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Vera Cruz (1954)

Approved | | Adventure, Western | 25 December 1954 (USA)
During the Mexican Rebellion of 1866, an unsavory group of American adventurers are hired by the forces of Emporer Maximilian to escort a countess to Vera Cruz.


Robert Aldrich


Roland Kibbee (screenplay), James R. Webb (screenplay) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Cooper ... Benjamin Trane
Burt Lancaster ... Joe Erin
Denise Darcel ... Countess Marie Duvarre
Cesar Romero ... Marquis Henri de Labordere
Sara Montiel ... Nina (as Sarita Montiel)
George Macready ... Emperor Maximilian
Jack Elam ... Tex
Ernest Borgnine ... Donnegan
James McCallion ... Little-Bit
Morris Ankrum ... Gen. Ramírez
James Seay ... Abilene
Henry Brandon ... Capt. Danette
Archie Savage ... Ballard
Charles Bronson ... Pittsburgh (as Charles Buchinsky)
Charles Horvath ... Reno


After the American Civil War, mercenaries travel to Mexico to fight in their revolution for money. The former soldier and gentleman Benjamin Trane meets the gunman and killer Joe Erin and his men, and together they are hired by the Emperor Maximillian and the Marquis Henri de Labordere to escort the Countess Marie Duvarre to the harbor of Vera Cruz. Ben and Erin find that the stagecoach is transporting three million U.S. dollars in gold hidden below the seat, and they scheme to steal it. Along their journey, betrayals and incidents happen changing their initial intentions. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Giants Battle In The Biggest Spectacle Of Them All!


Adventure | Western


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Burt Lancaster was quite happy to cede top billing to Gary Cooper, knowing that the older actor had more box-office pull than he did. See more »


Joe's saddle gun, a "new, Winchester repeating rifle", is an 1872 model; since the film is set "just after the American Civil War", to be correct, the gun should be a Henry "Yellowboy", circa 1864. (The earlier weapon had no wooden forearm stock and a brass receiver; the rifle Joe carries has a steel receiver and the wooden stock.) See more »


[first lines]
Benjamin Trane: Howdy. You an American?
Joe Erin: You interested in me or the horses?
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: As the American Civil War ended, another war was just beginning. The Mexican people were struggling to rid themselves of their foreign Emperor - - - Maximilian. Into this fight rode a handful of Americans - - - ex-soldiers, adventurers, criminals-- all bent on gain. They drifted South in small groups - - AND SOME CAME ALONE- See more »

Alternate Versions

When originally released theatrically in the UK, the BBFC made cuts to secure an 'A' rating. All cuts were waived in 1998 when the film was granted an 'PG' certificate for home video. See more »


Referenced in Full Metal Jacket (1987) See more »


Vera Cruz
Music by Hugo Friedhofer
Lyrics by Sammy Cahn
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User Reviews

Pure Adventure in Old Mexico
2 October 2006 | by ragosaalSee all my reviews

"Vera Cruz" is settled in Mexico during Austrian emperor Maximilian's ruling and the Juaristas revolution. Ban Trane (Gary Cooper) and Joe Erin (Burt Lancaster) cross the border to hire their guns for the cause that pays better. Trane is a former southern officer ruined by the American civil war and Erin is a self made top gun. Somehow the two men get to like and respect each other and they are paid by the emperor to take a mysterious French countess through Juarista country to the Port of Vera Cruz.

Mexico's colorful outdoor locations are very well used by director Robert Aldrich to give the film some sort of greatness, unusual in early 50's westerns. Lots of action and well done battle sequences help the movie too. The final gun duel couldn't be spared and it is a good one too.

Cooper has no trouble with his character and gives a good performance, but no doubt Lancaster's character is more interesting and he takes the best of it. In fact when you remember "Vera Cruz" Lancater's Joe Erin is what first comes to your mind. His black outfit, his complete lack of class and manners, his limitless ambition and completely unscrupulous behaviour; and yet you feel sympathy for the guy. This is indeed a Burt Lancaster picture.

The supporting cast is also outstanding. You'll find future stars in early roles such as Ernest Borgnine and Charles Bronson, along with Jack Elam all of them members of Erin's gang (what else?). But classical actors of the 40's and 50's are there too: Cesar Romero, George Macready (Maximilian), Morris Ankrum and Henry Brandon among others. Spanish actress Sara Montiel plays a Juarista that gets mixed up with Coooper.

Not only for western fans but also for action and adventure movie followers, "Vera Cruz" is a film to enjoy every once in a while. A top one in both genres.

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English | Spanish | French

Release Date:

25 December 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Vera Cruz See more »


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
See full technical specs »

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