El Cid
by Anthony Mann


UK - December 5, 1961 - El Cid - 178'
France (Paris) - December 13, 1961 - Le Cid
USA (New York City, Paramount) - December 14, 1961 - El Cid - 178'
Italy - December 21, 1961 - El Cid
Spain (Madrid, Cine Capitol) - December 27, 1961 - El Cid - 184' (attendance: 488,021)
West Germany - May 25, 1962 - El Cid

French poster
German poster American poster American DVD


A young man, Rodrigo Diaz, accused of being a traitor, kills the father of his brideto-be Chimene, who although she loves him, vows revenge. When he returns a victor from various battles, the king proclaims him his champion and acknowledges that he is innocent of the accusation of being a traitor. Chimene, who has not forgiven the young man for the death of her father, retreats into a convent. Meanwhile the king dies and is succeeded by his three sons who fight among themselves to win the throne. Rodrigo’s heroism shines in hundreds of ventures and because of this he is able to regain Chimene’s love. Now advanced in age, Rodrigo - called El Cid Campeador - defends SpainValencia, enduring a tremendous siege soon afterwards however. During the fighting he is fatally wounded, but so as not to discourage his men before the decisive battle, he orders that his body be clad in armor, tied to a horse and sent into the midst of the fray. The Moors retreat, frightened by his invincible presence. (Enrico Lancia)
Story and screenplay: Fredric M. Frank, Philip Yordan.


Toledo, Valladolid, Apudia, Belmonte, Valencia, ... (Spain)
Chamartin Studios, Madrid (Spain)
The KCET Studio, Hollywood, CA (USA)
Bamburg, Northumberland (UK)
Titanus Appia Studios, Rome (Italy)

Filming dates: November 1960 through January 1961


Charlton Heston (Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar called ‘El Cid')
Sophia Loren (Chimene)
John Fraser (King Alfonso)
Geneviève Page (Queen Urraca)
Raf Vallone (Count Ordonéz)


Robert Krasker (Super Technirama, Technicolor)
Art direction and costume design:
Veniero Colasanti, John Moore
Miklos Rozsa
Still photographer:
Pierluigi Praturlon, A. Luengo
Makeup artist:
Mario Van Riel
Hair Stylist:
Maria De Rossi
Sophia's English coach:

Helen Goss

Samuel Bronston and Robert Haggiag (USA)
Michael Waszynski for Dear Films (Rome)


Sophia leaves Rome on November 21 bound for Madrid where she is mobbed at the Madrid airport and has to be rescued by co-stars Heston and Vallone. Sophia is delighted. A normal arrival.

Sophia falls the stairs in her Madrid apartment on January 28, as she is running to answer the phone, breaking her left shoulder blade. She flies to Rome where her doctor, Ugo Cardone, orders a two-week rest and her remaining scenes in El Cid are shot at a later date. End-of-movie party on April 20.

When the film opens in New York, Sophia sues the producers for not giveing her name equal size and type with that of Charton Heston's on the posters. The case is eventually settled out of court.

In the second half of the movie the story jumps ahead a full decade, but Sophia refuses to change her makeup to balance that of Heston's.

Sophia's cachet for the film is $500,000.


"Sophia Loren is lovely, agile and a latent force, little more, as the noble lady who loves him, spurns him and tries to do him in..."
Bosley Crowther, New York Times, 15 dec 1961

"As for Loren, it must be said that she is only halfway convincing: she is cold and in a trance at times, perhaps too concerned about her magnificent garments."
Angelo Solmi, Oggi, 18 jan 1962

"Sophia Loren never looked more lovely than as in the Cid's legendary love."
Oakland Tribune, 17 dec 1961

"Miss Loren as Chimene is brilliant and with this production and "Two Women" she proves her acting capabilities."
Ali Sar, The Valley News, 19 dec 1961

Copyrights for all photos belong to their respective owners.
© Excelsior Communication - 2007

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