El Cid

El Cid



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El Cid Reviews

Page 1 of 13
William S

Super Reviewer

October 14, 2009
After revisiting The Cid - after a gap of a couple of decades - I have to confess an about-turn. I have always remembered at as stagy, very silly and, more unforgivable, boring - in the grand ol' Epic tradition. Yes, it still is very silly, over the top and utterly in love with it's saintly hero.
But that is its draw.
In the very best sense of the word, El Cid is thoroughly camp. Apart from a David Lean, what else do you expect from this kind of film? I make no apologies for thinking it magnificent.
There is a reason it was such a massive hit when it was released - because it gave the audience of a pot-boiler what they want - a hero to adore, a strong-willed and gorgeous heroine, kings and queens and princes and princesses squabbling and stabbing and throttling each other, an epic bit of jousting, heaving breasts, melodrama, thrilling battles and one heck of a jaw-dropping finale. It's also Miklós Rózsa's finest score.

If you are a fan of Game of Thrones I defy you to not have it in mind while watching.The utterly magnificent (and totally bonkers) finale of our gorgeous hero, dead and nailed to his horse (not surprisingly, Chuck struggled with this), riding off in to eternity, literally trampling the villain underhoof along the way, is something I don't doubt will end up in the show - if it hasn't already

Super Reviewer

April 21, 2013
A favorite of Martin Scorsese (who declared it one of the best epic films ever made), this marked a turning point for historical epics, from Hollywood to international production, from studio based, to more location oriented affairs.

And it is glorious! I disagree with Marty, but do feel that yeah, it is quite a film. Not the best epic ever, but sure, it's up there. The story is a heavily romanticized look at the life of 11th Century Spanish knight Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar/El Cid, who was instrumental in defending Spain from Moorish invaders, with his efforts helping lead to Spanish unification. The man has gone done in history as pretty much being the national hero of Spain, kind of like what Joan of Arc is for France, though in this case, the man isn't an official saint.

The film is typical of that era, in that the hero of the story is shown in generally the best light as much as possible. Like I said, this is a very romanticized film. He's a compassionate warrior and the film details how he gets caught up in various political and military machinations, going from accused traitor to king's champion, and later from exiled hero to lauded martyr. I know my dad likes this movie, as he's talked fondly of it before, and when he told me about it as a kid, the thing that stuck with me is the story/legend of the final battle he participated in. I don't want to spoil it, but let's just say that the story is really cool, if kind of bizarre, even if it may not be true.

It's a colorful film about a colorful man, and it has all the hallmarks of a classic sweeping epic. Yeah, it's long, and it could be tightened up in places, but that's a common problem of most, if not all epics. It might be hard to sit through at times, but hey, we get excellent cinematography, gorgeous sets, costumes, thrilling spectacle, and the satisfaction of seeing stuff done without CGI. I really wish they would still make movies like this, just because you get a real sense of accomplishment when you have to bust your butt and not just rely on computers to do the heavy lifting. Oh yeah, and the score by Miklos Rozsa is just fantastic, and maybe the best thing about this movie.

Heston adds another memorable character to his resume here, and he is of course, solid. We also get a sultry scheming Sophia Loren, and some strong support from Herbert Lom, Raf Vallone, and Genevieve Page among others.

All in all, a sweeping and entertaining spectacle on a grand scale. It does drag at times, but when the film is cooking, it's just a blast to watch, especially the tremendous finale.
Matheus C

Super Reviewer

August 13, 2011
Produção baseada na lendária história do herói espanhol, El Cid faz parte do mesmo tecido dos grandes épicos hollywoodianos populares nas décadas de 50 e 60: filme de costumes, cenas de batalhas épicas, tela larga (neste caso em Technirama), trilha retumbante de Miklós Rósza e, é claro, Charlton Heston no papel principal. Ao mesmo tempo, o fato de ter sido filmado em locações reais na Europa e não em estúdios cria uma ruptura com grande parte do que havia sido produzido até então. El Cid dá continuidade à aproximação mais contemporânea às películas épicas iniciada com Ben-Hur de William Wyler e, especialmente, Spartacus de Stanley Kubrick. O uso de castelos verdadeiros e os detalhes minuciosos dados aos figurinos e cenários conferem um ar de autenticidade que se distanciam do colorido lona de circo e sensibilidade kitsch das obras de Cecil B. DeMille.

