Release Date:  April 9, 2004
Rating:  PG-13 (for sustained intense battle sequences)
Genre:  Action/Drama/Adventure
Run Time: 137 minutes
Director:  John Lee Hancock
Actors:  Dennis Quaid, Billy Bob Thornton, Jason Patric, Patrick Wilson, Emilio Echevarria, Jordi Malla,

It’s March of 1836 and a ragtag group of men are surrounded by 2,000 Mexicans led by the “Napoleon of the West.” Two legends – Davy Crockett (Billy Bob Thornton) and James Bowie (Jason Patric) – are under the command of a 26-year-old colonel, having been abandoned by General Sam Houston (Dennis Quaid). The run-down mission where they are camped out provides little in the way of cover, and as most everyone knows, their defense is doomed. After days of waiting, the Mexicans attack, killing all 186 people inside.

The best-known version of this film starred John Wayne and was made in 1960. This production is an entirely new script by the director of “The Rookie.” It suffered production problems, with Ron Howard abdicating directorship for producer, and Russell Crowe bailing out. The budget was also slashed and the original film, which played for more than three hours, was cut to just over two.

OBJECTIONABLE CONTENT: "The Alamo"

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One conservative group reacted to the film’s script, issuing a press release prior to screenings that attacked Disney for “desecrating American heroes.” Disney has a tendency to rewrite history in its movies, but in this case, the accusations are largely unfounded. Neither I nor my husband and father, both amateur historians, found much remiss in the film’s account. In fact, the film took a difficult event – weeks of waiting followed by a short massacre – and brought the characters to life. Although it does not rise to epic status and will leave viewers confused about why the battle was actually fought (and why Houston did not send help), it’s an entertaining movie with little objectionable content for families of older children.