. Huerta was able to defeat Orzco's forces and Orzco was forced to flee to the U.S.


Villa after being given a last minute reprieve by Madero from execution by Huerta


More rebellions


Felix Diaz


Then, yet another rebellion broke out in Veracruz, on Oct 12, 1912 led by Felix Diaz, the nephew of Porfirio, led mostly by supporters of Diaz .Diaz and his forces later were forced to surrender . Modero, feeling compassion for Diaz, did not order his execution, an action which would cost him his life .Diaz was sent to prison in Mexico City close to Gen. Reyes, and together they plotted a coup .

Coup against Modero

Decena Tragica



A People's History of the Mexican Revolution, La Revolución Mexicana


On February 9, 1913 the students of the Military Academy of Tlalpan, near Mexico City, broke into the prison where General Bernardo Reyes and Felix Diaz were confined and set them free. This was the signal for a general uprising of the troops stationed in the city. At the head of several battalions Felix Diaz marched on the arsenal, where the garrison received him with enthusiasm. From that moment the cuartelazo was in full command of the situation. Mustering some five thousand men, powerfully fortified, and equipped with practically inexhaustible supplies of ammunition, the Felicistas started what was in reality a sham battle with the government troops. For days a raking fire from the opposing forces swept the city from end to end. The practiced military on both sides received little hurt, but over six thousand helpless non-combatants, many of them women and children, were slaughtered in the streets. The other coup leaders were  and Gen.Reyes . Reyes was killed by a machine gun burst and Diaz took control and retreated with his forces. Modero sent Huerta to command his troops . For the next 10 day or Decena Tragica as it is known in Mexico, Mexico City was engulfed in battle in which thousands of civilians were killed .


On Feb 17, Modero summoned Huerta and asked how long this would continue and Huerta assured him it would over the next day . And indeed it was as Huerta threw his lot in with the rebels .Madero came to an agreement with the rebels in the American Embassy and the agreement is known as the Pact of the Embassy. The American ambassador, Henry Wilson wanted an end to the civil war since it was bad for American business interests and was against Modero since he taxed oil production .

Three Presidents in One Day


Madero was arrested by General Blanquet and later vice president Suarez was arrested as well .In order to give his rule some legality Modero was forced to resign and Pedro Lascurain was sworn in as president with Huerta made secretary of the interior .Lascurain then resigned and Huerta became president as there was no vice president .And so Mexico had three presidents in one day .On Feb 21, 1913, Modero and Suarez were killed while being transferred to prison . It is still not known if Diaz, Huerta or someone else ordered the murders .


The Dictatorship of Huerta 1913 -14

Within a few days federal generals and state governors began to pledge support to Huerta .However, not all did . Coahuila Governer Venustiano Carranza did not recognize the new government and neither did the Governers of Chihuahua, where Poncho Villa took control of the anti-Huerta forces and Sonora, where Alvaro Obregon took control of  anti-Huerta forces there with an army made up off Yaqui Indians.They of course declared a plan, the Plan de Guadalupe, which had no social reform goals, just the ouster of Huerta. Zapata in  Morelos in the south also rebelled under the banner of Tierra y Libertad ( Land and Liberty ), seeing no hope for land reform with Huerta or the rebels to the north.  


Huerta's regime was harsher and more brutal than Diaz's. Huerta  jailsed110 members of Congress and 100 Madero supporters are executed .The press,which had been free under Madero, is again gagged as it was in Diaz's time. Felix Diaz is shipped off to Japan on a diplomatic mission . Huerta is supported by conservatives, the Catholic Church (which lost land and power in the last century)  and the American business community. The hard drinking Huerta often goes from bar to bar at night and his aides must track him down to sign papers.


All males between 15 and 40 were obliged to serve in the army in areas under Huerta's control and many were gathered at bar,bull fights and walking on the streets. Using these tactics he created a 200,000 none too loyal army


Soldaderas - Women in the Army

Woman had traditionally followed their husbands in armies of Mexico to fed and care for them . Those that followed the revolutionaries into battle were called soldaderas, often fought with their husbands as well . They were celebrated in folk songs, such as La Adelita .



