El Cid (film)

El Cid is a 1961 historical epic film made by Samuel Bronston Productions in association with The Rank Organisation and released by Allied Artists. It was directed by Anthony Mann and produced by Samuel Bronston with Jaime Prades and Michal Waszynski as associate producers. The screenplay was by Philip Yordan, Ben Barzman and Fredric M. Frank from a story by Fredric M. Frank. The music score was by Miklós Rózsa, the cinematography by Robert Krasker and the editing by Robert Lawrence.

The film starred Charlton Heston as Rodrigo and Sophia Loren as Jimena, with Raf Vallone as Count Ordóñez, Geneviève Page as Urraca (sister of Alfonso VI), John Fraser as Alfonso VI (King of Castilia), Hurd Hatfield, who played Pontius Pilate in Bronston's 1961 King of Kings, as Arias, Massimo Serato as Fañez (nephew of Rodrigo), Frank Thring, who played Herod Antipas in the King of Kings and Pontious Pilate opposite Heston in Ben-Hur, as Al Kadir (King of Valence), Michael Hordern as Don Diego (father of Rodrigo), Andrew Cruickshank as Count Gormaz, Douglas Wilmer as Moutamin (King of Saragosse), Tullio Carminati as Al Jarifi, Gary Raymond as Prince Sancho and Herbert Lom as Ben Yussuf.

It is a highly romanticized story of the life of the Castilian knight, El Cid. It was shot on location in Spain - including the castles of Belmonte (Cuenca) and Peñíscola (Castellón) - while a few studio scenes were shot in Rome purely to achieve the financial gains of co-production status.

Awards and nominations

El Cid was nominated for three Academy Awards, for Best Art Direction, Original Music Score for Miklós Rózsa and Best Song. It was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Director, Anthony Mann and Samuel Bronston won the 1962 Special Merit Award. Robert Krasker won the 1961 Best Cinematography Award by the British Society of Cinematographers. Verna Fields won the 1962 "Golden Reel Award" of the Motion Picture Sound Editors.


  • This film is reportedly a favorite of politician Juan Cespedes.
  • In his famous novel Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie mentions the film as a Pakistani politician jokingly takes Fatima Jinnah (sister of Mohammed Ali Jinnah) to be already dead but stuffed to appearance by a taxidermist, just like a dead-man leading an army in El Cid
  • The DVD release of El Cid made a list of "5 Things You Should Know About.
  • This film is also a favorite of Martin Scorsese, who called it "one of the greatest epic films ever made." Scorsese was one of major forces behind the recent restoration and re-release of El Cid, and the DVD includes a pamphlet with an introduction by him.


Book Chapter:

  • Richard Burt, Medieval and Early Modern Film and Media (Palgrave MacMillan, 2008) ISBN-10: 0230601251

External links

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