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1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)

Christopher Columbus' discovery of the Americas and the effect this has on the indigenous people.

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(scenario) (as Roselyne Bosch)
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

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Captain Mendez
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Kario Salem ...
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John Heffernan ...
Brother Buyl
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Storyline

Big budget account of Christopher Columbus' discovery of the Americas. Released in 1992 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the discovery. Shows the disastrous effects the Europeans had on the original inhabitants, and Columbus' struggle to civilize the New World. Written by Rob Hartill

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Centuries before the exploration of space, there was another voyage into the unknown.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for historical violence and brutality | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

9 October 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

1492: La conquête du paradis  »

Box Office

Budget:

$47,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$7,191,399 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sigourney Weaver, Kevin Dunn and Frank Langella would later appear in Dave (1993). Weaver and Dunn previously appeared in Ghostbusters II (1989). See more »

Goofs

When Columbus and his crew first land and enter the jungle, they encounter, among other strange sights, a color morph of an Amazon Tree Boa that is a result of modern selective breeding and a Burmese Python. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Young Fernando Columbus: Of all the words my father wrote - and there were many - I remember these the most: "Nothing that results from human progress is achieved with unanimous consent. And those who are enlightened before the others are condemned to persue that light in spite of others."
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Connections

Version of Animated Hero Classics: Christopher Columbus (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Fever Ride
Composed and Performed by Richard Horowitz
Courtesy of Virgin Records, Ltd.
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User Reviews

 
"Life has more imagination than we carry in our dreams…."
20 August 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

1492: Conquest of Paradise is directed by Ridley Scott and written by Roselyne Bosch. It stars Gerard Depardieu, Armand Assante, Fernando Rey, Sigourney Weaver, Michael Wincott and Tcheky Karyo. Music is scored by Vangelis and cinematography by Adrian Biddle.

"500 years ago, Spain was a nation gripped by fear and superstition, ruled by the crown and a ruthless inquisition that persecuted men for daring to dream. One man challenged this power. Driven by his sense of destiny he crossed the sea of darkness in search of honour, gold and the greater glory of God."

It barely made a dent at the box office, but neither did the other big Columbus release in 1992, Christopher Columbus: The Discovery. Meaning what? Both films are bad? Or that many went to see one that was bad and thought better than going to sit through another Columbus epic? Or maybe the topic, the anniversary of Columbus' voyage to the New World, just hadn't got the appeal that studios hoped for? All possible, but in the case of Ridley Scott's 1492: Conquest of Paradise, the lukewarm response is probably born out of it being a different kind of movie than that which was expected.

This is no rousing epic that's full of derring do and swagger, it's over talky for the non historical movie loving crowd, and crucially it goes against the grain of what Columbus, we are now led to believe, was like. It seems that Scott and Bosch were more happy to paint the famed explorer as a noble man of the people, a man of science, keeping his motives vague and his actions as dignified. With hindsight, it surely would have been more interesting to have had a Columbus picture portraying him as the self driven bastard he's been accused of being! I wonder how many more people would have paid to see that?

Film is not helped by Depardieu's performance as Columbus. Acting on direction of course, the restrained portrayal leaves the film without an heroic, passion fuelled edge, something that is badly needed in a film about such a momentous historical occasion. His fluctuating accent is also a nuisance. There's no doubting the professional performance the Frenchman gives, it's just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The other cast members jostle for screen time with mixed results, but Assante, Karyo and Wincott are good value for money. But they, like Depardieu, pale in the shadow of Scott's aesthetics.

This is where the film is a real winner. From the medieval make over for a moody Spain; to the capturing of ships setting sail from Port of Palos under an orange sky; to the wide angled shooting of Costa Rica, Scott and Biddle delight the eyes. When Bosch's screenplay allows, Scott is able to construct some truly indelible sequences, with garrotings, flaming pyres and a village assault serving notice that all is not lost here. But these, along with an extended sequence of men in unison trying to erect a giant bell, only make us notice just how much of a wasted opportunity this was. While Vangelis' stirring score also has one hankering after a narrative with more momentum.

Big flaws and frustrating, but not a complete disaster for those armed with the knowledge that this is no rousing and devilish experience. 6/10


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