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The Legend of Zorro


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The Legend of Zorro (Movies)
The Legend of Zorro (Movies)
The Legend of Zorro (Movies)
The Legend of Zorro (Movies)
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Information about The Legend of Zorro

The Legend of Zorro is a 2005 (15 years ago) sequel to 1998's The Mask of Zorro, both directed by Martin Campbell. Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones reprise their roles as the titular hero and his spouse, and Rufus Sewell stars as the villain. The film, which takes place in San Mateo County, California, was shot in Mexico and in Wellington, New Zealand.


The Legend of Zorro continues its predecessor's inclusion of historical elements of California history into the fiction, though many liberties have been taken. Alejandro, the Mexican-born Californian who became Zorro at the end of The Mask of Zorro, is a fictional brother to Joaquin Murrieta, for whom the character's son Joaquin is named. Military governor Bennet Riley, the last of California's heads of state prior to statehood, is portrayed, but the Maryland-born American is played by the Mexican actor Pedro Armendáriz Jr., and speaks English with a Hispanic accent. Leo Burmester plays R. S. Beauregard, a Confederate colonel whose character is not to be confused with the historical P. G. T. Beauregard. And Pedro Mira plays pre-presidential Abraham Lincoln as an observer to California's statehood, though the real Lincoln never traveled to the region.

The Legend of Zorro, which takes place in 1850 (170 years ago), includes a significant number of deviations from history, particularly in depicting an organized Confederate States of America and a (presumably, though this is not explicitly stated) completed First Transcontinental Railroad, each more than a decade before their times. Furthermore, a deleted scene on the film's DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) features a short discussion on a magic lantern presentation.

The movie also contains a number of references to other films. The plot bears a striking resemblance to that of Notorious, in which a deadly explosive is similarly concealed in wine bottles. Alejandro, whose surname was Murrieta in the original, has changed his name to de la Vega, the surname of the original Zorro, Don Diego de la Vega, who in turn was Elena's father. Zorro conceals his costume under a priest's robes, a tactic used in numerous Zorro-related works including its immediate predecessor. One character says of Zorro's mask: "This belongs in a museum... and so do you," a textual homage to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. (Zorro's use of a whip for combat and acrobatics inspired Jones'). And during the prison escape, Zorro disarms two swordsmen only to have a third flee in terror in a scene reminiscent of one from The Princess Bride as well as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. (Westley's disguise in that movie was a near-copy of the Zorro costume.) Furthermore, actors Tony Amendola and Pedro Armendariz Jr. were also in The Mask of Zorro, though their characters were not the same ones they play in this film.


In 1850 (170 years ago), the people of California are voting to decide whether to join or not to join the United States as its state. During one of the votes, a wild gunman named Jacob McGivens attacks to steal the box of votes. Before he makes off with the votes, however, Zorro appears and chases after him and his men. Zorro succeeds in recapturing the votes, but in their scuffle McGivens manages to pull off Zorro's mask. A pair of Pinkerton agents (Harrigan and Pike) see the face of Zorro, recognizing him as Don Alejandro de la Vega. Zorro then makes a make-shift mask out of his costume and rides off on his stallion, Toronado, to deliver the votes to the governor.

Upon returning to his mansion, Alejandro is greeted by his loving wife, Elena. Elena believes that Alejandro can now give up being Zorro, but Alejandro is sure that the people will still need him. Angered of Alejandro's neglecting his wife and son while going out as Zorro, Elena kicks him out of the house. The next day, after sending her now 10-year-old son, Joaquin to school, Elena is confronted by the Pinkertons, who reveal that they know who Zorro really is. Soon after, Alejandro is served with divorce papers from Elena.

Three months later, Alejandro is living in a hotel, depressed over the seperation from Elena and not having been summoned as Zorro in all this time. His friend and childhood guardian, Father Felipe, convinces him to attend a party at a French count's new vineyard, and there Alejandro finds out that Elena has been spending time with the count and her former schoolmate, Armand. Later, after drinking himself stupid, Alejandro witnesses a huge explosion go off close to Armand's mansion and becomes suspicious of his ex-wife's long-time friend.

Afterwards, McGivens and his men attack a peasant family, the Cortezes, with whom Alejandro is friends, in order to seize their land deed. Zorro succeeds in rescuing Guillermo's wife and infant son, but McGivens shoots Guillermo just before disappearing with his gang, the deed to the Cortez home in hand. Zorro subsequently stakes McGivens out at Armand's mansion to confirm his suspicions and finds out that Armand wanted Cortez' land to build a railroad. At the same time, he encounters Elena, who has been doing undercover espionage for the Pinkertons and discovered that Armand is to receive a mysterious shipment.

Zorro tracks McGivens to a cove where the count's cargo is being delivered. However, on a class trip nearby Joaquin has also come across McGiven's gang and hitched a ride. Zorro saves his son, who does not recognize him, from danger, but the only clues he is able to retrieve are a piece of the cargo - a bar of soap - and the name Orbis Unum from one of the crate lids. Felipe and Alejandro learn that Armand is the head of a secret society, the Knights of Aragon, which secretly ruled Europe in the past. Armand plans to throw the United States, which is perceived as a threat to the Knights' power, into chaos before it can gain too much power to be kept in check.