 Las soldaderas - Revolución Mexicana

The first order of business for Huerta was to restore peace . Initially, Huerta was successful against the revolutionaries in the north and south . In early 1914, Huerta controlled two thirds of Mexico, the major ports and most large cities . This was reversed by an infusion of military aid from the US .By March and April, 1913 the rebels in the north and south were scoring important victories against Huerta  In May, the rebels to the north announced that all federal soldiers who were captured would be executed on the spot, and the tempo of the Revolution became even more violent . Huerta decided he needed to greatly enlarge his army, then only numbering about 50,000, in order to pacify the country.Huerta ordered ultimately ordered the army enlarged to 250,000, much of which was done under forced conscription. Many of these soldiers surrendered or were of such poor quality as to be useless .As his military position began to crumble, Huerta muzzled the press and a network of secret informers was employed. Soon the prisons were full of political prisoners. Political assassination was also used .Increasing protests against Huerts's rule by the legislature and both houses were dissolved by Huerta .


The economy began to suffer as Huerta packed many working men into the army .Huerta issued worthless paper currency as did the rebels in the north and south and in other states . By 1913 there were over 20 different paper currencies in Mexico .The US also refused to recognize Huerta's government, despite the action the American ambassador Henry Wilson. It is easy to label Huerta's regime as a conservative reaction, but Huerta tried to make some improvements despite the situation. More funds were allocated to education and to improve the lot of the Indians. Huerta was half Huichol Indian himself .He increased the taxes on the lands of the hacendados, which would force the owners to sell some of their lands .


American Occupation of Vercruz


Generals Obrega, Pancho Villa, and John J. Pershing at Fort Bliss on August 27, 1914. A young 1st Lt. George S. Patton behind Pershing and to the right.) Exactly one year later Pershing’s wife and 3 children would die in a fire and Pancho Villa actually sent him a condolence message. Six months late, Pershing was chasing Pancho Villa in Mexico .

President Wilson, decided Huerta would have to go . First he tried supporting the rebels in the north and when this was not enough he decided on military intervention .In early 1914 ordered an American fleet to patrol Mexican waters .

The US learned that the German ship Ypiranga would arrive in Veracruz with arms for Huerta on April 21. Wilson gave orders for the occupation of Vercruz and hundred of lives were lost in securing the city . This heavy handed act led to outrage among the Mexicans and America stores in the country were looted and other anti-American acts occurred .


The Americans, under Wilson imposed an arms embargo after  taking Veracruz. The Constitutionalists in the north still received military aid from the US .The economic and military situation of Huerta became untenable and Huerta decided to resign on July 8, 1914 .The years following this were even more chaotic and the country descended into anarchy as the battles between the revolutionaries for power began .


In 1914, Venustiano Carranza decided that a convention should be held of all revolutionary factions at Aguascalientes to decide on a provisional president of Mexico. The convention chose, against the wishes of Carranza, Eulalio Gutierrez as provisional president . Villas' troops marched to Mexico City to install Gutierrez .The convention exposed the differences between the fighters. The Zapatistas Villistas wanted land reform and Indian rights, while the Carrancistas and Obregonistas were more concerned with adhering to the Constitution and it was obvious that this was a calm before the country was engulfed in another civil war .


Villa in throne chair, seated next to Zapata at their meeting at Xochimilco


In December 1914, Villa and Zapata meet for the first time in Xochimilco and agreed upon their disdain for Carranza ' middle class' revolutionaries and agreed to support each other . By early 1915 civil war was raging in many states and Eulalio Gutierrez abandoned Mexico City which Obregon took unopposed .By now there were many who claimed to be president: Eulalio Gutierrez, who had fled to Nuevo Leon, Carranza, roque Garza by the Zapatistas and Pancho Villa in Chihuahua. None of these governments recognized the currency or laws of the other .


