The Soldiers of Pancho Villa

The Soldiers of Pancho Villa

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ismael Rodríguez
Produced by Ismael Rodríguez
Screenplay by Ismael Rodríguez
José Luis de Celis
Ricardo Garibay
Antonio Méndez
Story by José Bolaños Prado
Based on "La Cucaracha"
Starring María Félix
Dolores del Río
Music by Raúl Lavista
Cinematography Gabriel Figueroa
Edited by Fernando Martínez
Películas Rodríguez
Release dates
  • November 12, 1959 (1959-11-12) (Mexico)
  • November 1, 1961 (1961-11-01) (United States)
Running time
97 minutes
Country Mexico
Language Spanish

The Soldiers of Pancho Villa (Spanish: La Cucaracha) is a 1959 Mexican epic historical drama film co-written, produced, and directed by Ismael Rodríguez, inspired by the popular Mexican Revolution corrido "La Cucaracha". It stars María Félix and Dolores del Río in the lead roles, and features Emilio Fernández, Antonio Aguilar, Flor Silvestre, and Pedro Armendáriz in supporting roles.

The film was nominated for a Golden Palm award at the 1959 Cannes Film Festival.[1] It was named the ninety-sixth best film of Mexican cinema by Somos magazine.[2]


When the Mexican Revolution was exploding, there was a woman who made history, her name was "La Cucaracha" (María Félix). Her great passion was the Revolution, but her downfall was a man: Colonel Antonio Zeta (Emilio Fernández), who has eyes for another woman, Isabel, the widow (Dolores del Río). The rivalry between both women explodes.



La Cucaracha premiered at the Robles and Ariel theaters in Mexico City on November 12, 1959 for five weeks.[3] It premiered in the United States at New York City's Tivoli Theatre on November 1, 1961.[4]

Critical reception

Howard Thompson of The New York Times gave La Cucaracha a positive review by writing: "Although the film never rises in stature above its melodramatic plane and romantic embellishments, it is well acted, crisply directed by producer Ismael Rodríguez and graphically photographed by Gabriel Figueroa... Both Señorita Félix, as the amoral spitfire, and Señorita Del Río, as her aristocratic adversary, are persuasively passionate. Señor Fernández, as their manly quarry, is excellent. Even minus real depth, there is much to be said for a melodramatic eye-filler as tough and tangy as this one. Neighbors below, let's have more."[4]


Award Category Name Outcome
Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or Ismael Rodríguez Nominated
Menorah Awards[5] Best Actress María Félix Won
Best Director Ismael Rodríguez Won


  1. "Festival de Cannes: The Soldiers of Pancho Villa". Retrieved 2009-02-14.
  2. "Las 100 mejores películas del cine mexicano". Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  3. Amador, María Luisa (1985). Cartelera cinematográfica, 1950-1959. Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográfico, Dirección General de Difusión Cultural, Dirección Editorial, UNAM. p. 348. ISBN 9688373273.
  4. 1 2 Thompson, Howard. "Movie Review: 'La Cucaracha' Has Premiere at the Tivoli". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  5. García Riera, Emilio (1994). Historia documental del cine mexicano: 1959-1960. Universidad de Guadalajara. ISBN 9688955396.
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