Viva Zapata!

Overview

Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck and directed by Elia Kazan, this film follows the life of Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata Marlon Brando from his peasant upbringing, through his rise to power in the early 1900s, to his death. The film presents an interesting but fictionalized picture of Zapata. Zapata, the child of tenant-farmers, was joined by Pancho Villa in his rebellion against tyrannical President Porfirio Diaz. The film romanticizes Zapata and in doing so unfortunately distorts the true nature of ...
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Overview

Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck and directed by Elia Kazan, this film follows the life of Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata Marlon Brando from his peasant upbringing, through his rise to power in the early 1900s, to his death. The film presents an interesting but fictionalized picture of Zapata. Zapata, the child of tenant-farmers, was joined by Pancho Villa in his rebellion against tyrannical President Porfirio Diaz. The film romanticizes Zapata and in doing so unfortunately distorts the true nature of the wars he waged. Zapata fought, not to conquer Mexico but to free the land for the peasants of Morelos and other southern provinces. The Oscar-nominated screenplay by John Steinbeck ignores some historical details in order to focus on the corruptive influence of power. Marlon Brando won an Academy Award nomination for his work, as did Anthony Quinn, who took home the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his headstrong, hard-fighting, hard-drinking, intensely romantic character who does not hesitate to die for love. The film also features a beautiful score by Alex North, who also received an Academy Award nomination.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Michael Costello
Kazan's rousing semi-fictional account of the key years of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata has an epic sweep and the director's characteristic macho poetry, along with a superb cast, but it's stronger in its parts than as a whole. The script reflects Kazan's desire to reconfigure his "friendly" testimony before HUAC and denunciation of his former political allies as the grand gesture of a man repelled by the machinations of politics. Zapata, who was both more barbaric and less ambitious than the film allows, was a fierce fighter for the self-determination of the peasants, but not quite the noble peasant depicted. While the film tends to bog down in rhetoric at times, the action is invariably well-choreographed and beautifully shot, reflecting the influence of Eisenstein and archival photographs from the Historia Grafica de la Revolucion. Early Brando with Kazan is always worth watching, and his scowl of indignation galvanizes the film in a way that the diffuse script never quite achieves. Quinn is ideal as a crude foil for the more mercurial star, and Joseph Wiseman has the best role of his career as the kind of apparatchik Kazan clearly despised. Of his work with Brando on the film, Kazan wrote, "Sometimes the best direction consists of reading an actor's face, and, when you see the right thing there, simply nodding. A few words, a touch, and a smile will do it. Then wait for a miracle. With Marlon, it often happened."
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/5/2001
  • UPC: 086162135231
  • Original Release: 1952
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Marlon Brando Emiliano Zapata
Jean Peters Josefa Espejo
Anthony Quinn Eufemio Zapata
Joseph Wiseman Fernando Aguirre
Arnold Moss Don Nacio
Margo Soldadera
Alan Reed Sr. Pancho Villa
Harold Gordon Don Francisco Madero
Lou Gilbert Pablo
Mildred Dunnock Senora Espejo
Frank Silvera Huerta
Nina Varela Aunt
Florenz Ames Senor Espejo
Bernie Gozier Zapatista
Frank de Kova Col. Guajardo
Pedro Regas Innocente
Richard Garrick Old General
Fay Roope Diaz
Ross Bagdasarian Sr. Officer
Leonard George Husband
Will Kuluva Lazaro
Abner Biberman Captain
Philip Van Zandt Extra
Henry Corden Senior Officer
Fernanda Eliscu Fuentes' Wife
Robert Filmer Captain
George Lewis Rurale
Joseph Granby Gen. Fuentes
Peter Mamakos Soldier
Belle Mitchell Nacio's Wife
Julia Montoya Wife
Nestor Paiva New General
Ric Roman Manager
Henry Silva Peon who challenges "president" Zapata
Guy Thomajan Eduardo
Technical Credits
Elia Kazan Director
Claude E. Carpenter Set Decoration/Design
W.D. Flick Sound/Sound Designer
Leland Fuller Art Director
Roger Heman Sound/Sound Designer
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
Joe MacDonald Cinematographer
Barbara McLean Editor
Alfred Newman Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Alex North Score Composer
Ben Nye Sr. Makeup
Fred Sersen Special Effects
John Steinbeck Screenwriter
William Travilla Costumes/Costume Designer
Lyle Wheeler Art Director
Darryl F. Zanuck Producer
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