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Monday Night Movie: The Alamo: “Thirteen Days to Glory” complete 1987 TV-Movie


The 1987 NBC television miniseries about the 1836 Battle of the Alamo starring James Arness as James Bowie, Brian Keith as Davy Crockett, Alec Baldwin as William Barrett Travis and Raul Julia as Antonio López de Santa Anna. The Alamo Siege lasted for 13 days between February 23 – March 6, 1836.

This movie is unique in that it focuses on Bowie as the main character rather than Crockett. It is certainly one of the last of the old-school TV Westerns and tells the story of the famed siege of the Alamo during the Texas Revolution, in which a small band of soldiers held off an overwhelming army under the Mexican general Santa Anna long enough to allow the Texan army to gather its strength.

The production was shot at ‘Alamo Village,’ in Brackettville, Texas – this was the site of the Alamo replica built by John Wayne for his lavish 1960 film The Alamo and indeed much of the large-scale footage of the final battle scene was recycled from this earlier film.

Other than the final attack taking place in daylight (it actually occurred in the pre-dawn darkness) — one glaring problem with this film’s casting is the fact that almost all the major players in the Alamo siege are portrayed by actors who are ridiculously overage for their parts. Jim Bowie, for instance, was only 39 at the time of the siege, while James Arness was 64 at the time of filming. Davy Crockett was 49, while Brian Keith was 65.

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