El Cid - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

El Cid Reviews

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April 28, 2011
Beautiful, sweeping epic drama of the nobleman who became known as El Cid.
April 9, 2011
One of my favourite movies of all time. If you enjoy history, epic scale of filmaking, Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren you will love this film. Also, in today's world of religious tension this movie is a shining example of how no people or religion is infallible. But good and decent people can come together from diverse backgrounds to defend fundamental human values of justice and freedom against common threat.

See this epic.
½ February 28, 2011
Slower paced than the other classic Hollywood epics but with some fine moments.
February 26, 2011
Great Movie but the El Sid was a Black Man according to middle age, Medieval history. He was a black knight!!
January 24, 2011
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...
January 23, 2011

Every single aspect of EL CID is as meticulously planned and executed as I think I have ever seen in a film. Nothing has been left to chance in EL CID, there is a cast of thousands here... and each and every one of them has been told exactly where and how to stand at all times... and in every scene.

The sets are breath-taking... the tale, engrossing and complex... the performances are as brilliant as the 1960's could ever allow in a sword and sandal epic.

This is not a movie... this is a film.

Heston delivers in one of his most understated performances ever. He is completely effective and vital in his presence as the titular "El Cid". Sophia Loren is astounding as the very strong, female lead, Jimena, a character who refuses to sit in the background and wring her hands at the events that surround her (which was so typical to female roles of the genre in general... and to female characters of the era, specifically).

Loren is given a challenging and pivitol role in EL CID and her performance as the scorned, damaged Jimena is tremendous fun to watch. Loren deals in the conflicting dualities in which she finds herself quite effectively. Watching her transformation in the film is a pleasure.

Did I mention the sets?

Filmed against the rugged backdrops of Madrid, Toledo and Rome... EL CID manages to capture 11th century western Europe perfectly! This film does not suffer from cheesy-looking sets or any other form of anachronistic elements so often found in films of this kind. The castles look real, because they are. The battlegrounds look real, because fields and mountain ranges were used in lieu of staged backlots... even the grading of the film has been handled in such a way as to produce colours as close to reality as I've ever seen committed to film.

Great attention was paid to the versimillitude of EL CID. Tapestries, artworks and costumes look authentically worn... but are lushly coloured without looking at all garish or overly vibrant. The architecture of a lowly, straw-covered barn is every bit as important as the greatest of the great, royal banquet halls or luxurious cathedrals.... Each scene looks like a painting.

Look....... EL CID is a love story, wrapped up in a film about Kings and castles... Beautiful damsels, heroic knights... ascendency to royal thrones... regicides (and smaller betrayals)... gallant heroes and their battles across the backdrop of the 11th century crusades.

It's not going to be a story for everybody... but it truly is one of the most visually arresting and well-written films I have ever seen. It is worthy of every star I've given here.

