The Alamo
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John Wayne's directorial debut The Alamo is set in 1836: Wayne plays Col. Davy Crockett, who, together with Colonels Jim Bowie (Richard Widmark) and William Travis (Laurence Harvey) and 184 hardy Americans and Texicans, defends the Alamo mission against the troops of Mexican general Santa Ana. There's a lot of macho byplay before the actual attack, including the famous "letter" scene in which Wayne craftily rouses the patriotic ire of his subordinates. Also appearing are Richard Boone as Sam Houston, and Chill Wills (whose somewhat tasteless Oscar campaign has since become… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 50%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"As his own producer and director, Mr. Wayne has unfortunately let his desire to make a "big" picture burden him with dialogue. His action scenes are usually vivid, his talk scenes are long and usually dull."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"Patriotic but inaccurate epic Western."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Wildly overwrought, clumsy, and embarassingly directed."
‑ Christopher Null,
"The Alamo is an engaging and spectacular tribute to the power of filmmaking - both as socio-historic document and as a flashlight into the hearts of its participants."
‑ Urban Cinefile Critics, Urban Cinefile
"In spite of the painstaking attempts to explore the characters of the picture's three principal heroes (Bowie, Crockett, Travis), there is an absence of emotional feeling, of a sense of participation."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"All the pontificating about the joys of freedom becomes irritating, but James Edward Grant's dialogue occasionally crackles with enough humorous wit to hold an audience untill the gripping finale."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Duke does Alamo redux. Heroic, overblown, speechy."
‑ Steve Crum, Kansas City Kansan
"Could Wayne have crafted a better film if he only tried his hand at directing, instead of putting on the hero's mantle as well? Doubtful."
‑ John A. Nesbit, Old School Reviews
"An elephantine, historically inaccurate, stridently patriotic tribute to the handful of Texans who faced assault by 7,000 Mexican baddies."
‑ Tom Milne, Time Out
"Despite a banal and preachy script, full of speeches about religion and patriotism,the film has some good action sequences; overall, it's not worse than the 2004 remake starring Billy Bob Thornton."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"John Wayne doesn't appear for the first twenty minutes of The Alamo, his 1960 directorial debut, and that's a bad sign."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"There's a lot of talky drama and it takes more than two hours before you get to the fighting, but it remains an American epic."
‑ , Film4
More reviews for The Alamo on Rotten Tomatoes