El Cid (1961) is a historical epic film, a romanticized story of the life of the Christian Castilian knight Don Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, called "El Cid" who in the 11th century fought the North African Almoravides and ultimately contributed to the unification of Spain.
Made by Samuel Bronston Productions in association with Dear Film Production and released in the United States by Allied Artists, the film was directed by Anthony Mann and produced by Samuel Bronston with Jaime Prades and Michal Waszynski as associate producers. The screenplay was by Philip Yordan, Ben Barzman and Fredric M. Frank from a story by Frank. The music score was by Miklós Rózsa, the cinematography by Robert Krasker and the editing by Robert Lawrence.
Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (1043 – July 10, 1099), known as El Cid Campeador (Spanish pronunciation: [el ˈθið kampeaˈðor], "The lord-master of military arts"), was a Castilian nobleman, military leader, and diplomat. Exiled from the court of the Spanish Emperor Alfonso VI of León and Castile, El Cid went on to command a Moorish force consisting of Muladis, Berbers, Arabs and Malians, under Yusuf al-Mu'taman ibn Hud, Moorish king of the northeast Al-Andalus city of Zaragoza, and his successor, Al-Mustein II.
After the Christian defeat at the Battle of Sagrajas in 1086, El Cid was recalled to service by Alfonso VI, and commanded a combined Christian and Moorish army, which he used to create his own fiefdom in the Moorish Mediterranean coastal city of Valencia.
He was the subject of the oldest extant Spanish epic poem Cantar de Mio Cid.
According to the Internet Movie Data Base [IMDb]: In some Muslim countries, the film was nearly banned until the censors thought of a better idea, which was to simply cut out the entire climax of the film, so instead of showing the dead El Cid lead his army to victory against the Moors, they simply ended it at his deathbed.
Also: The 1993 reissue restores 16 minutes of "lost" footage. [IMDb]
"It was the best of times. It was the worst of times."
It was 1961 & I remember seeing this movie with my mother in Manhattan at one of the big movie palaces. I must've been 10 years old. That means it must've been about a million years ago when the Theatrical District, Times Square, Tin Pan Alley was dirty filthy wild wonderful interesting colorful. The Yankees ruled the world. A newly styled young President Kennedy sat in the White House in Washington DC. The 1960s was just beginning. Don't over-romanticize those times.
An epoch that started with such magnificent promise turned into a decade of bitter divisiveness. There would be many social gains but an imperialistic war would siphon much needed human & monetary resources. The Cold War raged. Civil Rights & Voting Rights for all came at an enormous cost with implications for future generations & national unity. The consequences of decisions made during those times--both personal & political--are still felt today. It was the high point of American Empire. The Hollywood Epic reflected that fact. Where are we today? Struggling on. That's what Life is.
And without genuine Love what are we?