Somewhere in Central America in 1907: Maria II is the daughter of an Irish terrorist. After her father's death, she meets Maria I, a singer in a circus. She decides to stay with the circus,... See full summary »



(scenario and dialogue), (scenario and dialogue) (as Jean-Claude Carriere)

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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mme Diogène
Gregor von Rezzori ...
Diogène (as Gregor Von Rezzori)
Poldo Bendandi ...
Claudio Brook ...
The Great Rodolfo
Carlos López Moctezuma ...
Rodríguez (as Carlos Lopez Moctezuma)
Jonathan Eden ...
Juanito Diogène
Francisco Reiguera ...
Father Superior
Adriana Roel ...
José Baviera ...
Don Alvaro
José Ángel Espinosa 'Ferrusquilla' ...
The Dictator of San Miguel (as José Ángel Espinoza)
Fernando Wagner ...
Father of Maria II
Roberto Pedret ...


Somewhere in Central America in 1907: Maria II is the daughter of an Irish terrorist. After her father's death, she meets Maria I, a singer in a circus. She decides to stay with the circus, and on her debut as a singer, she unintentionally invents the strip-tease and makes the circus famous. Then they accidentally meet a socialist revolutionary and find themselves leading a revolution against the dictator, the capitalists and the Church. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

18 December 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Viva Maria  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,200,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The gun that shoots around a corner that "The Great Rodolfo" develops as part of this story is found in a similar weapon called the periscope rifle in 1915 which allowed for the actuation of the trigger from beneath the line of sight of the firearm. Simmilarly, the Krummlauf was a bent barrel attachment was created in WWII for shooting around corners from a safe position. And CornerShot, designed in the early 2000s, allows its operator to both see and attack an armed target, without exposing the operator to counterattack. See more »


Around 01:17:28, we can see cables (under creepers) on each side of the statue, which are extends to separate statue in two pieces. See more »


Music by Georges Delerue
Lyrics by Louis Malle and Jean-Claude Carrière
Performed by Claudio Brook
(p) 1965, Philips
See more »

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User Reviews

What that Revolution really needed were two good female revolutionaries
22 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This was an amusing film, which was the first movie that I saw starring either Bridget Bardot or Jeanne Moreau. I actually saw it on a double bill back in 1965. It is of interest because it brings up a matter that American films about Mexico's Revolution (or that of the other Latin American Countries) rarely touch upon. This is the position of the Roman Catholic Church in these matters.

The only time the issue of the Church and the Revolutionaries came up in American films was in the John Ford / Henry Fonda movie "The Fugitive". That (based on Graham Greene's novel "The Power And The Glory")dealt with the anti-Clericalism of the PRI regimes that ruled the country after 1920. In it Fonda is a fugitive priest who is trying to continue his religious role, despite the anti-clericalism of the regime. Greene (and Ford) were good Catholics, and stressed the negative actions of the revolutionary regime in Mexico (similar to the anti-religious viewpoint of the Communist regime in Russia). But the view barely notes why the anti-Clericalism developed.

One of the largest land owning groups in Mexico (and in most of Latin America's countries) was the Church. And, due to the holdings, the Church tended to be rather conservative politically. In the 19th Century the greatest figure of reform in Mexico was Benito Juarez, who was from a poor native Indian background. But most of his career was in trying to strengthen Mexican democratic government, and to drive the French invasion (that briefly set up Archduke Maximillian of Austria) as Emperor. But after the French were driven out, Juarez spent the remainder of his years in office (1867 - 1872) trying to get through some kind of fair land reform. This did not sit well with the Church. It supported the regime of his successor (Porfirio Diaz), who was opposed to land reform - he invited foreign investors (many Americans) into Mexico. Diaz's policies were good in giving Mexico a stable economy and political peace for three decades (the longest growth period until the later 20th Century).

The key character to watch in "Viva Maria" is Francisco Regueira, who plays the sinister Father Superior. It is he who is constantly in communication with the dictator, the landowner, and their minions. The role (as is the film) is played for laughs, but it is his behavior, conspiring against the two Marias and their friends, which is telling.

The plot is interesting in bringing in the universality of revolution. Bardot is shown growing up, the daughter of an Irish revolutionary, constantly destroying British forts and other sites with his daughter assisting. When she joins forces with Moreau the latter's sister has committed suicide, so that she needs Bardot to replace the sister. It is a circus group, but Bardot and Moreau do a singing and strip-tease act. They are brought into the Mexican Revolution by the brutality of the local landowner (who rules like he has a mini-kingdom).

The film was pure escapism: the circus group's resident marksman finds one of his special rifles is badly bent after an explosion - he doesn't throw it out, but attach-es a mirror to the barrel and uses the bent gun to shoot people around the corner. George Hamilton plays a local "Zapata" type hero, who is wounded and in hiding. When Bardot speaks in his honor, the members of the circus group listen to her words comments critically on her use of language, and on his theatricality - as though she is acting on stage.

It is not a major film, even for director Louis Malle (don't compare it with "Atlantic City", for example). But as an enjoyable romp it's worth watching.

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