Any good films of the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire?
September 28, 2011 5:56 AM   Subscribe

What films portray the battles in the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire?

I'm looking for films which dramatize the fighting itself: the improvised war engines during the flight after La Noche Triste; the brigantines constructed and carried over land for the siege of Tenochtitlan; the street-to-street fighting during the seige.

I've done a little searching, and I've found only The Other Conquest, which seems to be largely about the cultural aftermath.

There appears to be a site calling for a film to be made -- I suppose that means there isn't one yet? Do you know otherwise?

(This BBC short has laughable battle scenes -- 20 guys in period costume standing in a field and shouting at each other. I'm looking for something a bit more convincing.)
posted by richb to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Maybe I was a little harsh on that BBC series -- I skipped to the middle of the linked video and it looked terrible, but some scenes later on look better. I'm going to watch it properly later on -- I'll report back here how I found it :-)
posted by richb at 6:03 AM on September 28, 2011

I doubt this is really what you're looking for, but maybe Aguierre: The Wrath of God.

IMDB description: A few decades after the destruction of the Inca empire, a Spanish expedition leaves the mountains of Peru and goes down the Amazon river in search of gold and wealth. Soon, they come across great difficulties and Don Aguirres, a ruthless man who cares only about riches, becomes their leader. But will his quest lead them to "the golden city", or to certain destruction?
posted by smitt at 8:19 AM on September 28, 2011

I was going to suggest Mel Gibson's Apocalypto, but it turns out that's not about Spanish conquest after all (and takes place in a Mayan context, not an Aztec one, anyway). For some reason I was under the impression that it was conquest related. Maybe because Gibson is a culturally un-self-aware tool who would probably make a movie glorifying the conquistadores?
posted by Sara C. at 8:53 AM on September 28, 2011

There's the final scene of the film, which shows a European ship rowing onto shore, implying the "Evil" Mayan Empire's' time was coming to an end.

If you're looking for a good depiction of Mayan weapons and tactics as an example of pre-columbian warfare in Mesoamerica, the film is an excellent source... Gibson is all about making period-correct hate films.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:13 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Cabeza de Vaca.
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:44 PM on September 28, 2011

The Holy Mountain had an interesting take.
posted by St. Sorryass at 8:40 PM on September 28, 2011

Response by poster: I've watched the BBC programme now. It wasn't too bad; they covered most of the events. However there was no detail or convincingness in the fighting. It's not really in the same league as a proper war movie. I'm still looking.
posted by richb at 12:53 AM on September 30, 2011

Best answer: Keep in mind that period war movies - especially if they take place before the 20th century - are expensive as hell to make. Not to mention the political line an American film about the conquistadores would have to walk. And all the weird little unspoken rules about how Hollywood works.

Basically you'd have to have a "Mel Gibson gets a bug up his ass about something" type situation for a movie like this to get made.
posted by Sara C. at 3:46 PM on September 30, 2011

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