Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Leticia Velasquez

6/4/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Great performances surround this account of Mexico's fight for religious freedom

Do not miss this remarkable salute to the little known heroes of the Cristeros rebellion, an opportunity not only to educate your family about past religious persecution and the heroes who fought for religious liberty in Mexico, but a spellbinding experience to inspire your own reaction to similar threats in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.


By Leticia Velasquez

Catholic Online (

6/4/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Movies

Keywords: For Greater Glory, Mauricio Kuri, Andy Garcia, Peter O'Toole, Cristero, Cristeros, Cristiada

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Mexico in the 1920's was a genteel society where ladies and gentlemen dressed in their Sunday best, casually strolled to Mass through the town plaza. The parish priest was a preeminent figure in the community, and no one imagined that President Plutarco Calles would send their gracious world into a tailspin with his sudden enactment of Mexican anti-clerical laws in 1926.

Mexican churches closed their doors in protest on August 1, 1926 and the people saw their Catholic schools and churches confiscated, their priests exiled and even murdered before their horrified gaze.  Their first reaction was to organize boycotts through the National League for Religious Liberty, but the Calles retaliation grew bloodier and soon many Mexican Catholics felt that their only recourse was to take up arms.

The Cristero Movement was born, from landowning peasants whose religious faith was strong, and who fought to reclaim their rights to freedom of religion. Their battle cry was "Que viva Cristo Rey!" (Long live Christ the King!) As they carried banners with Christ's image into battle and attended Holy Mass in their camps, they knew they were fighting to maintain religious freedom in their homeland.

In the new epic film "For Greater Glory." Andy Garcia plays General Enrique Gorostieta Velarde a renowned retired general whose civilian life as head of a soap factory leaves him anxious to return to battle even though his atheism has his wife Tulita (Eva Longoria, "The Sentinel") somewhat cynical as to his role in a conflict over religious freedom. General Gorostieta says he's fighting so his daughters can receive Confirmation, but soon the inspiring valor of 14-year-old José Luis Sánchez del Rio (Mauricio Kuri) who begs to join the Cristeros spurs the general to greater personal investment in the cause for religious freedom.

A once-hidden epoch in Mexican history is brought unflinchingly to life by riveting performances by such venerable actors as Oscar-winner Peter O'Toole as Fr Christopher an aged foreign priest who incredulous to learn that he is no longer welcome in the nation whose people he served all his life, and newcomer Mauricio Kuri as his young protégé in the defense of the Faith.

The power of religious conviction to drive self-sacrifice is the inspiring theme in this extraordinary film, portrayed with equal power by both militant priests like Fr Vega (Santiago Cabrera, "Heroes") and pacifist activists such as Blessed Anacleto Gonzalez Flores (Eduardo Verastegui, "Bella").

Director Dean Wright does not dwell on the violence of the conflict, but focuses on the state of the characters' souls as they valiantly embrace sacrifices required to combat by the cruel suppression of the Federales. Stirring portrayals of good and evil set amid colorful Mexican landscapes suffused with Catholic iconography create an unforgettable cinematic experience comparable to "The Mission."

Andy Garcia gives the performance of his career, filling the screen with his character's powerful transformation from mercenary to hero, but Mauricio Kuri's screen debut is the showstopper. Blessed José Luis Sánchez del Rio is first seen as an insolent adolescent who Fr Christopher mentors as an altar boy but his lessons on moral courage are driven home when the boy witnesses the elderly priests' martyrdom. Jose insists on bringing his friend along to join the Cristeros, and humbly accepts his position as a non-combatant, until destiny thrusts him into the spotlight.

Do not miss this remarkable salute to the little known heroes of the Cristeros rebellion, an opportunity not only to educate your family about past religious persecution and the heroes who fought for religious liberty in Mexico, but a spellbinding experience to inspire your own reaction to similar threats in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. It is providential that "For Greater Glory" is coming out as the USCCB's Fortnight for Freedom initiative is about to begin.

I give "For Greater Glory" my highest recommendation. Suitable for ages 13 and up, like "The Passion of the Christ", the film is rated R for violent and disturbing content. (Sexual content is minimal; there is one bedroom scene with a discussion between husband and wife, and a brief scene of women in 1920's style undergarments)  Greatest respect for the highest expressions of human dignity; sacrifice, love and faith is exalted in this film. 


