The Alamo (movie)


June 25, 2003, 02:15 AM
In case y'all didn't know, Disney is making The Alamo. Note I did not say remaking, since it's not a redo of the original movie so much as a retelling of the story as a whole.

I have had the good fortune to work on some of the sound effects, and let me tell you the guns are going to ROCK. Our guys went out there and recorded for 2 weeks with the armorers, and got authentic cannon, blackpowder weapons, etc. Normally, guns actually don't sound very impressive, and we have to "Hollywood" 'em up. But apparently that is only the case with modern small arms. Those Waterloo-era weapons sound awesome. Also had to detonate 300 lbs worth of powder the last day...darn. :D

It's going to be directed by John Lee Hancock, who directed The Rookie and is a native Texan. He is reunited with Dennis Quaid from The Rookie; Quaid is also a Texan and will be playing the coveted role of Sam Houston. Billy Bob Thornton is Davy Crockett and Jason Patric plays Jim Bowie. They built the entire Alamo from scratch on someone's private property in Texas. The guys who went down for the recording sessions told me it was kind of spooky. I saw video and I have to concur.

When our guys were down there, they were able to get a preliminary look at the working edit of the film. They saw a scene in which Crockett seizes a moment of inspiration and plays a bluegrass counterpoint to the besieging Mexican's army's battle song. From what I'm told, there wasn't a dry eye in the room.

We've gotten to look at two scenes here: the taking of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto. All I have to say is GUNS, GUNS, GUNS. :cool:

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June 25, 2003, 02:19 AM
Sounds great, but how deeply involved is Disney?

M2 Carbine
June 25, 2003, 02:43 AM

That had to be fun.

June 25, 2003, 09:04 AM
Sounds great, but how deeply involved is Disney?

Well, it was originally supposed to be directed by Ron Howard, and have something like 3x the budget that it wound up with, but Disney wouldn't let him do what he wanted, so he backed out. This may give you som idea.

June 25, 2003, 10:50 AM
I heard that they PC'd the story line...

Mike Irwin
June 25, 2003, 11:28 AM
Let me guess...

With the REtelling, a la Disney style, we're finally going to get the truth of what happened...

How Santa Ana was really a Christ figure, benevolent, wise, and fatherly.

How the downtrodden Mexican campesinos were being overwhelmed by the white devil American invaders, who were practicing a cultural and ethnic genocide in the area.

You get the picture...

The Disneyification of history...

El Tejon
June 25, 2003, 11:39 AM
Mike, I don't know if breach of contract qualifies as genocide by the Texicanos. Maybe just cultural genocide.

I like the guns part. Who are the hot chicks in the movie?

June 25, 2003, 12:31 PM
Jeez, it's like hanging out at a nursing home around here! :rolleyes:

You want documentaries, watch the freakin' History Channel. You want gorgeously filmed entertainment, with a great eye and ear toward the period costumes and especially the weaponry, check out this movie.

"I pity the fool that gets his history lessons from the movies!" -Mr. T.

El Tejon
June 25, 2003, 12:33 PM
What about the girls?:D

June 25, 2003, 12:41 PM
Now that's a valid question!

There is a FAQ here. ( Also, it's got an entry on There you can find out the babe factor.

Original, Ron Howard, blood-and-guts, non-family-friendly, rated "R" version was $135 million, current budget is $95 million. So more like "1.4x the current budget," not "3x."

Also, Ron Howard hand picked the director and is still very much involved with the film.

Mike Irwin
June 25, 2003, 12:45 PM

Unfortunately (and you should know this) mass media, including the movies, is being used to push a variety of "hot topics," ranging from gun control to reworking of history to fit a pre-defined version of political correctness.

At the point at which that is done, it's no longer entertainment, it's PROPAGANDA.

I don't necessarily want total historical accuracy, but I sure as hell don't want someone running roughshod over the facts simply because they want to make use of what they learned in a 2-hour cultural awareness & sensitivity seminar.

To accept this sort of thing is to surrender to the inevitable, that facts no longer matter and that covert politically based indoctrination is an OK thing.

For Christ's sake, the left tried this with the exhibit on the end of World War II at the Smithsonian! The "new left" historians who tried to write the script for the exhibit adopted a "Japanification" stance in which American Imperialism was the cause of the war, Japan was a nation of peace loving pacifists forced to go to war to protect their cultural integrity, and which made virtually NO mention of the atrocities perpetuated by the Japanese against the Chinese, Koreas, etc., while pillorying the American use of atomic weapons as a crime against humanity.

It was only the efforts of American veterans groups that staved off the attempts by these apologist historians to alter and cleanse history. The Japanese have already done the same thing as a nation.

Why should this be allowed, ANYWHERE?