War of the Generals


Battle of  Celaya  The northern generals-Obregon,Carranza and Villa claimed they wanted to reestablish the constitution of 1857 and were sometimes called the Constitutionalists.


This chaotic situation was cleared somewhat by the most famous  battle of the revolution, the battle of Celaya . Here Obregon engaged Pancho Villa, who had never been defeated in a major battle . Pancho Villas major strength was his cavalry. by this time World War I was ragging and Obregon noted in battle reports how barbed wire stopped cavalry charges . In early April, Villa attacked with an estimated 25,000 and his forces were cut down by Obregon machine guns while they tried to surmount the barbed wire. Villa lost an estimated 4,000 killed, while Obregon only lost over a little over a hundred killed .this battle weakened Villa and led to his eventual defeat . The Constitutionalists were gaining the upper hand and the US decided to back the Constitutionalists by giving Carranza  diplomatic recognition in October 1915 .


One of the many children soldiers used by all sides in the Revolution


Pancho Villa, who had sought diplomatic recognition from the US for years was incensed and began to attack US civilians .On Jan 9, 1916, Villistas murdered 15 American mining engineers at in Chihuahua .On March 16, 1916, 485 Villistas invaded America and attacked the town of Columbus, New Mexico, killing 18 Americans .The clamor for intervention was immediate .President Wilson sent a small expedition of 6,000 troops under General John ' Black Jack' Pershing into northern Mexico. Pershing could not locate Villa and received no help for the local people, who were pro-Villa. Cabaña began to get nervous about having American troops in Mexico and ordered Pershing to withdraw. Pershing was not ready to retreat and continued south where he clashed with Carrancista troops. After this he was ordered to withdraw slowly north and did not leave Mexico until Jan 1917.


The Constitution of 1917


Mexican teachers trained in America during the Carranza presidency. The new constitution guaranteed universal education for all and not just for the children of the wealthy and middle class as had been done in the Diaz years. The new Constitution drawn up in Queretaro provided the principles that govern Mexico to the present.


Carranza's position grew stronger and it was decided to have another convention to draw up a new constitution. Not wanting to lose control of this convention as he had at Aguascalientes, no Villistas or Zapatistas were allowed .The delegates met a Queretaro and Carranza drafted a constitution similar to that of 1857, with stronger executive control. This was unacceptable to the radical reformers led by Francisco Mugica, who held a majority and voted in major reform articles .The power of the church was limited, the delegates seeing it as a historic block to many reforms .Education was to be secular.Lands illegally seized during the Porfiriato were to be restored . Only nationals or foreigners who declared themselves Mexican could own property .There was to be an eight hour work day and a six day workweek and a minimum wage .Workers were allowed to unionize and go on strike . Carranza agreed to the constitution with great reluctance, but signed it in order to have enough support to become president in the next election, which he won in March, 1917 .

The Carranza Presidency


When Carranza took office in May, 1917, there was still civil war raging and the economy was in shatters .The paper currency was worthless. Gold and copper production, the main engine of the economy, were down over 50% since the Revolution .The transportation system was wrecked and food shortages drove up the price of food .Carranza had no plan to fully enforce the new Constitution, only a little land was redistributed, and that was mostly from his political enemies . Strikes were put down by the army. while World War I was still going on , and Carranza received a proposal by Arthur Zimmermann, the German foreign secretary, for German help in retaining the land lost in the Mexican American War if Mexico entered into a formal alliance with Germany .Carranza, realizing this was a pipe dream, turned the offer down, but did maintain neutrality in the Great War .