A parte intimista do filme também não deixa a desejar, com Charlton Heston em uma de suas interpretações "larger than life" de maior sucesso - o que é algo positivo, já que sua grande presença significa que o protagonista nunca se perde em meio ao escopo gigante da produção. Sophia Loren fica com o papel mais ingrato, sendo vitima da típica caracterização feminina da época. O romance do casal Rodrigo (o El Cid) e Gimenez (Loren) ajuda a dar maior peso dramático à narrativa (e era notável que os atores se odiavam durante as filmagens), mas o filme ganha vida mesmo durante as cenas de batalha. Orquestradas e enquadradas com maestria por Anthony Mann, as impressionantes tracking shots em meio a milhares de figurantes cavalgando à beira-mar nos levam a refletir o motivo de El Cid não ser tão lembrado quanto deveria.

Super Reviewer

September 5, 2010
Yes this movie is insanely long, but it's also insanely fantastic too! I loved Loren and Heston together in this movie. The story is epic, and I'm surprised they haven't made more movies of it. I love this movie, and I highly recommend it.

Super Reviewer

July 18, 2009
Nominated for 7 Oscars including Best Picture, this Samuel Bronston production was one of the most spectacular mega-produced epics ever made that was astounding in budget,astounding in cast,and magnificient in scope and sheer brilliance(filmed on location in the regions of Spain and North Africa). Anthony Mann directs this astounding classic tale of the 11th Century hero(Charlton Heston) who fought to unite Spain against the Moors.
Known as history's "compassionate warrior" the film follows El Cid's remarkable journey from peace-broker accused of treason to the King's fighting champion,and later from exiled hero to legendary martyr. Unequaled in scope,grandeur and adventure this spectacular epic saga brings Sophia Loren, Raf Vallone, John Fraser, Genevieve Page, Gary Raymond and Herbert Lom with a compelling driven masterpiece of a film score from legendary composer Miklos Rozsa. See it in the full Super Panavision 70 format!
Jeremy S

Super Reviewer

June 21, 2008
Very Epical (if that is an adjective) you can't get more epic than the crusades. Way too slow and long though.
Cameron W. Johnson
Cameron W. Johnson

Super Reviewer

May 27, 2012
I know when I think of an Italian Castilian knight, I think of Charlton Heston. ...No, seriously, after he played a Mexican in "Touch of Evil", I'm ready to believe anything, especially an Italian, because back in El Cid's time, that was as white as it got, and that's where Charlton Heston belonged. Orson Welles, wherever you may be, I love you man, you were a genius, but seriously dude, I would hardly call Heston believable as a Latino, though at least he's more believable as one than Martin Sheen, who I'm glad decided not to stick with Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez, because it sure didn't stick with him. I'll tell you what stuck like glue: Charlton Heston and epic blockbuster dramas, because that was pretty much the biggest chunk of his carrer. The boy just couldn't get enough of them, and hey, I can't blame him, because I too would love and do something to death if it got me as much money as it got Heston. Well, thank goodness he at least had the integrity to pick pretty good cash cows, as Martin Scorsese will tell. Still, what neither Scorsese or his eyebrows - which are so big that they have to be alive - will tell you is that this film is, in fact, not among those genuinely good Heston epics, which isn't to say that it's bad, yet it is to say that it is quite faulty, but still with enough going for it to keep it afloat.

The film gets by on an, at worst, workmanlike presence, alone, feeling too safe and secure to collapse upon itself, and a sudden and dramatic rise in quality in the final act solidifies the film's safety. The degree of appreciation is also helped by the film's style value, for the cinematography, while not terribly spectacular, has its moments of handsomeness and much sweep, which works to great effect during the mostly strong action sequences. Much of the same can be said about the general production, which is elaborate and sweeping with a certain attractiveness in sweeping complexity. However, that attractiveness remains hurt by the fact that these production designs are rarely, if ever not same-old-same-old, looking and feeling like just about every other ancient-set epic of its era. ...Hold on, let me check this paragraph up to this point again to make sure that I'm talking about the production designs and not the film itself. Seriously though, the film's safeness and decent style give it enough charm to keep me from rejecting it all together, and the final act helps greatly, yet the film ultimately fails to keep me from total boredom, not in terms of dullness, but in terms of general intrigue. The film is not at all bad, yet it stands as just so startlingly bland and unexpectedly mediocre, falling distances behind the level of quality of many of the countless fellow epics of its type and era, almost entirely because it's too much like them in just about every other way.