June 25, 2003, 01:01 PM
You really ought to start a new thread, Mike. You keep referring to "this" and "this sort of thing" and as far as I can recall, neither of us has seen this movie. (Also, to extrapolate, Pearl Harbor, although it was a crappy movie, was about as anti-Japanese as you could get.)

This thread was talking about how this movie was going to put on a stunning display of period firearms, and you totally hijack it. I'm not saying I disagree with your points, but you're verging on hysteria and I really don't even know why.

Mike Irwin
June 25, 2003, 01:05 PM



Your're right, Jengs. My hatred of all things having to do with the Mouse is getting the better of me.

My apologies.

To do penance...

Are any of the weapons actually period firearms? Or are they modern recreations done for the movie?

And somehow, I just don't see Billy Bob as Davy Crockett.

Who plays Santa Ana?

4v50 Gary
June 25, 2003, 01:17 PM
I know some of the guys who made guns (some guns, not all) for the flick. One is Jack Brooks of Colorado. His buddy, Mike (can't remember his name) also made a few too. Roland Cadle of PA made some horns (screw tip) for the flick. A lot of blackpowder folks are going to love this movie.

June 25, 2003, 01:21 PM
Wow Billy Bob as Davy.

This should be enterseting, and from the time taken to get the "sounds" down to the real thing, it should sound good to.

When is this supossed to be released?


Just saw the release date on the FAQ. X-mas 03 or Summer 04

4v50 Gary
June 25, 2003, 01:37 PM
The shot that never connected...

Posted in the bell tower of the Alamo mission was one American rifleman. He waited patiently as the battle waged furiously below him. From a distance of about 500 yards, he saw a medal bedecked officer leaving the Mexican camp and riding towards the Alamo. He surmised that this was Santa Ana, commander of the Mexican host. He leveled his rifle and aimed high to compensate for the distance. Crack and a deadly round ball was on its way.

The ball whistled as it flew overhead of the Generalissimo. Startled by the nearness of the ball, Santa Ana wheeled his horse around and rode back to camp as quick as he could. The rifleman had missed and it while it would not have changed the outcome, it could have ended the impetus for the war.

In a sci-fi remake, we would have Carlos Hathcock is sitting in the tower with a scoped rifle. ;) But he wouldn't shoot. He'd call in the coordinates for the Enterprise to stun Santa Ana with phasers and then Scotty would "beam" him up; thereby removing his presence from the battlefield and history. :D

June 25, 2003, 01:43 PM
Yeah, Billy Bob. If you dig him (like I do), then it's brilliant casting. If you don't like him, it's terrible casting. Like a lot of strong personalities, he is one of those love-him-or-hate-him actors.

There were quite a few authentic 1830's weapons in use, as well as a ton of newly manufactured ones. I talked to one of my co-workers who was at the shoot, and he handled authentic Tower & Brown Bess muskets as well as a Kentucky rifle. He got to fire the Brown Bess...way cool.

We've only seen the two big battle scenes, but from them I know three things about this movie: [list=1]
Santa Anna runs away like a little girl when Sam Houston and his men sweep across the plain at San Jacinto.
The Texians had no chance when the Mexicans took the Alamo. Utter devastation.
The Mexican Army is really exposed for the unprofessional bunch of peasants that it was.

BTW, there's a terrific shot at the Battle of San Jacinto where the cavalry comes tearing across the plain. I don't think I've seen the devastating speed of cavalry so well represented in a movie. Watch for it.

Dave R
June 25, 2003, 02:20 PM
Many of these questions are answered in the FAQ's guy. For those who are bandwidth challeneged:

1) Women roles--looking at he casting sheet, women's roles don't seem very prominent. Just a guess.

2) Santa Ana is played by Emilio Echevarria

3) Release date: estimates range from Christmas '03 to summer '04.

4) Political Correctness: looks like there will be some to me.

Here's the big quote:

"According to, "'Alamo' is expected to deal with many of the historical complexities -- including the Mexican point of view -- that were glossed over in John Wayne's 1960 film. Alamo heroes William Barret Travis' serial marital infidelities, Jim Bowie's slave trading and Davy Crockett's overall political incorrectness will also be addressed."

A recent script review confirmed that three viewpoints will be addressed in the film: 1.) An Anglo fighting for the Texicans 2.) A Mexican soldier conscripted into Santa Anna's army 3.) And Joe, Travis's slave."

5) Historical accuracy: It looks like they will at least mention Goliad and Gonzales, which may help provide decent historical context. Hard to portray Goliad, and make the Mexicans look like peaceniks. San Jacinto will be included. Woo hooo!

4v50 Gary
June 25, 2003, 03:06 PM
Mexican Army - Troop quality varied from very good to questionable. Many European observors thought that since the Mexican Army was trained in the European model, more so than the Americans, many of whom were "locals", that the war should be a Mexican victory. I believe it was at the Battle of San Jacinto that the Mexicans needed more troops and sent 100 convicts - still in chains as reinforcement. :eek: Those poor dumb guys.

