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El Cid (1961)

The fabled Spanish hero Rodrigo Diaz (a.k.a. El Cid) overcomes a family vendetta and court intrigue to defend Christian Spain against the Moors.



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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Count Ordóñez
Princess Urraca (as Genevieve Page)
Prince Alfonso
Al Kadir
Don Diego
Andrew Cruickshank ...
Count Gormaz
Ralph Truman ...
King Ferdinand
Christopher Rhodes ...
Don Martín


Epic film of the legendary Spanish hero, Rodrigo Diaz ("El Cid" to his followers), who, without compromising his strict sense of honour, still succeeds in taking the initiative and driving the Moors from Spain. Written by Stewart M. Clamen <clamen@cs.cmu.edu>

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Parents Guide:







Release Date:

14 December 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El Sid  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$6,250,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(some 35 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)| (Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


By the time this was released, Allied Artists (formerly Monogram) had ceased production and was only distributing independent productions. The rights for the Western Hemisphere were acquired from Samuel Bronston. This gave Allied Artists its first full-blown epic, which was given a roadshow presentation followed by a general release. Two years later it distributed Bronston's "55 Days at Peking." See more »


When he is fighting another king's champion, the figure of Rodrigo, as he is being run into by his opponent's horse, is clearly a motionless stick-figured dummy with Rodrigo's armor on it. See more »


Moutamin: In my country, we have a name for a warrior with the vision to be just and the courage to show mercy. We call him... the cid!
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Referenced in Mic Macs à Tire-Larigot (2009) See more »


The Falcon and the Dove
Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
Music by Miklós Rózsa
Performed by Chorus
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Heston embodies a mythical figure of legendary proportions…
30 March 2008 | by See all my reviews

Aroused by a fanatical Moorish warlord, emir-king attack a Castilian village, where they are captured by Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar…

Vigorously brave and compassionate, the noble Rodrigo hates bloodshed and vows to see his country at peace, frees the prisoners on their solemn pledge never again to attack Castile…

For this act of courage and mercy, one of the Emirs, Moutamin, calls Rodrigo "El Cid," and pledges eternal friendship to the Cid of Vivar… And so, in freeing the Moors, Rodrigo, accidentally, stumbled onto a battle, not to his luscious bride, but to a battle that will change his whole life…

In the court of King Ferdinand, Rodrigo's act of clemency is misinterpreted, and he's accused of treason by his rival Don Ordonez for refusing to turn over to him the captures Moors…

Unfortunately, Rodrigo's aged father, Don Diego, is slapped by the Champion of the king, Count Gormaz, father of his beloved Chimene… Rodrigo begs Gormaz an apology; it is refused… A duel begins and the champion is badly wounded… Before he dies, however, he asks Chimene to avenge his death…

Chimene's wish is fulfilled when King Ramiro of Aragon challenges King Ferdinand for the possession of the city of Calahorra by the outcome of a single combat…El Cid convinces the king to permit him to fight Don Martin…Thus, according to the custom of trial by combat, God would judge Rodrigo's guilt or innocence…

"El Cid" is an intense film, lavish and spectacular, bigger than any in terms of cast and impressive as any in visual terms… Miklós Rózsa gave a new dimension to the emotion that Anthony Mann was trying to express…

Mann gives us a human story with a love story balanced with the most strongly image of a hero the world has ever seen… He presented a man of honor who thinks always of his wife, his country, and his king first… Even in death, his thoughts are for others and not himself…

El Cid insults kings and noblemen in the name of justice and integrity and does what he knows to be right… He battles the king's living sword in respect of his father… He accepts the challenge of a champion of a king to prove himself innocent of treason and other things… He shows a prince how any man can kill and only a king can give life… He fights 13 knights, at the same time, to free a prisoner… Yet he is in addition to all of this an extremely principled leader… He accepts exile for life from the country he loves, and yet he is the only man in Spain who 'could humble a king and would give a leper to drink from his own pouch…'

The joust sequence called "The fight for Calahorra," is perhaps the most rousing, exciting, one-to-one combat ever filmed… The battle scenes at Valencia are taken on an epic scale… But the value of Anthony Mann's movie is the characterization in which Charlton Heston played El Cid's life… For this reason alone, the film is of greater value than most any other motion picture experience…

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