14 comments on “The Alamo on the Big Screen: 1960 vs 2004

  1. I read this whole article and really enjoyed it. I’m a big fan of the Alamo, and prefer Hancock’s version myself, mostly on the strength of Thorton’s portrayal of Crockett.

  2. Nice review and comparison. I’m much in agreement with you. I find John Wayne’s version very enjoyable despite knowing how inaccurate it is. I really liked Thorton’s Crockett, though. The irony of someone dying to preserve their own legend is pretty intense when you consider it.

    I have both on DVD and watch each of them once or twice a year, usually close together. They complement each other quite well.

    I’ve been an Alamo buff most of my life, since I first visited the Alamo when I was about five years old. After the 2004 movie I decided to build an Alamo diorama. I put it on a web site http://dracoarcana.com/.

  3. What an excellent review! Well thought-out and reasoned. Objective and detailed. Congratulations.

    I’m very much inclined to go with the 2004 version and for pretty much the same reasons of historical accuracy, acting comparisons and so on. I found Carter Burwell’s score very moving indeed – I bought the soundtrack CD and find it to be good driving music in the car!

  4. Great article and review. I have to say that I love both movies they were both great films but my favorite is John Wayne’s version only because I saw it when I was 16
    and I was highly impressionable. I could watch that battle scene forever. Although I do like Hancock’s version because of its accuracy and Billy Bob Thorton’s portrayal of Davey Crockett.

  5. I must say I find it hard to believe that someone could like both of these movies. One has an accurate story ( more or less), correct wardrobe, believable dialog and a performance for the ages with Billy Bob Thornton as DC. The other has a giant Mexican cannon, some kind of machine gun in Bowie’s hands, an English Travis, Crockett in cowboy clothes and dewy eyed blather about freedom from the mouths of slave-mongers. Good score though. Anyway, I enjoyed the comparison. Good job.

  6. Great article discovered almost by accident: brought back memories of being taken to the movies by a friend’s father in 1960 (unprecedented event!), at age 10, to see the movie about one of my favorite subjects (right up there with the Titanic and Civil War); but even then I had misgivings over John Wayne, who I can remember thinking at the time was simply no Davie Crockett (maybe because he did not look like the revered Fess Parker!), but still, I thought, he was stiff and too “normal” — and sure enough, that is how I left the theater, feeling a little disappointed because I just could not see him as Davie any more than had he played Rocky: I know these comments border on treason.

  7. When you reviewed the 1960 movie did you watch the original that was over three hours long or the current shortened version that is out on DVD shortened by about 40 min?

  8. After reading the article, I looked for pictures of Davey Crockett. I disagree that Thorton looks more like Crockett than John Wayne. I don’t think either one looks like him. He looks a lot more like Fess Parker than either of the other two.

  9. I REALLY appreciate you taking the time to write this article! I am taking my son to San Antonio soon, and I wanted him to have an idea of the history before he looked at the Alamo as “an old building.” They have not covered that history in school yet and mine is quite rusty, (I’m a little older than I like to admit and my memory is TERRIBLE) so I was wanting to know if there was a movie that accurately (or closely) depicted the truth of the history. I enjoyed your article immensely, and now I’ve decided to make him watch both movies. Classics never hurt a kid! :-)

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