Edit
El Cid (1961) Poster

(1961)

Trivia

Jump to: Spoilers (1)
According to the legend of El Cid, in his youth Rodrigo came across a leper sinking in quicksand crying for help, but none of the bystanders dared touch him. Rodrigo pulled him from the bog, clothed him in his cloak, housed him in a barn and went to get him some food. When he returned, he found the leper had transformed into an angelic figure that identified himself as St. Lazarus. He said "For your bravery and kindness you will enjoy success as a warrior. You will win battles upon battles and never know defeat". In a nice nod to the legend, the film contains a scene wherein the banished Rodrigo encounters a thirsty leper who begs a drink. After unhesitatingly offering his own pouch, the Leper thanks him by name. "Who are you?" asks Rodrigo. "I am called Lazarus," the leper answers. Then he crosses Rodrigo with his staff. "May helping hands be extended to you everywhere you go, my Cid."
Charlton Heston was the first and only choice of the producers.
One well-known legend about the Cid describes how he acquired his famous war-horse, the white stallion Babieca (Bavieca). According to this story, Rodrigo's godfather, Pedro El Grande, was a monk at a Carthusian monastery. Pedro's coming-of-age gift to El Cid was his pick of a horse from an Andalusian herd. El Cid picked a horse that his godfather thought was a weak, poor choice, causing the monk to exclaim "Babieca!" (stupid!) Hence, it became the name of El Cid's horse.
It wasn't until viewing the finished film at the premiere that Dr. Miklós Rózsa discovered that roughly twenty percent of his score had been eliminated. He didn't do another score for producer Samuel Bronston.
El Cid and his wife Jimena Díaz lived peacefully in Valencia for five years until the Almoravids besieged the city. According to legend, El Cid was fighting one of the men when he was shot in the heart with an arrow. Valencia's troops were losing spirit when Jimena thought if she set the corpse of El Cid atop his horse Babieca, the morale of Valencia's troops would soar. Alfonso ordered the city burned to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Almoravids. Valencia was captured by Masdali on May 5, 1102 and it did not become a Christian city again for over 125 years. Jimena fled to Burgos with her husband's body. Originally buried in Castile in the monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña, his body now lies at the center of the Burgos Cathedral.
More than 40,000 dollars was budgeted for jeweled crowns, rings, and scepters from Italy and Spain and 150,000 dollars was spent on reproductions of candelabras, tapestries, and art of the Medieval Era.
After the death of El Cid, Babieca was never mounted again and died two years later at the incredible age of forty. His master had asked that his wife and famous steed be buried with him at the Monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña. But unfortunately their remains were removed after the Peninsular Wars and taken to the cathedral in Burgos where they were finally interred and where they currently rest today.
El Cid's sword "Tizona" can still be seen in the Army Museum (Museo Del Ejército) in Madrid. Soon after his death, it became one of the most precious possessions of the Castilian royal family. And in 1999, a small sample of the blade underwent metallurgical analysis which partially confirmed that it was made in Moorish Cordoba in the eleventh century, although the report does not specify whether the larger-scale composition of the blade identifies it as Damascus steel. In 2006 "El Museo Del Ejércitp" (The Army Museum) was moving from Madrid to Toledo and apparently the sword was not available to be seen in public. El Cid also had a sword called Colada.
The part of Ben Yussuf was originally offered to Orson Welles.
The film is a favorite of Martin Scorsese, who called it "one of the greatest epic films ever made." Scorsese was one of the major forces behind the 1993 restoration and re-release.
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Charlton Heston himself was not overly impressed by the finished film, suggesting in his 1995 autobiography "In the Arena" that the film might have been better if William Wyler had directed it instead of Anthony Mann. Conversely he speculates that Ben-Hur (1959) may have been more effective with Mann, not Wyler, helming it.
According to Charlton Heston, both in his memoir "In The Arena" and his journal "The Actor's Life", he was very dissatisfied with the fact that Anthony Mann was insistent on shooting the battle scenes himself, instead of leaving it to the second unit under veteran stunt coordinator Yakima Canutt. It was a prime reason why he didn't think Mann was the right man to direct the film.
Charlton Heston, then a Democrat, was unable to campaign for John F. Kennedy due to the long filming schedule.
According to Time Magazine, the film required 7,000 extras, 10,000 costumes, 35 ships, 50 outsize engines of medieval war, and four of the noblest old castles in Spain: Ampudia, Belmonte, Peñíscola and Torrelobatón.
8 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren reportedly got off on the wrong foot early in filming which set a bad tone for their working relationship for the rest of the shoot. Heston later said he regretted the way he behaved towards Loren during filming, feeling in retrospect that he'd been unprofessional and unfair to her and wished he'd been kinder and less stubborn towards her.
7 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Another theory for the horse name of Babieca is that this horse came from the Babia region. This was the reason that the horse became a great war horse.
8 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The film was partly funded by the fascist regime of General Francisco Franco. It was heavily promoted as pro-Franco propaganda when it was released in Spain. Franco actively supported Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy during World War II, although he did not formally join the Axis Powers.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Sophia Loren had a major issue with Samuel Bronston's promotion of the film, an issue important enough to her that Loren sued Bronston for breach of contract in New York Supreme Court. As Time described it:

