• Category: Theater
  • Words: 943
  • Grade: 93
The movie "˜The Alamo' depicts the desperate struggle between the people of the Texas territory and the Mexican government under dictator Santa Anna. The film starts out with the meeting of Sam Houston, William Travis and other leaders in the newly formed Texas Army. Sam Houston had recently been named commander of the Texan Army and needed time to recruit and gather enough volunteers to be able to effectively fight Santa Anna who was heading North from Mexico to put down the rebellion in the Texas territory as a result of his policies. He explains his need for time and that resistance at San Antonio at the Rio Grande river would be critical in providing that needed time. Although Houston originally wanted the Alamo destroyed and San Antonio abandoned, after much consideration, Colonel Jim Bowie decided that the Alamo was a logical site for a stand and would likely become a key to Texas' independence. Thus, this sets the stage for the defense of the Alamo, which was an old mission converted into a fortress.
The film also shows the difficulty at that time of getting enough volunteers for the Texas Army to mount a formidable defense to Santa Anna. These volunteers were being recruited not only from the local territory, but also from many other states already a part of the United States. A good example of this is Davy Crockett and his group of Volunteers from Tennessee whose primary motivation was the thirst for freedom and the pursuit of adventure. The only additional volunteers to answer Colonel Travis' plea for help were 32 volunteers from Gonzalas, the nearest town some 70 miles away. They were able to sneak into the Alamo under the cover of darkness early in the a.m. of the 8th day.
Word that Texas was about to declare itself as an independent Republic was beginning to leak out. It was this sense of freedom that was the major factor in drawing volunteers to Texas' cause. In the movie, Davy Crockett stated this feeling in the following discussion with Colonel Travis; "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 you a feeling. Republic is one of those words that makes me tight in the throat. The same tightness a man gets when his baby takes his first step, or his first baby shaves, makes his first sound like a man. Some words can give you a feeling that makes your heart warm. Republic is one of those words." Although those in the Alamo were unaware of it, a Declaration of Independence was issued on March 2, separating Texas from Mexico for reasons of oppression from the Mexican government, unjustified imprisonment of Texan agents and failure of Mexico to provide public education, jury trial and freedom of religion. These truly represented the ideals that those in the Alamo were prepared to die for.
The movie shows the hardships suffered throughout the 13-day siege. Surrounded with continued bombardment and harrassment by Mexican troops, it began to affect the moral of the Alamo defenders. Food and water were also running low. Although no Texans had been killed by day 12, it became apparent that there is no hope of help. Colonel Travis draws a line in the ground with his sword and asks those who will stay and fight with him to cross the line. All but one crossed the line, including Jim Bowie, who was gravely sick and asked to carried over the line in his cot. This surely showed the resolve of those there to stand and fight against the tyranny of an oppressive dictator and government and their unrelenting quest for freedom for themselves and most importantly the future of Texas.
The film graphically shows the all-out assault of the Alamo on the 13th day of the siege. Although the Texans put up a tenacious defense, twice repulsing the onslaught of Mexican troops while imparting heavy casualties, the overwhelming numbers finally allowed the Mexicans to break through the walls to the inside of the compound. Once inside, intense hand-to-hand fighting took place until the last defender was killed. Although the battle cost the lives of all 189 Texan defenders, it is estimated that Santa Anna lost about 1600 men. It turned out to be a very costly victory for Santa Anna and Mexico.
As it was emphasized many times throughout the movie, the siege was buying time for Sam Houston to organize a sufficient force to be able to adequately confront the Mexican troops. Colonel Travis stated, "Every precious minute of time we buy for Sam Houston, leaves another precious minute in the life of Texas." The siege at the Alamo did indeed slow down and invoked significant loses on Santa Anna's army that ultimately allowed Sam Houston and his army to be victorious at the final battle at San Jacinto a month and a half later.
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