In the exhilarating action epic “For Greater Glory,” an impassioned group of men and women risk everything for family, faith and the very future of their country. The film’s adventure unfolds against the long-hidden, true story of the 1920s Cristero War—the daring people’s revolt that rocked 20th-century North America. Academy Award nominee Andy Garcia headlines an acclaimed cast as General Gorostieta, the retired military man who at first thinks he has nothing personal at stake as he and his wife (Golden Globe winner Eva Longoria) watch Mexico fall into a violent civil war. Yet the man who hesitates in joining the cause will soon become the resistance’s most inspiring and self-sacrificing leader, as he begins to see the cost of religious persecution on his countrymen. He transforms a rag-tag band of rebels into a heroic force to be reckoned with. The General faces impossible odds against a powerful and ruthless government. Yet it is those he meets on the journey—youthful idealists, feisty renegades and, most of all, one remarkable teenager named Jose—who reveal to him how courage and belief are forged even when justice seems lost.
“For Greater Glory” is a story of great violence—and great faith. The movie opens in Mexico in 1926, a few years after a revolution. A precarious relationship between the Mexican government and the Catholic Church deteriorates as President Plutarco Elias Calles (Ruben Blades) strictly enforces the anti-clerical laws written into the Mexican Constitution in 1917.
Civil organizations, preeminently the League for Religious Liberty, respond peacefully, but the Cristeros take up arms to fight back against the violent atrocities of the government. This is their story. They must confront soldiers riding horses into Catholic churches and shooting members, in addition to killing priests.
There are several stories rolled into one that will touch viewers’ hearts, including that of Jose Sanchez del Rio (Mauricio Kuri) and that of General Enrique Gorostieta Flores (Andy Garcia). Young Jose is a mischievous boy befriended by a warm and kind padre. Jose witnesses him stand up for his faith, and sees the priest shot and killed right in front of him. Jose’s faith grows stronger as he makes a stand for Christ and faces paying the ultimate price with his own life. Mauricio Kuri is outstanding as Jose, and the General is superbly played by Andy Garcia. The General is not sure he believes in God, but he believes in the right of people to worship God as they choose. He sees the faith of young Jose and his own faith begins to grow.
There are powerful themes featured in this film. Fourteen-year old Jose would often cry out “Viva Cristo Rey!” (Long live Christ the King). He sacrifices his horse to a general in battle, risking his own life. Sure enough, he is captured and refuses to denounce his faith. He is told by the government soldiers to yell “Death to Christ the King!” but he refuses and is beaten, has the soles of his feet cut, is forced to walk on ground littered with salt, and taken to a grave where he is given one last chance to deny Christ. The movie powerfully shows the stand he made.
Make no mistake about it: the film accurately portrays the violence of that time period. There are many people shot and killed, stabbed, bloody wounds, hangings, and explosions. That is why we are awarding this film our “Faith-Based” Seal with a Caution for Violence. Adults should consult our content listing to decide if their family should watch the movie. The movie’s messages of faith and martyrdom are powerful. Those messages poke one in the conscience to decide: what do I believe and would I be willing to die for my faith?