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Black and white film depicting a group of Rough Riders on horseback.

The Spanish-American War in Motion Pictures

The War of 1898 and the subsequent Philippine- American War were the first U.S. military conflicts to be filmed. The Edison Manufacturing Company and the American Mutoscope & Biograph Company produced the films in Orange, New Jersey. While some films involve actual footage taken in the United States, Cuba, and the Philippines, others were staged as reenactments of battles or marching soldiers. Such is the case with this film, which depicts Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders charging toward the camera. 

The “Rough Riders” nickname was given to the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, which saw combat
in Cuba under Roosevelt’s leadership. The U.S. press widely covered their role in the battle at
Las Guásimas and San Juan Hill in eastern Cuba, cementing their popularity among the U.S. public.

Edison Manufacturing Company
Black-and-white film
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.