While the general concept has the occasional twist and turn, particularly during that final act, the final product is generic beyond comprehension, collapsing into trope after trope set by the genre this film falls much too deeply under, with the obvious exception being that other epics of this type and era aren't typically unispired in their direction. The genericism doesn't help in the least, yet on general grounds, the film is thoroughly uninspired in its execution, carrying an overly consistent tone that brings down most every layer and turn in this film to a single level, rendering countless significant pieces of exposition to fall limp, for director Anthony Mann feels so very uninspired, or at least not until the final act, which, even then, leaves the film to begin going uneven in its storytelling, yet it's at least consistent in keeping up the film's streak of non-subtleties. As if it's not bad enough that Mann all but entirely strips the film of its intrigue until the still rather rocky final act, he also bugs you half to death with drastic lapses in subtleties, especially when it comes to the unrelenting and head-pounding religious overtones and histrionics. At this time, you couldn't swing a symbolic knife without hitting a histrionic drama, yet all of the overbearing melodrama behind this film washes over in grating waves that taint the waters of effective drama, partially because of the lack of should-be distracting intrigue and partially because of the uninteresting performances, the most uninteresting of which being the ones that should be the most inspired. Those disturbingly overbearing to the point of being unattractive lips and eyes aren't the only things on Sophia Loren that seem fake, as her expressiveness and presence are completely absent amidst her non-layered performance, and it doesn't help that she pulls that classic bad-acting starlette move of delivering most all of her lines with unpalatable pretense and embarassing theatrics, yet unlike most classic bad-acting starlettes of her type, she's not drowned out by a strong lead actor. As much as I appreciate Charlton Heston as a classic talent who made plenty good moves, I am of the highly controversial opinion that he was a bit of a hit-or-miss actor, and in this film, while he's not a pain to watch like he was in "The Planet of the Apes", he turns in a dull performance centered around a single note, and hardly a note at that, as he feels so chilled and shockingly charismaless in his uncompelling and disconnectingly inhuman presence, and with love interest Sophia Loren turning in an even worse performance and startling limpness in Anthony Mann's direction, the chemstry between El Cid and Doña Jimena, and by extension, the central point of structure to this mammoth film almost immediately falls dead, thus slaying the film's last chance of transcending mediocrity. Again, the film is not bad, supported by its eventual sudden jolt in quality and the constant fact that it just never really has the guts to just go ahead and die, as a whole, yet there are plenty of bad spots and immensely more uninspired spots, and with the film running for over three uncompelling hours down a same line we had seen time and again by 1961, alone, while there's nothing that ultimately renders the film totally dismissable, there's still more than enough to render it a mediocre bore that's simply not worth the sit.

Bottom line, while the film's, albeit conventional, yet still rather handsome style and production, as well as a certain charm to its workmanlike atmosphere that keeps it going until its admittedly upstanding final act and keeps it from collapsing under its own sprawling weight, I hate to tell you this, Martin Scoresese, but the film stills falls limp, crawling down a wildly formulaic and rather overlong, tonally uneventful line riddled with oppressing themes and undisguised, unrelenting histrionics, exacerbated by sparkless, non-layered and inhumanly lifeless chemistry and performances between leads Sophia Loren and, yes, even Charlton Heston, ultimately leaving "El Cid" a passable, yet thoroughly unrewarding bore of a misstep within the sea of classic epics that it aspries too much for its audience to evoke, yet simply finds itself lost among.

2/5 - Medicore

Super Reviewer

November 14, 2009
Glorious, great epic, classic in terms of script and spectacle, and extraordinary representation of the famous epic poem, stately and thrilling, with everything crisp and simple on the widescreen. Sobriety and restraint are perhaps the keynotes of the film's success, with the result that a potentially risible finale in which Cid's corpse is borne into the realm of legend, strapped to his horse as it leads his men to battle, becomes genuinely stirring. Great acting from Charlton Heston, aptly heroic in the titular 11th-century patriot lead, and Sophia Loren. Miklos Rosza's superb score perfectly complements the images.

Super Reviewer

February 17, 2009
Classic, grand, glorious epic. Solid performance from Charlton Heston, Sophia Loren brings beauty and depth as the Cid's wife with Herbert Lom splendidly sinister as the invading Ben Yussef.