I loved this Epic...
January 15, 2011
Unfortunately sparked off a genre that rots at the core of Hollywood mainstream where some dreadful titles came in the form of films such as Troy and Kingdom of Heaven. Loads of fighting with loads of money. El Cid, however, is a much more powerful and better sought title with both an excellent leading man and director.
December 14, 2010
An epic masterpiece that shows Charlton Heston at his finest and Sophia Loren at HERā¦finest too. Lavish battle sequences and sweeping scores that make this the Lord of the Rings or Avatar of its time. A must-see for anyone who is a fan of historical fiction or just classic cinema.
December 13, 2010
Well of course the set design is incredible, as it's an early 60s epic. And there's a cast of thousands, as it's an early 60s epic. And those things are nice to look at. So are the locations. This is the best "Come to Spain" ad I've seen in some time. The film is intermnible. But worse, in it's 3 plus hours there are...plot holes! How is that possible? What was the original cut? Heston's motivations are often sketchy. Sometimes we're supposed to think of him as some kind of male Joan of Arc, other times merely as a really good citizen, or as a man who is rather ridiculously in love with the woman who's father he killed. The narration is thrown in when they need it and pops up here and there (three times I thnk) to keep the film at three hours. I really can't imagine how long it would have been had they tried to tell more of this story. What's with the pronunciation of Jimena? It sounds like they are all saying Chemen or something. Too long, too traditional, too "epic," too boring.
December 4, 2010
There is a spanish style villain in the cartoon The Tick named El Seed, who has a big flower to his head and is always trying to liberate the plants. I start with that because I never really got the joke until I watched this Charlton Heston movie. So, onto the movie review. El Cid is a great sweeping epic that has some great action scenes, an awesome performance from Heston and Sophia Loren looking absolutely beautiful. My only really criticism is that it is just too long, but other then that I don't think Heston has ever looked as bad @$$ as he does in the second part of El Cid. Now, I am off to watch The Tick again so I can appreciate their film educational humor.
Super Reviewer
November 22, 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
October 25, 2010
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!
August 16, 2010
El Cid really got the spirit of the great spanish hero Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar. The production is fantastic: the sets, the costumes, the performances, the score, the story, all the pieces match perfectly in the production. An amazing spectacle that can rarely be made these days.
½ May 21, 2010
I usually don't like Charlton Heston, but I loved him in this movie. And he really had great chemistry with Sophia Loren. And there was beautiful scenery and quite a good story. I've decided that when I grow up, I want to look like Sophia Loren.
½ April 20, 2010
½ April 9, 2010
Three hours that really dragged by, briefly interrupted by some very decent swordfights and jousting. Under closer scrutiny, the later bigger battle scenes look a lot like handbags at 10 paces, with extras just waving swords about. Herbert Lom plays an amusing pantomime baddy, something like a cross between Captain Hook and Mustapha Leak. The real villain of the piece though, is the languid direction and editing which kill El Cid long before the arrows do. If it had about 40mins removed, it could be so much better. The audio mixing on the version I had wasn't brilliant either - most of the time you could hardly hear the dialogue, then the trumpets and timpani would deafen you a minute later which was very annoying. For such a renowned epic, I thought it was only so so.
Super Reviewer
½ April 7, 2010
Very Epical (if that is an adjective) you can't get more epic than the crusades. Way too slow and long though.
April 4, 2010
On par with the likes of "Spartacus" and "Ben-Hur," "El Cid" is (at least in my opinion) the greatest epic film to ever come out of Hollywood. The story of the 11th century Spanish knight who united Christians and Muslims to drive out Moorish invaders is the stuff of legend, and the film does justice to (but takes some liberties with) the real historical figure and the epic poem his life inspired. Charlton Heston, infamous for his melodramatic overacting, brings his usual commanding presence to the role of the Cid, but for one of the only times in his career also brings a certain amount of subtlety and nuance to the part. It's easily his best performance. Sophia Loren is ravishing as the beautiful Chimene, and the script does an excellent job of developing and exploring the relationship between the Cid and his bride. Speaking of the script, "El Cid" is unique in its genre in that it never chooses to go over the top with its drama, keeping things grounded and realistic. Director Anthony Mann, known for a string of uncommonly intelligent westerns in the 1950s, keeps a tight grip on the story and never lets things get off track. He also brings a distinctive, realistic visual style that benefits the film immensely. The look and feel of medieval Spain is believable thanks to authentic and detailed sets and costumes. Better yet, the film's action sequences--sword fights, battles, a jousting duel--hold up much better than other such sequences in older films, with genuine excitement and suspense, and a surprising level of violence. El Cid is such a noble hero and his story so compelling that this is a film I would not hesitate to recommend. Seek it out if you can, you will not be disappointed.
½ March 17, 2010
one of the first epic movies i saw. the score was magnificient. a truly noble film that is lost among the heaps of lessor works. like most films, its historical efficacy may be somewhat flawed, but so are many history books.
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