Vera Cruz (1954)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Western  |  25 December 1954 (USA)
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During the Mexican Rebellion of 1866, an unsavory group of American adventurers are hired by the forces of Emporer Maximilian to escort a countess to Vera Cruz.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nina (as Sarita Montiel)
James McCallion ...
Morris Ankrum ...
Gen. Ramírez
James Seay ...
Archie Savage ...
Pittsburgh (as Charles Buchinsky)
Charles Horvath ...


After the American Civil War, mercenaries travel to Mexico to fight in their revolution for money. The former soldier and gentleman Benjamin Trane meets the gunman and killer Joe Erin and his men, and together they are hired by the Emperor Maximillian and the Marquis Henri de Labordere to escort the Countess Marie Duvarre to the harbor of Vera Cruz. Ben and Erin find that the stagecoach is transporting US$ 3,000,000.00 in gold hidden below the seat and they scheme to steal it. Along their journey, betrayals and incidents happen changing their initial intentions. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Giants Battle In The Biggest Spectacle Of Them All!


Adventure | Western


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Parents Guide:






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Release Date:

25 December 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Istiklal kahramanlari  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
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Did You Know?


Burt Lancaster was quite happy to cede top billing to Gary Cooper, knowing that the older actor had more box-office pull than he did. See more »


Yellow Boy is the nickname of the 1866 Winchester, called such because of its brass frame. The Henry of 1860 was superceded by the 1866 Winchester because of its several significant improvements. There was no 1872 model. See more »


[first lines]
Benjamin Trane: Howdy. You an American?
Joe Erin: You interested in me or the horses?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: As the American Civil War ended, another war was just beginning. The Mexican people were struggling to rid themselves of their foreign Emperor - - - Maximilian. Into this fight rode a handful of Americans - - - ex-soldiers, adventurers, criminals-- all bent on gain. They drifted South in small groups - - AND SOME CAME ALONE- See more »


Featured in Goodbye Gary (2009) See more »


Vera Cruz
Music by Hugo Friedhofer
Lyrics by Sammy Cahn
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User Reviews

Sensational Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster as two gunslingers involved in plot to seize a gold shipment in revolutionary Mexico
7 July 2013 | by (Santander Spain) – See all my reviews

Entertaining , moving and violent film set in Mexican Revolution in which a pair of two-fisted characters confront enemies in diverse sides . During the Mexican Rebellion of 1866 , an unsavory group of American adventurers are hired by the forces of Emperor Maximilian to escort a countess to Vera Cruz . Napoleon III, emperor of France , creates in Mexico a vassal state governed by Maximilian (George Mcready) of France . The French troops control the country and the fate of its inhabitants . There soon emerges a rebel leader , Benito Juarez, whose supporters took the name of "juaristas" . Two soldiers of fortune find themselves in different camps , as "Benjamin Trane" (Gary Cooper was 52 at the time of filming, although his character was only supposed to be a couple of years older than Burt's role) is the good guy and "Joe Erin" (Burt Lancaster) is the bad guy , both of whom along with their motley group (Ernest Borgnine , Jack Lambert , Jack Elam , Charles Bronson) decide serve the Emperor Maximilian . Meanwhile , Benjamin Trane falls in love for a beautiful Mexican rebel (Spanish Sara Montiel) . During a party celebrated by Marquis Henri de Labordere (Cesar Romero) they meet the Countess "Marie Duvarre" (Denise Darcel) , both gunmen must protect her from possible attacks of the revolutionaries . In fact , they are planning seize a stagecoach filled with valuable gold . The picture was partially based on historical events , as Maximilian was proclaimed Emperor of Mexico on 10 April 1864, with the backing of Napoleon III of France and a group of Mexican monarchists who sought to revive the Mexican monarchy. Many foreign governments, including that of the United States, refused to recognize his administration. This helped to ensure the success of republican forces led by Benito Juárez, and Maximilian was captured and executed in 1867.

Interesting as well as action-packed Western full of thrills, emotion , intrigue , shootouts and marvelous outdoors from Mexico . The two giants , Cooper and Lancaster , battle in the biggest spectacle of them all . Anthological performance by Burt Lancaster is fabulous , his character would influence profoundly in Spaghetti Western ; he steals every scene as the black-dressed , smiling gunfighter . As the roles are more cynical , selfish and unscrupulous than traditional western . In fact , this film is sometimes called the "first spaghetti western," due to its reputed influence on the Italian directors such as Sergio Leone who popularized the genre . The screenplay by Roland Kibbee and James R. Webb is pretty basic but holds your interest until the exciting climatic Shotdown . Rousing as well as emotive musical score by the classical Hugo Friedhofer . Gorgeous cinematography by Ernest Laszlo , being the first film to be made in the SuperScope process. Luxurious sets and spectacular production design and one of the first major Hollywood films to be made on location in Mexico . Film-making legislation in Mexico meant that a local director had to be involved in the production in some capacity, though he wasn't actually used ; however , the Mexican authorities were appalled at the way their citizens were depicted in the film so any subsequent Hollywood productions had to conform to some strict rules .

The motion picture was compellingly directed by Robert Aldrich and produced by Burt Lancaster's own production company for $1.7 million, it went on to become a sizeable hit, grossing over $11 million. It was Robert Aldrich's personal favourite , he particularly enjoyed the fact that it had a hero and an anti-hero. Aldrich directed a considerable plethora of genres but almost all of his films contained a subversive undertone and violent scenes . He was an expert on warlike (Dirty Dozen , The Angry Hills , Attack , Ten seconds to hell) and Western (The Frisko kid , Ulzana's raid, Apache , Veracruz , The last sunset) . Raing : Above average , it's a must see and a standout in its genre .

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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