"On a 600-sq.-ft. billboard facing south over Manhattan's Times Square, Sophia Loren's name appears in illuminated letters that could be read from an incoming liner, but-Mamma mia!-that name is below Charlton Heston's. In the language of the complaint: "If the defendants are permitted to place deponent's name below that of 'Heston, then it will appear that deponent's status is considered to be inferior to that of Charlton Heston... It is impossible to determine or even to estimate the extent of the damages which the plaintiff will suffer."
5 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
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."
7 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Charlton Heston always bemoaned the fact that he ages dramatically during the movie, whilst Sophia Loren remains effortlessly beautiful throughout.
4 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Sophia Loren was paid one million dollars for ten weeks' work. Samuel Bronston also agreed to pay 200 dollars a week for her hairdresser.
4 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Michael Hordern who plays Charlton Heston's Father is only 14 years older than Heston .
3 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
This was Charlton Heston's first starring role after winning the Oscar for Ben-Hur (1959). He accepted the part after turning down From the Terrace (1960), By Love Possessed (1961), and The Assassination of Trotsky (1972), which would take another ten years before it began filming.
3 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The first film to be shot at all three of Madrid's large studios: Sevilla, CEA, and Chamartin.
4 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Sean Connery was offered the role of García Ordóñez. He turned it down in favour of a production of Naked at Oxford with his then-wife Diane Cilento.
2 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Moira Shearer turned down the role of Doña Ximena.
2 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Jeanne Moreau was considered for the role of Doña Ximena.
2 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Sophia Loren was once late to filming because the elaborate costume given to her by the wardrobe department made a strange "clank" noise and had to be replaced.
2 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Ben Barzman and Basilio Franchina worked uncredited on the screenplay.
1 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Michael Hordern also re-voiced the role of the Old Priest who appears in the first few scenes with Charlton Heston.
1 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Raf Vallone's English speaking debut.
1 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Liselotte Pulver tested for the role of Doña Ximena.
0 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

According to people who were on the set during the production (as interviewed for the extras section of the DVD) Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren hated each other while making this movie. Part of the reason could be that Loren was paid more than Heston (one million dollars, the first time a woman had been paid that sum for acting in a single motion picture). As can be seen in the finished film, during many of the "love" scenes, Heston refused to look at Loren for more than a glance. Anthony Mann tried take after take, imploring Heston to look into the eyes of the woman he loved, but Heston couldn't bring himself to do it. Regarding his deathbed scene, he later claimed that he was "looking into the future," rather than into the eyes of his wife.

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

Contribute to This Page