 The Zimmermann Telegram

The Zapatistas were of course angry over the slow pace of land reform and stayed in revolt. Carranza sent federal troops under General Pablo Gonzales into Morelos who took many Zapatista towns but was unable to Zapata. The campaign there was some of the most violent of the Revolution . Zapata was assassinated in April 10, 1919 by Colonel Guajardo of the federal army, who pretended to defect to the Zapatista cause .While rid of one adversary, Alvaro Obregon, Plutarco Callas and Adolfo de la Huerta rose in revolt in Sonora and began marching with an army on Mexico City .In May, Carranza was forced to flee Mexico City as this army approached and he was assassinated by one of his own guards in Tlaxcalantongo.Villa's power in the north was greatly weakened and he went into retirement in 1920. He was assassinated in 1923 .There is debate as to when the revolution ended, as far as major military action, it ended with the death of Carranza. An estimated 1.5 to 2 million people are estimated to have been killed during the Revolution. Obregon became president in 1920 and set about reconstructing the country .

Movies set during the Mexican Revolution


Revolución (2010)



Ten Mexican filmmakers consider their nation on the centennial of the revolution in this anthology feature. For REVOLUCION, ten directors were asked to each contribute a ten minute film that in some way dealt with Mexico, its people, its national character and the legacy of the revolution.




 And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself  2004



 Detailed item info Starring Antonio Banderas as the legendary Pancho Villa, Bruce Beresford's star-studded HBO production brings to life a truly surreal story. In the early 1900s, Villa, the enthusiastic Mexican revolutionary, was looking for a way to support his cause. Enter master filmmaker D.W. Griffith (Colm Feore), who was trying to take cinema to a whole new level. The resulting partnership resulted in the film THE LIFE OF GENERAL VILLA, a picture that bravely blurred the line between fiction and reality. In the process, Villa became a cultural sensation, giving both men the acclaim that they desperately seeked.


And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself


El compadre Mendoza ( Godfather Mendoza ) 1933


Examines the corrupted ideals of the Revolution by way of an opportunistic landowner, who must choose between remaining loyal to a general in Zapata's army (and facing financial ruin) or saving his own skin. Described as "the Mexican John Ford" (New York Times), Fernando de Fuentes was by far the most talented filmmaker of early Mexican sound cinema.


El compadre Mendoza


 Let's Go with Pancho Villa  1936



A famous film, directed by Fernando de Fuentes, about some fellows who leave their village to join Villa's army. The boys are full of excitement and hope at the start (shown in this excerpt) but that changes much as the film proceeds.



Let's Go with Pancho Villa


Viva Zapata !  1952



 Set in the early 1900's, "Viva Zapata!" tells the story of Mexican rebel Emiliano Zapata, who rallies the countryside against the government and eventually assumes the role of President. John Steinbeck wrote the film's screenplay. Academy Award Nominations: 5, including Best Actor--Marlon Brando, Best Story & Screenplay. Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor--Anthony Quinn.


Viva Zapata!


 El principio (1973

 Mexico is in the midst of Revolution when the protagonist returns after studying in Paris to find his native town in Chihuahua occupied by Francisco Villa’s revolutionary forces. He visits his deserted home and remembers people and events from his adolescence that provide glimpses of pre-Revolutionary society under dictatorship .


Old Gringo 1989



 Jane Fonda is Harriet, a frustrated spinster who flees her unrewarding life in America hoping to discover the passion in her soul. Academy Award®-winner Gregory Peck is Ambrose Bierce, the OLD GRINGO, a retired journalist and adventurer who wanders through the hostile desert seeking some meaning to the last years of his life. Jimmy Smits is Arroyo, the fiery young general, driven by both the Revolution and his desire for Harriet. Set in the spectacle of the Mexican Revolution, their lives become inexplicably drawn together


Old Gringo


Chicogrande 2010



 Felipe Cazals drama CHICOGRANDE concerns a young follower of Pancho Villa who is responsible for finding his leader a doctor after the commander is injured during a battle in Guerrero. With the North American armies closing in, Chicogrande races against time to save his wounded hero.







Diaz and the Porfiriato



Obergon, Callas and the

The Cristero War 1920-1934