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Juarez (1939)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  10 June 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,395 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 10 critic

Louis Napoleon III takes advantage of the American Civil War to circumvent the Monroe Doctrine and expand his power by helping Emperor Maximillian Hapsburg to add Mexico to his empire. of Mexico.



(screen play), (screen play) (as Aeneas MacKenzie) , 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marechal Bazaine
Alejandro Uradi
Col. Miguel Lopez
Henry O'Neill ...
Miguel Miramon
Dr. Samuel Basch
Walter Kingsford ...
Georgia Caine ...
Lady in Waiting
Montagu Love ...
Jose de Montares


The newly-named Emperor Maximillian, the only monarch of the Second Mexican Empire, arrives in Mexico in the early 1860s with his wife Carlotta to face popular sentiment favoring Benito Juarez and popular demand for democracy. With an elite group of Mexican monarchists, Maximillian tries to appease the democratic Mexicans but he fails. Abraham Lincoln continues to support Juarez and asks the French to withdraw support for Maximilian. Carlotta goes to France to plead with Napoleon III, to no avail. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


See It Now ! You'll Remember It Always ! See more »


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Parents Guide:






Release Date:

10 June 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Juárez  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


| (Turner library print) | (original release)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Orry-Kelly designed costumes for Bette Davis which changed in tone as the film progressed: from white at the beginning, changing to gray in mid-film, and then to black at the end when she goes insane. See more »


When Napoleon lll is informed in a letter that Robert E. Lee has been defeated at Gettysburg, he responds by paraphrasing Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address by calling democracy as government for the people, by the people, etc. He couldn't have known Lincoln's rhetorical flourish because the actual speech was given until mid November 1863. See more »


Empress Carlotta von Hapsburg: More than an empire is in danger. My husband's life. And knowing this, you could abandon him? Answer me, sire!
Emperor Louis Napoleon III: Regardless of my personal sentiments, I am, as you see, Madame, in the hands of my ministers.
Empress Carlotta von Hapsburg: In the hands of your ministers! Was it you or your ministers who conceived the plan to mask your infamies behind my husband's noble name? Who tricked him into accepting the throne by means of a pretended plebiscite? Who assured him of French troops and French funds until the day that the ...
See more »


Referenced in Inside 'Dr. No' (2000) See more »


My Country Tis of Thee
Music attributed to Henry Carey (1744)
Played as part of the score when America is mentioned
See more »

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User Reviews

Flawed but lavish and interesting
19 July 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

What drew me into seeing Juarez in the first place were the cast and that Korngold wrote the music. And while it is far from perfect, there are definitely a lot of good things. It does look exquisite, not just in the lavishly rendered costumes and sets but also in the sweeping cinematography. Korngold's score is splendid also, full of the rich and rousing melodies he is famous for, if not quite on the same level as the scores he did for Prince and the Pauper, Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk and especially The Adventures of Robin Hood. The Mexican history is interesting and I did find it informative, and most of the acting is fine. In particular Bette Davis who is very compelling in her role, Brian Aherne's dignified Maximillian and Claude Rains who plays urbane better than anyone(except perhaps Cary Grant). Donald Crisp, Montagu Love and Joseph Calleia are excellent also. However there are debits, while the script is mostly literate it also suffers from being too talky and trying to tell us too much. The film is perhaps overlong, and is rather tedious in the pace at times. And two actors unfortunately didn't work for me. Paul Muni, wonderful in Scarface, The Good Earth and The Life of Emile Zola, not helped by very heavy make-up is far too stoic and stiff in the lead. And while he tries hard to give the honest intensity the small role of Porfirio Diaz, John Garfield just ended up being out of place. On the whole, a great cast, a splendid score and lavish production values are definite things to like, but Juarez is spoilt sadly by bad pacing, too much talk and two actors who don't convince as much as they should. 6/10 Bethany Cox

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