This is the definitive Fairbanks vehicle and quite possibly the finest silent action movie ever made. Of course, Fairbanks is known for his imaginative stunts but the duels and chases in this movie are incredible even by Fairbanks standards.
The plot is a familiar one, Don Diego is a seemingly foppish landowner who dons a black mask and fights evil as Zorro. Fairbanks's talent for comedy is well exploited here. His juevenile antics as Don Diego drive everyone, including his leading lady, nuts. (A running gag is for Don Diego to take out a hanky, ask his audience if they have seen this one, and will proceed to do a very silly trick with it.)
Of course, once he's Zorro the fighting is furious. The duels easily rival the action sequences of modern movies. And the grand finale, a chase across the rooftops, in and out of windows, up walls, over fences, etc. etc. was so amazing that I had to see it again to believe it.
Just one last note, if you have never seen a silent movie before keep in mind that the acting style is totally different from talkies. Movements are exagerated for affect. The soundtrack can be overwhelming at first. But once you get used to them, they are a very refreshing breather from modern movies. Let this movie be your introduction to the unrivalled swashbuckler, Douglas Fairbanks sr.