A publicity photo on the filmsite of The Alamo (1960), with (l. to r., front row) John Wayne as Davy Crockett, Richard Widmark as Jim Bowie, and Laurence Harvey as William Travis.
The Movie: John Wayne directed this nearly three-hour-long saga about a crucial moment in the quest for Texas independence. The film is an essential one for any fan of the Duke.
The Plot: The Alamo tells the well-known story of the fight for Texas Independence and the fateful battle of 1836, in which a handful of “Texicans” stood off a Mexican army of far greater strength for 13 days before the unforgettable battle itself. John Wayne portrays native Tennesseean Davy Crockett, who has volunteered to help Jim Bowie, William Travis, and the other outnumbered fighters against the Mexicans under the command of General Antonio López de Santa Anna.
The Scene: Davy Crockett is fortressed inside the old mission alongside his fellow fighters, ruminating about the reasons men stand their ground for ungraspable concepts—words, meanings, goals, things you can’t see but are as precious as any three-dimensional object.
Republic… I like the sound of the word. It means people can live free, talk free, go or come, buy or sell, be drunk or sober, however they choose. Some words give ya a feeling. Republic is one of those words that makes me tight in the throat. Same tightness a man gets when his baby takes his first step, or his first baby shaves, and makes his first sound like a man. Some words can give ya a feeling that make your heart warm. Republic is one of those words. --John Wayne as Davy Crockett