Leticia Velasquez reviews movies for Catholic Media Review. She is also a popular writer on issues relating to Life and Family.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Movies

Jennifer Garner's new Christian film, 'Miracles from Heaven' releases trailer that will make you cry Watch

Image of The 43-year-old Jennifer Garner stars in the lead role, based on the real-life book by Christy Beam


Jennifer Garner stars in the new Christian film, "Miracles from Heaven." Due in theaters by Easter, the film is the real-life story of a Texas mother whose faith is tested when her daughter is diagnosed with a rare disease. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading

Film 'Spotlight' features clergy pedophelia scandal -Vatican Radio hails it as 'honest' and 'compelling' Watch

Image of 'Spotlight' covers the true story of The Boston Globe revealing the American Catholic Church pedophilia cover-up, which led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law in December, 2003.


Open Road Films released Spotlight in select theaters on Friday, November 6th. The film centers around the Catholic Church's history with child molestation and cover-ups. It has been received by audiences as an honest portrayal of an important topic in need of ... continue reading

Hilarious sequel promised in 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2' trailer Watch

Image of The impending sequel,


"My Big Fat Greek Wedding" released in 2002 became a rom-com classic that earned over $300 million worldwide. With just enough romance for the women and untoward humor for the gents, the original film is a personal favorite of many. The impending sequel, "My ... continue reading

Will Brangelina's new film disappoint in the box office? Critics weigh in Watch

Image of


Lovely to look at - a joy to behold, it is said that the Brad Pitt - Angelina Jolie vanity project "By the Sea" will leave moviegoers cold. A lavish period piece set along the Maltese Coast during the Seventies, "By the Sea" reportedly attempts to be an "art" ... continue reading

Exciting first look at J.K. Rowling's new 'Harry Potter' movie 'Fantastic Beasts' Watch

Image of The new film marks a distinct location change. Whereas


Concluding both the book and film series about boy wizard "Harry Potter," author J.K. Rowling is bringing that fantasy universe back to the silver screen with "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." Based on the book of the same name, the film finds Harry ... continue reading

Never-before-heard SECRETS from the highly-anticipated new Star Wars film LEAKED HERE (SPOILER ALERT) Watch

Image of Giddy android C-3PO returns, albeit with a red arm contrasting to his shiny golden suit of armor. The previous arm is revealed to have been lost in a previous misadventure.


Secrets of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" have been leaked to various press sources, so if you want to keep details of the latest installment a delicious surprise when you see it close to opening day - skip this article! LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "The ... continue reading

World's first android actress stuns viewers in unexpected ways on the big screen Watch

Image of The Japanese film


The new science-fiction drama from Japan, "Sayonara" features the world's first android actress. Named Geminoid F, the robot can speak and convey emotions but remains ambulatory through an electric wheelchair. The film, while posing questions as to what ... continue reading

Top 5 scary movies to get you in the Halloween frame of mind Watch

Image of When Mr. Boogie pays you call -- you better not dance, but run as fast as your legs can carry. From


It's Halloween, and those not inclined to watch scary movies sit down to watch scary movies to get in the mood. Film critic Mark Hughes offers these recommendations, which he feels are the top five horror films of the past 10 years. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading

Three Hollywood greats meet in Macau - but not for gambling Watch

Image of Three Hollywood greats - actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, along with superstar director Martin Scorsese met at the Chinese gambling Mecca of Macau - but it was not for gambling.


Three Hollywood greats - actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, along with superstar director Martin Scorsese met at the Chinese gambling Mecca of Macau - but it was not for gambling. The occasion was the unveiling of their new 15-minute short, "The ... continue reading

Old, forgotten films getting new life with on-demand DVDs Watch

Image of


Thousands upon thousands of our nation's motion pictures - a vital part of the United States' cultural heritage, remain stacked high in warehouses at movie studios. Older pictures, from the Silent Era to the Sixties remain unwatched due to what is perceived as ... continue reading

All Movies News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Who Needs Advent? I do!
  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video
  • President likens Syrian refugees to pilgrims on Mayflower in ...
  • Daily Readings for Monday, November 30, 2015
  • Prayer For Courage HD Video
  • BIGGER THAN ISIS - There's a hidden power behind ISIS and it's so big ...
  • St. Andrew: Saint of the Day for Monday, November 30, 2015

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 33:14-16
14 "Look, the days are coming, Yahweh declares, when I shall fulfil the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
4 DIRECT me in your ways, Yahweh, and teach me your paths.5 ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
25 'There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations ... Read More

Reading 2, First Thessalonians 3:12--4:2
12 May the Lord increase and enrich your love for each other and for all, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 29th, 2015 Image

St. Saturninus
November 29: St. Saturninus Bishop of Toulouse and Martyr ... Read More