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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
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A service to His little ones (which includes at-home teens) through you, their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

(2004), PG-13
Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
April 8, 2004
64 out of 100

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If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

(2004), PG-13 -- "...there are no atheists in foxholes." ... " NOT an "R-13."

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Imagine Entertainment, Touchstone Pictures
Distribution (US): Buena Vista Pictures
Director(s): John Lee Hancock
Producer(s): Brian Grazer, Todd Hallowell, Ron Howard, Mark Johnson, Philip Steuer, Louisa Velis
Written by: Leslie Bohem, Stephen Gaghan, John Lee Hancock
Cinematography/Camera: Dean Semler
Music: Carter Burwell
Film Editing: Eric L. Beason, Paul Covington
Casting: Ronna Kress
Production Design: Michael Corenblith
Art Direction: Lauren E. Polizzi, Dan Webster
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

The Alamo was not a fort. It was a San Antonio mission. A church. It was not designed to be a military stronghold. And neither were all of the soldiers trained to be a military fighting unit. But they led the way to the defeat of Santa Anna and the securing of Texas as a sovereign state of these United States of America. What right did we have to take the Texas territory? I can't speak to that anymore than I can speak to our right to take America from the Native Americans.

About 200 men, many with their families, fought President/Dictator/General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (Emilio Echivarria) and his army for 13 days in 1836 for the possession of the territory known as Texas. Santa Anna arrived with thousands of soldiers which hopelessly outnumbered and out-gunned the defenders of the Alamo and San Antonio. While we fought Santa Anna for 13 days at the Alamo and lost that battle, General Sam Houston defeated Santa Anna at San Jacinto in 18 minutes.

Among those defenders of Texas at the Alamo included the one an only Congressman and Colonel Davey ... err ... David Crockett (Billy Bob Thornton) and Colonel James Bowie (Jason Patric). Thankfully, there was no mention of Wild Bill Hickock at the Alamo or anywhere else. But leading the backup troops was General Sam Houston (Dennis Quiad), initially to fight Santa Anna at the Alamo but as strategy would have it, to fight a 700-man fragment of Santa Anna's army with him in it at San Jacinto. Commanding the Alamo was the "90-day wonder"-looking Lt. Colonel William Barret Travis (Patrick Wilson) who assumed command from a Colonel who left for personal business. So straight and proper was Travis that he and Bowie got into a scuffle about command Bowie's volunteers as a unit within Travis' regulars.

The tracing of history was apparently quite correct. Though I am a "Texian" I am not familiar enough with the intricacies of the contribution of the Alamo to the history of Texas to discuss them in any great detail. I've stood in front of the Alamo in San Antonio (about four an one half hours south of Fort Worth, about three and one half hours south of me) but have embarrassingly not learned enough about its position as cornerstone of the birth of this largest state in the union. One of the expressions of the truckers here in Texas is "I been drivin' from sunup to sunset and ain't seen the other side of Texas yet." Texas with 275, 416 square miles of land is nearly twice as large as California. It seems the Californians are confused about how much land they have. Searches reveal sizes of California ranging from 158,869 to 163,707 square miles.

About "the biggest state in the country", we won't count Alaska (591,004 square miles) since it wasn't even thought of during the Alamo times. Anyway, Alaska has more than 3 million lakes over 20 acres in size making much of Alaska under water and that don't count as land to steers or crops. Besides, 20 acres of water is just a sip to a Texas longhorn. And with all that water seeping up from the ocean Alaska is bound to sink some day. Alaska came to be because back when we whupped Santa Anna we ended up with so much extra land that we had Paul Bunyan and Babe drag a chunk of it way up north (which made the Rocky Mountains) to get rid if it and somebody made it Alaska. So, when folks sing "North to Alaska" think of Texas. If anyone has any other really good tall Texas tales, send them in by email and we might post them right here with this one. Can't pay you for your submission, though. And if'n you do NOT want your name and email attached to it, say so.

The Alamo is not a blockbuster nor is it likely to earn any awards, but it is a faithful telling of the events that led up to and including the defeat of Santa Anna at San Jacinto. And our Christian heritage is not ignored nor is our reliance on the Father. I heard once the there are no atheists in foxholes. The Alamo is a good example of that saying.

I don't know if it is true that Crockett was a fiddle player, but some of the reported "flaws" in the lead contributors to the story are presented such as Houston's excessive imbibing of the bottle and Bowie's battle with "consumption" and the depression from knowing he will die from it Even the finale of the campaigns against the heroes in the Alamo was accurately told as happening at night. And Davey Crockett was quick to minimize all the fantastic tales about him such as killing a bear when he was only three, Crockett being the one who was only three. Crockett also told us he learned many things as a congressman but he never learned how to lie. How true it was I don't know that Crockett prevented a volley from Santa Anna by accompanying on his fiddle the drum and brass instrumental Santa Anna played before each volley, but it was a nice touch.

Though to be expected of a war story, clearly the strongest presence in The Alamo is violence. Not much gore but a lot of violence. The battle sequences involve many individualized killings. Though true to history as can be, such imagery and influence can be counterproductive to many youth. [Prov. 3:31-32] General Houston's drinking, guzzling and drunkenness, though probably true, are not a good influence coming from such a figure in and as entertainment. [Eph. 5:18] The only sexual impropriety in the whole picture was when Santa Anna opened the doors to a room and we see a very reluctant young local woman in a bed (fully clothed) obviously for Santa Anna's sexual pleasure. Such was abduction for sex. [1Cor. 7:2] Also a true to but a dark part of our history was the portrayal of slavery, of people as the property of others. Moses spent a great deal of time and effort explaining to us the wrongness of slavery but did we listen? "Let my people go" appears several times in the Bible. And there were 13 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary [1Pet. 3:10] and three uses of God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive [Deut. 5:11].

The CAP scoring range for PG-13 movies in the comparative baseline database is 67 to 55 out of 100. The Alamo earned a score high in that range at 64. While the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area score was zero, scoring in the other five investigation areas were high enough to lift the final score high in the range of scores earned by PG-13 movies in the comparative baseline database. The Alamo is not an "R-13."

Please look to the listing in the Findings/Scoring section for the itemization of findings before you decide the age stratum for which this film is acceptable in your family. The MPAA nor this ministry cannot know as well as you what is and is not right for you children. Only God and you (in that order) can know that.

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If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Prov. 3:31-32 Do not envy a violent man or choose any of his ways, for the LORD detests a perverse man but takes the upright into his confidence.
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. ["Wine" can be any intoxicating substance. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk. A recent study has found an undeniable link between the presentation of alcoholic beverages and tobacco in and as entertainment and abuse of them by adolescents. And teaching/causing youth to abuse alcohol/tobacco by emboldening youth with them in and as entertainment invokes Luke 17:2]
  • 1Cor. 7:2 But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.
  • 1Pet. 3:10 For, Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [Vain is shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or thoughtful discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Rom. 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change [warp, distort, falsely represent, situationally redefine, counterfeit, conditionally apply] the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    The Alamo (2004) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • battle aftermath bodies, little gore
  • cannon fire sequence, repeatedly
  • man to man gunbattle with death
  • impalement killings, repeatedly
  • long battle sequences, many deaths but little gore
  • point-blank killing
  • many individualized battle killings
  • many dead with some gore

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • 13 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • slavery

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • abduction for sex (offscreen)

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking repeatedly
  • drinking repeatedly
  • guzzling repeatedly
  • drunkenness repeatedly

    Offense to God (O)
  • "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" mockery used regarding co-sexual bathing
  • three uses of God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • multiple executions by gunfire

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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