Viva Zapata! (1952)

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The story of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, who led a rebellion against the corrupt, oppressive dictatorship of president Porfirio Diaz in the early 20th century.



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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »
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Directors: Lewis Milestone, Carol Reed
Stars: Marlon Brando, Trevor Howard, Richard Harris


Complete credited cast:
Arnold Moss ...
Don Nacio
Margo ...
Harold Gordon ...
Lou Gilbert ...
Florenz Ames ...
Señor Espejo
Richard Garrick ...
Old General
Fay Roope ...
Señora Espejo


In 1909, Emiliano Zapata, a well-born but penniless Mexican Mestizo from the southern state of Morelos, comes to Mexico City to complain that their arable land has been enclosed, leaving them only in the barren hills. His expressed dissatisfaction with the response of the President Diaz puts him in danger, and when he rashly rescues a prisoner from the local militia he becomes an outlaw. Urged on by a strolling intellectual, Fernando, he supports the exiled Don Francisco Madero against Diaz, and becomes the leader of his forces in the South as Francisco 'Pancho' Villa is in the North. Diaz flees, and Madero takes his place; but he is a puppet president, in the hands of the leader of the army, Huerta, who has him assassinated when he tries to express solidarity for the men who fought for him. Zapata and Villa return to arms, and, successful in victory, seek to find a leader for the country. Unwillingly, Zapata takes the job, but, a while later, he responds to some petitioners from his ... Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A BANDIT WHO BECAME A LEGEND!...Roaring Story of Mexico's Tiger on a White Horse!


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Parents Guide:






Release Date:

22 August 1952 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Beloved Tiger  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Anthony Quinn won his Oscar for this film on the same night that his father-in-law Cecil B. DeMille won the award for Best Picture for The Greatest Show on Earth (1952). See more »


When Zapata rides away across the plaza after a confrontation, his pistol falls out of his holster without his noticing. See more »


Emiliano Zapata: A strong people is the only way to freedom!
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Referenced in The Way of the Gun (2000) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A collaboration of giants
11 December 2005 | by (North Huntingdon, PA, U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

When I read so many of the comments on this film featured here, I find it difficult to understand how so many viewers fail to appreciate the incredible nature of the collaboration that produced it. The very idea of a motion picture scripted by John Steinbeck, directed by Elia Kazan, scored by Alex North, starring Marlon Brando, co-starring Anthony Quinn........this is an almost unbelievable gathering of artistic giants.

Taste in movies varies and thus one can be certain that some will not respond positively even to this one. After over five decades of movie-going, I can look back and remember precious few pictures that rise to the high level of excellence to be found in "Zapata". With its spellbinding storytelling, superb cast in top form, its insightful examination of issues which are still crucially relevant today, I can not fathom why some would not praise it.

Like a long list of really fine titles that endlessly persist in remaining unavailable in DVD release, this film has me wondering once again why, in the vastness of the internet, one can not discover the reason why this major Brando star-vehicle continues to be withheld from circulation. Is such information so impossible to find that no one can unearth it?

You can tell from reading the viewer comments that not everyone will agree on this, but I would suggest that anyone who appreciates literate, superbly crafted classic motion pictures should make every effort to see this one. I wish I could invite you all to a great gala screening of it. I know you would be dazzled by its splendor.

31 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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