Super Reviewer

October 11, 2007
Sophia Loren is a goddess...and the film was great to......
January 14, 2012
One of the worst Hollywood historical epics I've ever seen. I disliked it as a teenager, despite loving to see movies set in the Middle Ages. However, recent comments I had seen led me to give it another try, this time attempting an open mind. Unfortunately, I find the dialogue unnatural and stilted, the characters essentially undeveloped, the action terribly slow, the direction wooden, and the whole production very static. It's way too long, with a ton of shots of people riding places on horses, and although the horsiness is fun, enough is enough, especially when you have to listen to the same bombastic military music continuously through these scenes. Sophia Loren seems to have only two faces: pouting and glamour-smile. While none of the cast looks as if they have anything sensible to say, Loren is almost laughably unconvincing. Heston looks embarassed to be in the film, as do most of the actors. Page is good as the Princess Uracca (sp?). Unless you just want to see a lot of Hollywood spectacle and don't demand much in a story, give this a pass.
June 2, 2012
It had magnificent locations, overscaled production values, and enough gaudy pageantry - from the hammy performances and dialogue to heavy handed symbology - to put this sort of historical epic in remission for a while, excepting the work of David Lean.
July 26, 2009
Chuck Heston wailing on Moors and evil Christians alike. I get chills when they send out his corpse on the warhorse to scare the moors. Plus Sophia Loren.
November 17, 2008
A gorgeous period piece in the tradition of Cecil B. Demille. This is now one of my favorite Heston films and I feel it ranks with The Ten Commandments and comes close to matching Ben Hur. I was very impressed with the attention to detail, which is to be expected when the production is run by those Europeans who have more of a vested interest in portraying their own history than Hollywood. Heston and the majority of the supporting cast were splendid. Loren was eh; I'm still trying to appreciate her acting style but I will say she looks genuinely scared shitless during the siege of Valencia. I was also kind of disappointed in the send-off of the head Muslim bad guy. He acts like a total bad-ass for the whole movie and then gets run over by horses while looking like a puss?! C'mon, where's the big sword fight?! Overall, a great historical epic. The ending was particularly poignant. With Heston riding off into the distance, I kept thinking "Shane! Come back, Shane!"
March 29, 2008
A typical 60s Hollywood epic. It's probably one of my lesser-liked ones; Charleton Heston's acting seemed even more wooden than usual (Sophia Loren gave a much better performance) and the story has a considerable amount of holes. But what really disappointed me was the impossible ending of the dead Cid driving away the African army "riding" on his white horse. Granted, movies are not reality and must not be taken as such, but the end was really too unbelievable for me.

If you're in the mood for an epic and tired of watching "Spartucus" and "Cleopatra", I'd recommend "El Cid"
February 24, 2008
A 60's look and feel (unfortunately) permeates this historical drama. But, c'mon - it's Charlton Heston in his earnest glory! Pretty impressive cinematography in regard to landscape shots. Amazing pre-CGI army shots... Worth a look for those who like a good period flic...
June 2, 2007
Perfect and inspiring. Rodrigo Diaz is a Hero in every sense of the word. If you don't understand the word "honor," watch this movie and you will. Tony Mann's masterpiece is not available in the US on DVD. That is an absolute shame.
October 20, 2006
Not one of Charlton Heston's best films but you grow to love him as the hero of Spain and the best scene is at the end when strapped to his horse his dead body rides out one last time.
September 15, 2013
One of the greatest crimes in the history of cinema is that this film is not a renowned and beloved classic like other films of it genre from the period. Such as "The Ten Commandments", "Ben-Hur", "Spartacus", and "Lawrence of Arabia". As in my opnion, it easily matches them in terms of power of sheer filmmaking, spectacle, and arguably most importantly storytelling. I would say that after thinking on it and seeing it more than once that it has become one of my favorite films of the genre (though to be fair there are a ton of films in this genre I have said that about, haha), as well as films in general. Perhaps the most disappointing thing with regards to this film's obscurity is concerning how relevant it's story and message have become in our post 9/11 world. Creating a great divide between humble members of certain faiths, and their extremis counterparts who give them a bad name. Telling a grand story about how the Christians and Muslims of Spain came together to defend their homeland from being conquered by a group of extremists bent upon world domination. Though it is interesting to note that two of the biggest Medieval Battle Epics of modern times were heavily influenced by this film. Those being Mel Gibson's "BRAVEHEART" (Another film about a country's national hero that fought for the freedom of his people, uniting and inspiring many others) and Ridley Scott's "KINGDOM OF HEAVEN" (Another film that deals heavily with Christian and Muslim conflict of that era and the necessity of tolerance).
June 7, 2014
Another great epic movie with 2 charismatic stars at the helm.
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