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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Classic
A great classic film, Viva Zapata! gives us Kazan (the director), Brando (the star), and Steinbeck (who wrote the script) at the height of their powers, with the splendid additions of Jean Peters, Mildred Dunnock , and the young Antony Quinn (who won an Academy Award as Supporting Actor for his portrayal of the Mexican leader's heedlessly macho brother). Brando's nose...
Published on 25 Feb 2002 by Gordon Weinstein

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Brando in his prime.Well worth seeing
pretty much as I remember seeing it at the cinema. I did manage to forget some important details. certainly well worth seeing again. Marlon Brando in his prime:also several other stars of the period.
Published 2 months ago by Mr Dennis Wood


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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Classic, 25 Feb 2002
This review is from: Viva Zapata [VHS] (VHS Tape)
A great classic film, Viva Zapata! gives us Kazan (the director), Brando (the star), and Steinbeck (who wrote the script) at the height of their powers, with the splendid additions of Jean Peters, Mildred Dunnock , and the young Antony Quinn (who won an Academy Award as Supporting Actor for his portrayal of the Mexican leader's heedlessly macho brother). Brando's nose is flattened and his nostrils are dliated by plastic thimbles to make him look the part, which he does magnificently. He is heroically natural, quite perfect as Steinbecks's version of the passionate Zapata.
Steinbeck's knowledge and love of Mexico by this time in his career was genuine and deep; and his writing throughout the film is enlivening, intelligent, and original: the dialogue of the delightful scene in which Zapata tries to win a wife from a middle-class family, for example, is cast entirely in dichos---proverbs or sayings--- traditional in Hispanic culture. Minor parts are filled brilliantly and range from obscure double agents to such historic figures as Diaz, Huerta, Madero and Pancho Villa.
Kazan's sustained visual and dramatic sense do full justice to the talents of his writer and cast and to the story he has to tell, of a revolutionary leader whose charisma still has enormous power many decades after his death. Two battle-scene set-pieces are tremendous. As in the best of Kazan's other work, though, he shows us in Viva Zapata! the heart-breaking beauty of ordinary, gritty, every-day life among simple people who deserve better than whatever it is they have been offered. A thrilling movie.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Social Drama, 8 Feb 2004
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This review is from: Viva Zapata [DVD] (DVD)
In 1952 Elia Kazan, reunited with Marlon Brando after "A Street Car Named Desire", and begun shoting another powerfull social drama, this time about the Zapatist revolution in Mexico.
With a script by John Steinbeck, author of such brilliant novels as The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, the film presents a great cast with good performances by Marlon Brando and specially Anthonny Quinn who won the Oscar for best male in suporting role.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brando overcomes a flawed screenplay, 8 Dec 2010
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The CinemaScope Cat - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Viva Zapata [DVD] (DVD)
This Elia Kazan directed film is hampered with a flawed screenplay by John Steinbeck that drags out the "we the people" cliches (though their placement here is not near as deadly as in John Ford's film of Steinbeck's GRAPES OF WRATH) but strong direction and excellent performances push the film through. Fittingly, that young rebel and revolutionary (in acting terms) Marlon Brando is Zapata, the Mexican revolutionary and rebel and while he has no big scenes, he has some wonderful moments and touches that only a great actor can bring to a part. The film's biggest mistake is in the obviousness of the character that Joseph Wiseman plays, a cold and calculating Judas Iscariot with no identifiable human feelings. He's such an obvious symbol and cliche that he almost throws the movie out of whack. The fine cast includes Jean Peters (in her best film performance) as Zapata's wife, Anthony Quinn in his Oscar winning performance as Zapata's brother, Margo, Alan Reed, Frank Silvera, Henry Silva and Mildred Dunnock. The beauty of a score is by Alex North.

The British Fox Classics edition is a nice looking B&W appropriately full screen (1.33) print.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You might die laughing, but............, 2 Aug 2008
This review is from: Viva Zapata [DVD] (DVD)
only if you know a bit about Mexican history.

John Steinbeck might have been a great writer, but of FICTION! The fact is the real Zapata stayed a lot longer in office than this film would have you believe;he liked power, however poor his background.

He was a man of principle, though;he let someone else shoot his opponents, instead of dirtying his own hands or conscience!

And any contemporary photograph of Emiliano will show you a moustache much more reminiscent of a dead water-rat than Brando's. Though Marlon's style did at least live to surface again in hippier times!!

But, who cares? Flaws there are, but it's a superb film. Joseph Wiseman may be a totally spurious agent provocateur/prototype CIA operatve, but he creates one hell of a persausive force for Zapata. Ditto his brother, Anthony Quinn, to illustrate the venal, macho culture as another primrose path Emiliano has to avoid.

Finally, beyond the well-recreated Pancho Villa & Huerta, who would have made a great double act if they'd been on the same side, there's Brando. He takes a long while to even engage you, and you frequently feel Zapata will only be a minor player in historical terms.

But Brando gets you there in the end, wisely illustrating both the agonised choosing Zapata goes through to stay true to his principles and the fact he very much had feet of clay. The humanity and human frailty shine through, and you can guess how this will end, even if history is being radically rewritten.

Thankfully, it doesn't end there, as no-one involved in this could have predicted the rise of the Zapatarist party in Mexican politics in recent years. They aren't responsible for the modern Mexico, but they are an important part in shaping it.

And, from a filmic point of view, this is actually a well-made and acted melodrama. Basically, another of Brando's ones you should not miss.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Radical role for radical actor, 21 Sep 2006
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Graham R. Hill (Ilkley) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Viva Zapata [DVD] (DVD)
A very good film and one of many Brando performances with a political message. Neither Brando's performance nor John Steinbeck's script leave any doubt that a point was being made. But the film doesn't shirk the compromises that must occur when principles meet reality or the disillusion when great men are surrounded by those who aren't.

A masterley performance from Brando and Anthony Quinn is also excellent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars VIVA ZAPATA DVD, 22 May 2014
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This review is from: Viva Zapata! [DVD] [1952] (DVD)
A stunning acting performance from Marlon Brando. Has he ever performed anything other than perfect? A very exiting portrayal of legendary MEXICAN . Well worth watching at any time
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5.0 out of 5 stars great film, 8 Jan 2014
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John R. Gidley (plymouth ,devon .uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Viva Zapata! [DVD] [1952] (DVD)
well this film is as old as me ,but it`s still a great film ,just a shame it wasn`t in colour
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3.0 out of 5 stars Brando in his prime.Well worth seeing, 22 Oct 2014
This review is from: Viva Zapata [DVD] (DVD)
pretty much as I remember seeing it at the cinema. I did manage to forget some important details. certainly well worth seeing again. Marlon Brando in his prime:also several other stars of the period.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The first time I've seen this film and Jean Peters ..., 24 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Viva Zapata [DVD] (DVD)
The first time I've seen this film and Jean Peters. This now completes my set of early Brando films.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 12 Nov 2014
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This review is from: Viva Zapata [DVD] (DVD)
Pretty goo - relatively historically accurate as best I know.
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Viva Zapata! [DVD] [1952]
Viva Zapata! [DVD] [1952] by Elia Kazan (DVD - 2012)
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