The Siege of the Alamo was done in accordance with the European tactics of the time. One dug close enough to the enemy's fortification such that it could be approached w/minimal exposure time and casualties to the guns of the defenders. A forlorn hope (coming from the Dutch Verlorgen Truppe (sic) or "lost troop") would storm the intial works and the rest of the army would follow. This would allow the defenders only one shot before they were overwhelmed. Still, the defenders of the Alamo gave better than they got.

I just hope the "revisionist" don't try to change the story and make it look like the "imperalistic" and ambitious Anglos coveted Mexican land. The "rebels" or Texicanos were of both Anglo and Hispanic descent and united in the common cause against Santa Ana's government.

June 25, 2003, 03:39 PM
Mexican Army - Troop quality varied from very good to questionable. Little trivia note . . . when casting extras for the Mexican Army, the movie folks had a little problem. Seems that way too many of the Hispanics who showed up to apply for jobs were simply too fat to make realistic 19th century Mexican soldiers.

4v50 Gary
June 25, 2003, 03:44 PM
Thanks HankB. Kinda like Gettysburg and I suspect Gods & Generals (haven't seen it yet) but the soldiers of ye olde days were thin. Hard campaigning and little fare saw to that. Directors should insist that big guys stay in the back and young skinny guys up front please. Now, officers are a different matter.

June 25, 2003, 05:05 PM
I will hold my opinion on the film until I see it,
but it you REALLY want to see a decent version, travel down to San Antonio, and go to the IMAX theatre in the Riverwalk. Good film, and very large, you feel like you are IN the film.

The walk across the street, and visit The Alamo.
Nothing will give you the chills like walking on the same ground as Col. Wm. Travis, Bonham, Crockett, and all the rest of the people who fought and died there.

June 25, 2003, 05:29 PM
I have read serveral histories of the Alamo and related events. I get the impression that the Mexican army of Santa Anna was battle tested fighting rebels before it attacked the Alamo.

Additionally, IIRC according to one account the Alamo defenders, firing their long barrel, rifled "squirrel" guns, badly tore up one Mexican regiment that tried an attack early in the fight. The Alamo defenders opened up effective fire starting at 300 yards.

The Mexican regiment withdrew eventually, but it did not run.

June 25, 2003, 05:34 PM
What tears me up about visiting the Alamo is that CONCEALED WEAPONS - even with permit - ARE BANNED THERE! What did Travis, Crockett, Bowie and the others die for anyway?

:fire: :banghead: :mad:

Art Eatman
June 25, 2003, 05:59 PM
Drifting a bit: Legend has it that Santa Ana was descended of a long line of bachelors.

When the IMAX version was being filmed over at Happy Shahan's "Alamo Village" at Brackettville (built for the John Wayne version), there was a rather long wait before filming, one afternoon, waiting for proper light.

Some Texian on the wall called out, "More taste!" A Mexican below responded, "Less filling!". This grew into a full-bore chanting by all. They probably could have paid for the movie, selling this scene to Miller Brewing, had they filmed it...

A buddy of mine was an extra in this IMAX deal. He was sometimes a Mexican, sometimes a Texian, depending on the scene. He got killed several times, and saw one place in the movie where, as near as he could tell, he shot himself.

:), Art

Tom B
June 25, 2003, 06:30 PM
In this Disney remake the primary theme is unjust American immigration laws regarding Mexicans and also some gay rights issues. Director Spike Lee in his acting debut plays the dashing Col Travis. Jeese Jackson has a guest appearance as Sam Houston as well as Hilliary Clinton as the lovely Mrs Houston. Rodney Dangerfield plays President Andrew Jackson. Caps were used in all weapons instead of powder do to ecological reasons. President Bush was turned down for the part of General Santa Anta do to his insistance that Don Rumsfeld be allowed on set at all times for security reasons. Disney execs could not be reached for comment on this issue.

June 26, 2003, 01:40 AM
moa saidAdditionally, IIRC according to one account the Alamo defenders, firing their long barrel, rifled "squirrel" guns, badly tore up one Mexican regiment that tried an attack early in the fight. The Alamo defenders opened up effective fire starting at 300 yards.That seemed to me how the scene plays out. You can see the first regiment, which took a beating, regroup. Most of them have hit the dirt at the foot of the battlements. But at the top of the camera frame, in a very subtle reveal, you can see the massive remainder of the Mexican Army gearing up for the attack.

June 26, 2003, 03:56 PM
Santa Anna's army number about 4000 to 5000 men, if I remember correctly. I think the Alamo defenders numbered less than 190 men and a few women.

I think the Alamo defenders held up the Mexicans for something like 10 days or more, which was important for Sam Houston to organize an army of his own.

