71 user 18 critic

Man of La Mancha (1972)

The funny story of mad but kind and chivalrous elderly nobleman Don Quixote who, aided by his squire Sancho Panza, fights windmills that are seen as dragons to save prostitute Dulcinea who is seen as a noblewoman.



(musical play), (screenplay)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Antonia Quijana
The Housekeeper
Dorothy Sinclair ...
The Innkeeper's Wife
Miriam Acevedo ...
Dominic Barto ...
Muleteer (as Dominic Bartó)
Poldo Bendandi ...


This musical version of Don Quixote is framed by an incident allegedly from the life of its author, Miguel de Cervantes. Don Quixote is the mad, aging nobleman who embarrasses his respectable family by his adventures. Backed by his faithful sidekick Sancho Panza, he duels windmills and defends his perfect lady Dulcinea (who is actually a downtrodden whore named Aldonza). Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Rarely does the motion picture bring to the screen all the warmth, adventure and great music you've been waiting for. See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

8 September 1973 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

El hombre de La Mancha  »

Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)


$3,800,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Selected as one of the Ten Best Films of 1972 by the National Board of Review. See more »


In the film, Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra uses the story of Don Quixote to defend the hero's chivalric notions. In the final pages of the novel, and only in the final pages, he declares that his intention was to satirize and poke fun at the exaggerated books of chivalry which were then in vogue. Part I of "Don Quixote" published in 1605, is mostly comic; Part II, published in 1615, is more melancholy and psychological. Most critics feel that, despite his satirical intentions, Cervantes mellowed and began to admire Don Quixote between publication of the 2 parts. See more »


Don Quixote de La Mancha: [singing] To right the unrightable wrong / To love, pure and chaste from afar / To try, when your arms are too weary / To reach the unreachable star.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Practically all of the actors in the film, with the exception of those who play the Captain of the Guard and the soldiers of the Spanish Inquisition respectively, play dual or triple roles, but only five of them are actually listed in the credits as having done so. All of the other actors are listed as if they only played one role in the film, as the prisoners generally aren't given names. See more »


Version of The Painting of a Miraculous Spider (1908) See more »


Finale: The Impossible Dream
Sung by Sophia Loren, Ian Richardson, Julie Gregg and Mixed Chorus
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Impossible Dream
2 August 2004 | by (Kentucky) – See all my reviews

I've been reading a lot of negative reviews for this movie, and I can't understand why. I've seen "Man of La Mancha" twice now and find it incredibly entertaining and inspiring. Though he doesn't sing, Peter O'Toole is enchanting as Quixote and Sophia Loren (perhaps the sexiest woman in film history) is a marvelous Aldonza/Dulcinea. The songs, less numerous than those in the play, are well sung, arranged and recorded (except for one bit where Sancho's mouth moves but no sound comes out) the action is choreographed beautifully and the story moves along very well. Moreover, it fits neatly into the "Yeah, he's crazy. So?" category alongside films like "Harvey" and "Don Juan DeMarco."

So why would others choose to give this a bad review? I may have the answer. Not only have I listened to songs from the two Broadway cast recordings that exist, I have had much experience with Broadway fans (being one myself) and know that the truly die-hard fans tend to ONLY like the original cast ONLY like the original production and NEVER like the movie version.

This is the conclusion I have reached: It isn't the movie "Man of La Mancha" that sucks...it's the play. Indeed, watching it on screen you are given to wonder how it can be successfully presented on stage, and perhaps it cannot. But, old-school Broadway fans won't have it! "The original is better" say the die-hards. "Who needs Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando? The original cast of 'Guys and Dolls' is better! Richard Gere? Jerry Orbach is better in 'Chicago'! And the movie version on 'Bye Bye Birdie' sucks."

These are all monstrous lies, as Sinatra, Brando and Gere were great in their respective movies and the movie version of 'Bye Bye Birdie' is infinitely superior to the play. So don't listen to the die-hards, choose quality over tradition. Rent or buy "Man of La Mancha" on DVD because it's one you'll want to watch again and again.

36 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page