El Cid - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

El Cid Reviews

Page 2 of 14
May 28, 2013
Watching now...Sophia Loren is STUNNING!
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.
April 11, 2013
Dated but very rewatchable. Too slow for today but viewed as of it's era, it is a real treat. Carlton Heston and Sophia Loren are great actors and the chemistry between them is palpable although muted by the Hollywood standards of that era. An epic for those who like epics.
November 27, 2012
Charlton Heston was an idiot of a man in real life, but man did he land some of the best film epics. This is one of them.
November 3, 2012
This classic epic form the Bronson stable, will always endure as one of, if not the best epic of its day. A film that truly burst from its narrative constraints to be come a true epic masterpiece, rather than your typical MGM sword and sandal affair.

That is not to say that films such as Ben-Hur and Spartacus do not compare, because that just is not true but there is as something timeless about the approach of this film. The quality and the obvious approach of story over gloss helps this break the bonds of its contemporaries.

The performances are spot on, well for the most part, and the cinematography and what may well be Miklos Rosza's finest score, are first rate and along with the sound design and writing, propel this into the realm of classics, though it would seem, somewhat, a lost one.

This is a perfect example of marketing in Hollywood. This was produced by Samuel Bronson, who worked with MGM on more than one occasion, most notably, within this subject matter anyway, The King Of Kings and he also produced his own epics.

This, was one of them, the other most notable was The Fall Of The Roman Empire. As a result the distribution has never been as polished as MGM's catalogue, such a Ben-Hur and therefore this has not been pushed towards a wide audience for along while. The Miriam Collection, now available on DVD, have finally released this film as was intended, fully restored and with a pristine picture and sound to die for.

I HIGHLY recommend this film and the DVD as this is in real danger of become a lost epic, whist it should be heralded as one of Hollywood's greatest...
½ October 7, 2012
"Can a man live without honor?" Gorgeous sweeping historical epic directed by Anthony Mann and starring the unpenetrably altruistic Charlton Heston as El Cid, the Spanish warrior who brought Christians & Muslims together to fight off meaner, more evil Muslim conquerors. The first half of the film is incredibly gripping as he slays his soon-to-be-father-in-law, earns the contempt of his fiance Sophia Loren, and jousts brutally for his honor. The second half is more typical hero stuff, but its the devious mindgames with his true love & her assassins that appeal to my demented noggin over the monstrous battlefield clashes of extras that conclude the picture. VF.
September 14, 2012
In the first two minutes of the movie proper, you hear the intent and goal of the radical Islamist. Those storming the walls of the embassies are following the orders of radicals, or just whipping the mob up into a frenzy to do their bidding. Of course we all believe the administration when they tell us that it is a small group that coordinated the attacks of a dozen locations across two continents with the semblance of military precision, killing an ambassador, three US citizens, and US Marines in Afghanistan, and causing the deaths of numerous citizens of other countries. It is an oversight that the security preparations that have preceded previous 911 anniversaries, with a sympathetic government in power, are not required, now that a more hostile government is in control?! So much for a successful Foreign Policy! Wise men have said "Learn from History (His-Story), or you are bound to repeat it."When the major colleges and universities stopped teaching the basic classics with all that knowledge, philosophy, and wisdom (knowledge tempered by experience), forged in the fires of history, tempered by a strong Judeo/Christian faith, the roots of our current demise were set. Couple that with the NEA's liberal tendencies of self service (look at their salaries today in Wisconsin, Chicago compared to equal private sector positions, then look at their inability to be accountable for their actions (which looses your job for you in the private sector) as they indoctrinate out students in an environment where they are taught that the "Ten Commandments" (the foundation of our entire legal system and culture) is old and irrelevant, yet our youth are encouraged to dress up like an Islamic and kneel on a rug, bowing to the East. There is just something fundamentally wrong with that in the "Land of the Free, and Home of the Brave"Ã,Â?, where the First Amendment exists as LAW: Amendment ICongress shall make no law respecting an establishment ofreligion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridgingthe freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of thepeople peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Governmentfor a redress of grievances.I pray that our nation will once again claim our birthright and return to being a "Nation of laws and not of men."Ã,Â?
½ August 19, 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.
July 26, 2012
Blu-ray is just amazing. Must own. Sophia <3
June 18, 2012
A long, beautiful (yes, not just the scenery in Spain, but Sophia Loren) epic spectacle in the grandest tradition.
June 10, 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.
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
½ April 3, 2012
overly melodramatic. it was like watching a movie from a specific era, to study the cinematographic, editing, and other 'choices' that were characteristic of the era. And wow, so many extras!
February 5, 2012
Great film, set in the middle period of the Reconquista by the Spanish Christian Kingdoms of Al-Andatlus from the Moors, at the end of the 11th Century AD (ie Battle of Hastings period). Charlton Heston does a great job on portraying Don Rodriguo Diaz de Vivar aka El Cid as a military leader with a strong conscience, while Sophie Loren, at the peak of her beauty, adds considerable decoration. The supporting cast is pretty solid too. Filmed mainly in Spain, which adds to the authenticity of the look, the movie is from that period when the multitudinous extras in an epic were actually filmed, rather than being mainly added in the computer after. Having said that, the contribution of computers to the restoration of the "print" now available in the current DVD version DOES enhance both the spectacle and the enjoyment.
½ December 24, 2011
Memorable film about a little known historical feature, excellent production values
December 10, 2011
recommended by hawkledge.
½ November 6, 2011
I've been meaning to see this for a long time, but a lot of Heston's longer films can be a bit much (Ben-Hur and the Ten Commandments, I'm looking at you). However, this film has the pacing it needs and the epic scope you want from a rip-roaring medieval epic. Sure, it's that weird 50s fantasy version of the Middle Ages, but the story is pretty good, and much less jingoistic than I expected. Not much of a history lesson, as it skips over 90% of what happened, it's still a solid adventure film with a kick-ass ending. Heston in top form as the honorable man against a dirty world.
Super Reviewer
October 4, 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.
September 23, 2011
In addition to great action, it's got great character, it's beautiful, complex, tense, dramatic, and all-around BIG...in every sense, it's what every "epic" film should be and most fail to accomplish even half of.
½ June 28, 2011
Perhaps not as good as I remembered from childhood viewings, but still a great epic saga.
Page 2 of 14