For Greater Glory: Film Reviews

For Greater Glory

Film review by Christian Toto

Just when Catholics across the nation are battling the Obama administration in court over religious liberties a film recalling a chapter in Mexican history in which Catholics were killed for practicing their faith in public gets a wide theatrical release.

“Glory” recounts the bloody battles between the Leftist Mexican government, which tried to snuff out Catholicism in the 1920s, and a band of faith-based warriors willing to die for the right to practice their preferred religion.

The stakes were clearly higher during the Cristero War than today, but the yearning for religious freedom connects it with the Church’s modern struggles.

Mexican President Plutarco Calles (Ruben Blades, dialing down what could have been a heavy-handed performance) isn’t happy with the Church’s presence in Mexican life. So he takes small but firm measures to discourage prayer in public and erase Catholic influence in the classroom. When the results of his decree don’t meet to his satisfaction, he takes more drastic – and murderous – actions.

Mexican Catholics revolt, but they soon realize they need a battle-tested leader if they hope to win the war against the president’s brutal rules. So they contact Gen. Velarde (Andy Garcia), a man of indifferent faith but a rich legacy of war-time heroism.

Under the general’s leadership, the rebels make inroads against the formidable Mexican army. But can such a modest rebellion keep the faith while being pounded by the country’s armed forces?

“For Greater Glory” operates on a far smaller budget than most modern epics even if the sweeping vistas rival projects with double the cash allotment. But in casting Garcia the filmmakers get their money’s worth. The grossly underrated actor is given a killer role, the leader of a religious movement who isn’t sure what he believes. Garcia isn’t just your standard-issue war hero. He’s a family man who weeps at the thought of a young child in harm’s way.

Said child plays a pivotal role in the film and underscores “Glory’s” willingness to show the brutality of war without filters. The decision may turn away some viewers, but in the context of war the subplot works as intended.

Eva Longoria gets too little screen time to register as the general’s devoted spouse, but Peter O’Toole makes the most of his extended cameo as a priest who won’t be bullied by government thugs.

“For Greater Glory” sags mid-film, as if all the various story elements suddenly stop working in unison. But the film’s final third rallies in a significant way, led by Garcia’s gritty performance and some crackling action sequences.

“Glory” deserves serious attention – and respect – at a time when popcorn blockbusters are all the rage in movie houses.

Review from

A Fabulous Film: For Greater Glory

By Rush Limbaugh

I have to tell you about a movie that opens today. I saw some of it last night. I got started late and I had to go to bed. Yes, yes, as powerful, influential member of the media, I have a screener. And they captioned it for me, but they captioned it in Spanish. So… (laughing) It’s this Andy Garcia movie. They’re sponsoring it here on the program. It is excellent. It’s For Greater Glory. It’s about religious freedom in Mexico, set 1917. And it’s an attack on the Catholic Church.

Catholics are mowed down, gunned down in church. Senor Calles runs the country back then and says, “For the greater good, for freedom, we’ve got to wipe out all the religious people.” It’ll infuriate you, but it’s Andy Garcia’s movie. It’s a great movie. There’s even a story about him this week. (I forget where, maybe USA Today.) It’s such a departure for a major Hollywood star to take on a role that promotes Christianity, that does not impugn it, laugh at it, make fun of it. It promotes it.

And there are parallels to the attack on the Catholic Church today, to this movie. It’s pronounced. It’s called For Greater Glory, and it opens today. Now, Andy Garcia has been in a lot of things. He was in Ocean’s Eleven. He is the owner of the Bellagio in Ocean’s Eleven. I’ve seen him a bunch of times at the AT&T Pro-Am. I’ve never met him but I’ve said hi when walking past each other on the golf course. But this is set in Mexico 1917. It’s Catholics who die. They’re gunned down. They’re stabbed.

It’s not too gory but it’s still explicit enough, and these devout Catholics are fighting a leader of the country who has issued a mandate. The first thing in the movie is he issues a mandate to take from them their religious freedom and to destroy the church. It’s his ticket to total control over the country, is to take away Catholic religious freedom, and he sends his military people into the churches. There’s no slowness to this thing. It gets right to it.

I’m gonna finish it tonight. They were so nice to caption this for me. They even sent me two DVDs. I said, “Well, maybe they sent a Spanish caption, too.” So I put the first one in, Spanish captions. I said, “Well, no big deal; I’ll just put the other disc in.” I put the other disc in, and it, too, was captioned in Spanish. (interruption) No, no, no, I haven’t gotten The Avengers. No, this is the most recent screener that I’ve got.

I don’t want to give away this movie, For Greater Glory. I don’t have much of it left to finish. It was tough because the closed-captioning was in Spanish, and I was rewinding at times to hear some of the dialogue because it’s important. But basically this movie (it’s the Andy Garcia movie) is the story of Mexico in 1917 through the ’20s. The president is Plutarco Calles in the ’20s.

The president ordered every Catholic Church shut down, he made Mass illegal, and he set out on a campaign to murder priests. And the movie is about three different freedom fighters. One of the freedom fighters is Andy Garcia, but he doesn’t start out that way. Andy Garcia shows up early in the movie, and he’s unattached to the whole thing. He’s looking at it from a bit of a distance. He then tries to make some money off of all this.

And in that process he gets caught up in the movement. He becomes a strident opponent of religious persecution. But it’s eerie. The people that produced the movie and made it could not possibly have known at the time that they started this project that when their movie came out there would be a parallel to the Obama administration’s war on the Catholic Church in America in 2012. Now, don’t anybody misunderstand here. What happened in Mexico is not what’s happening here in terms of the violence.

But the effort to run roughshod over religious freedom as a part of Obamacare is a close parallel. And for that reason the movie has a connection. Even if there was no connection, it’s still a moving flick, and it is about what people do. It’s about the honor and character, the devotion to beliefs of people who are committed to their God. It’s as moving as it could be, and it’s so unexpected. When’s the last movie you saw, a mainstream Hollywood movie, that was pro-Catholic or pro-Christianity?

Or a movie that did not talk about priests or abuse of altar boys? When was the last time you saw anything like that reflected in the mainstream entertainment press or movies about religion, Christianity. Passion of the Christ is about it, right? And look at that. (chuckling) That’s my point. It’s my point. In the story I read yesterday about Andy Garcia and his role in the movie, he was asked, “Are you afraid what this role might do to the rest of your career?”

And he said, “No, no. I believed in the role.”

You know, he’s Cuban. He’s a fervent anti-communist. Not a big pal of Fidel like Sean Penn and some of the others.

Article/Transcript from


This entry was posted in All-Encompassing Gospel, Law of Christ, Worldview/Culture, Z-Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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