The Mark of Zorro (1940)

Approved  |   |  Action, Adventure, Romance  |  8 November 1940 (USA)
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Reviews: 76 user | 50 critic

A young aristocrat must masquerade as a fop in order to maintain his secret identity of Zorro as he restores justice to early California.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
J. Edward Bromberg ...
Montagu Love ...
Janet Beecher ...
George Regas ...
Chris-Pin Martin ...
Turnkey (as Chris - Pin Martin in opening credits)
Belle Mitchell ...
John Bleifer ...
Frank Puglia ...
Eugene Borden ...
Officer of the Day


Around 1820 the son of a California nobleman comes home from Spain to find his native land under a villainous dictatorship. On the one hand he plays the useless fop, while on the other he is the masked avenger Zorro. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Ride With Zorro . . . The Dashing Don Of California's Most Adventurous Era ! See more »


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Parents Guide:






Release Date:

8 November 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Californian  »

Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (censored)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The famous duel was staged by Hollywood fencing master Fred Cavens. Cavens specialized in staging duels that relied more on actual swordplay rather than the jumping on furniture and leaping from balconies that many film "duels" consisted of up until that point. Cavens' son, Albert Cavens, doubled for Tyrone Power in the fancier parts of the duel (mostly with his back to camera), such as the extended exchange with Esteban ending with Don Diego's sword smashing into the bookcase. Basil Rathbone, a champion fencer in real life, did not care for the saber (the weapon of choice in this film), but nevertheless did all of his own fencing. Fast fencing shots were undercranked to 18 or 20 frames per second (as opposed to the standard 24fps) and all the sound effects were post-synchronized. See more »


When the padre leaves the cell he has a pistol in his right hand. When he starts hitting the soldiers, he has a tree limb in his right hand. When the Alcade resigns, the padre escorts him the pistol is back in his right hand. See more »


Inez Quintero: [after Lolita expresses an interest in love] You have the blood of the Hidalgos in your veins! Keep it cool, my girl, or I'll whisk you off into a convent!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: MADRID - when the Spanish Empire encompassed the globe, and young blades were taught the fine and fashionable art of killing ... See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

my favorite superhero movie
9 October 2004 | by (Brooklyn, NY) – See all my reviews

I like to be an iconoclastic jerk sometimes, so whenever I'm asked to name the best superhero movie, I always say "The Mark of Zorro." Then I have to specify that I mean the Tyrone Power movie, not the Fairbanks one and certainly not the Banderas. Ah, elitism can be amusing sometimes...

Seriously, though, this is one heck of a motion picture. The best part is the pacing; it's deliciously slow, in the most effective way. Characters are developed fully, tensions heighten gradually, and just when you're on the verge of getting bored - BOOM! A fantastic chase scene or swordfight perfectly repays your patience. Well, my patience, anyway. Maybe you were bored the whole way through?

Tyrone Power is simply awesome in this flick. He's hilarious as the fey Don Diego, and he cuts an impressive figure as Zorro. It's easy to see that Batman was patterned on Zorro, as he also pretends to be a stupid playboy, but Bruce Wayne was *never* this cool.

Basil Rathbone makes a great villain, as always, and his close-quarters duel with Zorro is, as I'm sure you've heard, one of cinema's great action scenes (I think the confined setting actually enhances the suspense). Even J. Edward Bromberg, who plays a slightly dated and silly character, somehow manages to come across well - it's interesting to see his character come into his own as the main villain at the end of the movie.

Even the romance isn't a dud. Lots of amusing flirting goes on, and Linda Darnell certainly is easy on the eyes.

Why can't they make action flicks like this anymore? To paraphrase a certain famous political catchphrase, "it's the characters, stupid." Everybody in this movie is colorful and cool, and through them I get wrapped up in the plot. When the biggest complaint I have is a bit of rear-screen projection during a boat ride, you know the movie's almost perfect.

37 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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