Sometime later, Alejandro is captured by the two Pinkertons and is told that they blackmailed Elena into divorcing him and getting close to Armand to find out his plans; since California isn't yet a state, they couldn't conduct a legal investigation. Joaquin stumbles onto his father's whereabouts and frees him from prison. Zorro then heads over to Armand's mansion, while Elena also arrives there. After meeting up, they eavesdrop on Armand's meeting and learn that the soap bars actually contain nitroglycerin, which he plans to distribute throughout the Confederate Army, with the help of Confederate Colonel Beauregard, to destroy the Union. After confessing her involvement with the Pinkertons, Elena then heads back to the mansion before Armand gets back, and Zorro prepares to destroy the train carrying the explosive shipment. McGivens meanwhile arrives at Felipe's church to look for Zorro, but ends up shooting the priest as he tries to fight back and kidnapping Joaquin.

At the mansion, Armand is informed by his butler Ferroq about Elena's deceit and brutally confronts her with his knowledge. He takes her and Joaquin hostage and prepares to take her on the train, forcing Zorro to stop his own sabotage and getting himself captured. He is unmasked in front of his wife and son, much to Joaquin's shock. Joaquin and Elena are taken away by Armand, while McGivens is to kill Alejandro; but unexpectedly, Felipe arrives and helps Alejandro overpower McGivens, who is killed when a drop of nitro lands on his head. Felipe then reveals that his crucifix around his neck shielded him from McGivens' bullet, and Alejandro goes to save Elena and Joaquin.

Zorro catches up with and lands - along with Toronado - inside the train, and engages Armand in a sword fight. Meanwhile, Elena has Joaquin escape and then fights Ferroq in the nitro storage car, eventually stuffing a bottle of nitro into his trousers and pushing him off the train just as it approaches its rendezvous point with Colonel Beauregard, killing them in the resultant explosion. Joaquin, unwilling to be left behind, collects Toronado and rides after the train.

Further along the tracks, under the eyes of a huge crowd, the governor is signing the bill that will make California a state. As the train gets closer, Joaquin has Toronado hit a track switch, causing the train to pass around the governor's car. Zorro and Armand's duel takes them to the very front of the locomotive; however, the track is a dead end blocked by a large pile of rails. Zorro hooks Armand to the train and escapes with Elena. The train plows Armand into the block, killing him and causing the nitroglycerin to detonate, destroying the train. With Zorro as an official witness, the governor later signs the bill, and California becomes the 31st state of the United States of America.

Later, Felipe remarries Alejandro and Elena with Joaquin as the only witness. Alejandro apologizes to his son for not telling him the truth, and he admits that Zorro's identity is a family secret rather than just his own. Elena then allows Alejandro to continue being Zorro, accepting that it is who he is, and Zorro rides off on Toronado to his next mission.


  • Antonio Banderas
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones
  • Adrian Alonso
  • Rufus Sewell
  • Nick Chinlund
  • Julio Oscar Mechoso
  • Leo Burmester
  • Tony Amendola
  • Pedro Armendáriz Jr.
  • Michael Emerson
  • Shuler Hensley
  • Giovanna Zacarias
  • Raul Mendez


Critical reaction to The Legend of Zorro was mixed. The movie currently holds a rating of 47 out of 100 on Metacritic, and a 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the movie a below-average review, awarding it one and a half stars (out of four), commenting that "of all of the possible ideas about how to handle the Elena character, this movie has assembled the worst ones." James Berardinelli of ReelViews gave The Legend of Zorro two stars (out of four), saying that "the action is routine", "the chemistry between the two leads, which was one of the highlights of [The Mask of Zorro], has evaporated during the intervening years", and that the movie "fails to recapture the pleasure offered by [The Mask of Zorro]."

Stephanie Zacharek of praised the film, calling it "entertaining, bold, and self-effacing at once", noting the civic and parental questions it raises. Slate Magazine critic David Edelstein also praised the film, in particular the action scenes, villains, and chemistry between Banderas and Zeta-Jones. Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle said the movie was "watchable—not remotely enjoyable, but watchable." Nathan Rabin of The Onion's A.V. Club gave the movie a lukewarm review, saying that "director Martin Campbell doles out action sequences stingily" but added that "The Legend of Zorro still feels like a half-hearted shrug of a sequel."

Brian Lowry of Variety said that The Legend of Zorro is "considerably less charming than [The Mask of Zorro]" but added that the movie "gets by mostly on dazzling stunt work and the pleasure of seeing its dashing and glamorous leads back in cape and gown." Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly awarded the movie a "B-" score. Schwarzbaum said that "too many scenes emphasize gross butchery over the elegance of the blade", but added that the movie is "well-oiled" and praised the "fancy fight sequences".

Stephen Hunter of Washington Post reacted negatively, calling The Legend of Zorro "a waste of talent, time, and money" and "stupid and boring". Marc Savlov of the Austin Chronicle was also not impressed, remarking that "there are precious few things for a Zorro fan – or a movie fan, for that matter – not to loathe about The Legend of Zorro."


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