The 1920s Cristero rebellion, or the Cristiada, during the latter part of the Mexican Revolution was one of the largest insurgencies in Western history, but few Americans today have heard of it. The closest familiar point of contact is probably Graham Greene's celebrated novel The Power and the Glory, set during the continued anticlerical persecutions of the 1930s after the end of the Cristero conflict.
For Greater Glory is set a decade earlier. The story takes place during the presidency of Plutarco Elias Calles (Rubén Blades), who held office from 1924 to 1928 and continued for a half dozen years afterward to govern the nation through puppets. Calles was a fanatical opponent of Mexico's Catholic Church, which had opposed the revolutionary generals in the turmoil following the Mexican Revolution. He promoted ruthless enforcement of restrictions on the church under the 1917 Constitution, compounding them with draconian punitive measures.
Calles's oppression was met first by peaceful resistance and then by violence, with a decentralized movement of peasant forces—derisively dubbed Cristeros or "Christers" by their opponents—enjoying some startling successes against the federales, particularly under the command of General Enrique Gorostieta Velarde (Andy Garcia), an accomplished military leader who served in the Federal Army before becoming an unlikely leader of the Cristero forces. Spearheaded by Mexican producer Pablo José Barroso, For Greater Glory is one of the most expensive and ambitious films in Mexican filmmaking history. Special effects guru Dean Wright, whose credits include the Lord of the Rings and Narnia films, makes his directorial debut, imbuing the film with an aura of Western saga.
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more
For Greater Glory
This slideshow is only available for subscribers.
Please log in or subscribe to view the slideshow.