Tom B, I was entertained greatly by your "review", but you do have one minor error. I think Spike Lee's first movie debut was in "Malcolm X" (as if anybody cares!).

bjengs, does the movie go into the massacre of the Texas rebels commanded by Fannon, that had earlier surrendered to Santa Anna?

George Hill
June 26, 2003, 04:59 PM
"Also had to detonate 300 lbs worth of powder the last day"


June 26, 2003, 11:26 PM
See the humanitarian General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana, standing in for Cesar Chavez, and an Army of 4,500 undocumented migrants defeat the wicked and cowardly racist Anglos who advocate closing the borders to those poor souls seeking only to improve their lives.

June 27, 2003, 01:18 AM
Dave R,

Where did this information came from?
"A recent script review confirmed that three viewpoints will be addressed in the film: 1.) An Anglo fighting for the Texicans 2.) A Mexican soldier conscripted into Santa Anna's army 3.) And Joe, Travis's slave."

I have a problem with the word "Anglo" in that it is usually used to denote someone of Anglo Saxon (English) heritage. The make up of the Alamo fighters was fairly diverse, as diverse as it could be given the time. See the makeup below.
The folks from Germany, Ireland, and Scotland, might not want to be called Anglo.

The Alamo Garrison

William Barret TRAVIS

(Commander of the Alamo) : One of the first to fall, he died defending the north wall at an early hour on March 6. He was 26 years old.


(Co-commander of the Alamo): Killed in his bed, where he laid sick with pneumonia, in a small room in the south side. He was 41 years old.

David (Davy) CROCKETT

His body was found in small fort in the west side. He was 50 years old.

28 Officers
30 volunteers from South Carolina (along with William B. Travis)
15 volunteers from Tennessee (along with David Crockett)
32 volunteers from Gonzales (the only who responded to the repeated appeals for help of Colonel Travis)
all other volunteers (81) came from different countries (England, Scotland, Germany, Ireland) and from various States.

June 27, 2003, 11:46 AM
"A recent script review confirmed that three viewpoints will be addressed in the film: 1.) An Anglo fighting for the Texicans 2.) A Mexican soldier conscripted into Santa Anna's army 3.) And Joe, Travis's slave."

Five'll get you ten that we'll get an earful about the injustice of slavery & the need for reparations to the oppressed minorities somewhere in here too...:banghead:

I also imagine we'll hear someone say "I can't believe they sell these assault muskets to just anybody!"...(i.e. 44 Minutes)...:barf:

4v50 Gary
June 27, 2003, 01:49 PM
FYI, the Mexicans were armed with Brown Bess muskets and a handful (though unknown if they were present at the Alamo) had the Baker rifle.

Jay Bakerr
June 27, 2003, 02:02 PM
Hey, BJengs, who wrote the script?? Or, who is credited with writing it? No telling how many writers worked on it originally.

I happen to know more than a few people who do that sort of thing.



June 27, 2003, 03:29 PM
Q: Why were there only 5,000 Mexicans at the Alamo?

A: They only had six trucks!



Mike Irwin
June 27, 2003, 03:40 PM

Check out the movie on IMBD.COM.

They have a lot of the production people listed.

June 27, 2003, 04:02 PM
From the official site:

In a recent news article published by the Houston Chronicle, director John Hancock said about the writers on Alamo: "All of them added something that was really relevant to both the movie and my work in terms of bringing it all together for me to write and finish it. Les Bohem wanted to demythologize the men and make them real and start over, the way Unforgiven did with the Western.

John Sayles came in and did a brilliant job forcing a perspective that you wouldn't necessarily think of, letting different people than the ones who head the chapters of history books tell the story from both sides.Stephen Gaghan's work was really about the characters. He developed more of the emotion and personal lives of these characters."

June 27, 2003, 06:19 PM
"The walk across the street, and visit The Alamo.
Nothing will give you the chills like walking on the same ground as Col. Wm. Travis, Bonham, Crockett, and all the rest of the people who fought and died there."

So true. Well put.


June 27, 2003, 06:27 PM
This sounds like a cool movie.

I hope it is released in San Antonio:evil:

June 27, 2003, 09:54 PM
man I hope its cool I need a good war/history flick once every few years......with Hollyweird as bad as it is sometimes that is a challenge

Jay Bakerr
June 28, 2003, 01:08 AM
Mike Irwin and BJengs, thanks for the info. I'll check it out.

Not much ever comes out of Hollywood in the movies or teeveee that isn't politically correct and anti-guns possessed by us serfs and worker peasants.


Jay Bakerr
June 28, 2003, 01:20 AM
Double post. Sorry. J.B.

Dave R
June 28, 2003, 02:15 AM
Test1968, that info comes from the official movie FAQ at the site listed on the first page of this thread. Its cut & paste from the FAQ.

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