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Viva Zapata [VHS] (1952)

Marlon Brando , Jean Peters , Elia Kazan  |  NR |  VHS Tape
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Marlon Brando, Jean Peters, Anthony Quinn, Joseph Wiseman, Arnold Moss
  • Directors: Elia Kazan
  • Format: Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
  • VHS Release Date: May 7, 1993
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6303430910
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #332,737 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
I really enjoyed this film directed by Elia Kazan with a screenplay by John Steinbeck (his only credited screenplay). Their vision of the Revolution is at once both impossibly romantic as well as bitterly cynical. The romance lies in the pure-hearted desire of Emiliano Zapata to bring justice and land reform to `the people'. The cynicism is expressed in the constant betrayal and manipulation of the Revolution by men who are either weak, self-seeking, or who have absolutely no commitment to justice or to `the people. Then there is the character of Fernando, deliciously played by Joseph Wiseman, the professional revolutionary who will never be satisfied with the attainment of objectives but only in incessant foment and agitation (in real life, Kazan detested doctrinaire Stalinists). Brando gives a brooding performance as the illiterate Zapata who inwardly burns at his inability to read. Anthony Quinn won an Oscar as Zapata's older brother, Eufemio. Virtually all of the characters in `Viva Zapata' are ground down by the realities of constant struggle of revolution. We are not to have illusions about the nature of Revolutions. And yet, Kazan and Steinbeck still leave us room to believe that the ideals of revolutionary struggle in themselves can be endowed with nobility and worthiness. The cinematography by Joe MacDonald is tasteful as is the music score by Alex North.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb acting makes this film great March 19, 2004
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
A bit of trivia!
I've seen Viva Zapata a number of times and even discussed the film personally with Elia Kazan in New York City.
Tyrone Power was to portray Zapata (Zanuck fought Kazan on that issue and won) and, thank God, Brando took over the role when Power refused to sign an extension to his contract with Fox. He would have been miscast - most likely.
Then for the part of Josefa, Kazan wanted Julie Harris. Zanuck insisted that he hire Fox contract player Jean Peters. In this case Zanuck was right. Jean had played other latino girls and looked the part. Harris would have had to wear a black wig and hide her numerous freckles (the Irish in her would have been hard to cover up). Brando also liked Jean Peters better than Harris, but for other reasons; he had intentions to romance the actress - although her chaotic encounter with his pet racoon who bit her in the rib-cage during the filming, dowsed all his efforts to bed her. At any rate, Peters was a good choice in the end. Despite Kazan's worries that she wouldn't be believable, she is first rate in this flick and has two great scenes (the one in the church in which she threatens Brando with her hair pin and the one where she teaches him to read on their honeymoon bed) - plus, of course, her final scene in the movie, in which she becomes hysterical and is outstanding.
Anthony Quinn got an Oscar for this one, and well deserved. Kazan, Brando and Peters would have probaly won recognition as well if it weren't for the fact that Kazan was called by HUAC (the MacCarthy witch hunt of the 40's and 50's) and had decided "to name names" to the investigating committee - that made him an unpopular figure in Hollywood and the film was ignored (and Brando became quite cool towards his favorite director after that).
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Stunning May 15, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
I agree with Rico that Viva Zapata is not a "perfect" movie in the sense that phony accents, invented crises ("I cannot read..."), and make-up in this film are not perfect. But, there are the many set pieces that ring true (the peasants surrounding Zapata's horse), the numerous inspiring, ringing speeches (Zapata speaking to the peasants over his dead brother) that jolt any moral soul upright, and the characterizations that are distinctly portrayed and historically accurate (the execution of Modero) that make the imperfections trivial. Also, Steinbeck took great care to research and emulate the locations and manner of the Mexican peasants in Southern Mexico. For all of its American actors, it really has a Mexican feel to it, from the dozens of tiny details of behavior to the dress and background. I played this for my college students, most of whom think any old movie was made after 1970, and they were fully engaged in their attention and discussion afterward. (I play this with "The Ox-Bow Incident" and "Bad Day at Black Rock" for similar reasons--all get an rousing A from the students!) It is hard to find American movies of substance, films that go beyond stars and entertainment qualities and tackle real issues and characters. This is one of those films of substance that portrays idealism that was actually practiced by Zapata and his followers, and one not to be missed.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A huge fresco of Mexican Revolution. April 25, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Actually this was the film that triggered my interest on the Mexican Revolution.
I've seen it many times and always found new details to take into account. As I read more and more on the subject my appreciation of this movie increases.
It presents the viewer with a big fresco of the Revolution that convulsed that country for more than ten years.
I admire the strange capacity of the film to show condensed in each scene, many key issues of why and how the Revolution exploded and continue growing along the years, with an immitigable fire.

Director Elia Kazan has been criticized for his appearance on the Un-American Activities Committee that lead many people related to cinematography to be ostracized.
This been said, regardless of his political stand, he had directed many great Oscar winner films as: "Gentleman's Agreement" (1947), "Streetcar Named Desire" (1951); "East of Eden" (1955); "Splendor on the Grass" (1961) and the present "Viva Zapata!" (1952).
He had directed two "Movie Icons" as Marlon Brando (more than once) and James Dean obtaining the best from them. All his films explored the inner depth of human soul with unflinching stare.

Since the first shot, showing a very accurate characterization of President Porfirio Diaz (Fay Roope) and giving an inkling of the type of ruler he was, an enormous gallery of Mexican historical figure are made known.
Francisco Madero's (Harold Gordon) personality and idealistic naïveté is depicted with very few strokes.
Huerta's (Frank Silvera) wickedness and treachery is shown too.

Above all of them Emiliano Zapata's figure impersonated by an inspired Marlon Brando stands with an epic height.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant!
How can you miss with Brando? Story speaks for itself:brilliant!
Published 1 month ago by John V. Diaz
1.0 out of 5 stars DONT LIKE IT
I LIVE IN CALIFORNA AND THE COMPANY IT CAME I WAS NOT ABLE TO SEE IT WITH MY DVD PLAYER
Published 2 months ago by jennifer
4.0 out of 5 stars BRANDO AT HIS BEST
Marlon Brando's performance in Viva Zapata is one of his finest. He really sinks his acting chops into this role ,and proves why he is one of America's greatest actors of all time. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Doc W.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story
Brando at his best. A piece of Mexican history very well told. Should be required viewing in all history classes.
Published 11 months ago by James Loomis
5.0 out of 5 stars good b movie
i saw this movie when i was a kid. and it was just as i remembered it. thank you so much
Published 15 months ago by james ross
1.0 out of 5 stars Subtitles
Good video reproduction however extremely disappointed unable to watch the movie without subtitles. Option to view movie without subtitles NOT available. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Donald S MacAlester
5.0 out of 5 stars Viva Zapata (1952)
What a beautiful story and the heartaches they endured during the revolution in Mexico. Excellent acting by Marlon Brando and Anthony Quinn. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Joanne Marchetta
5.0 out of 5 stars Brando was great
Great acting, good movie. I saw it back in 1953, and still enjoyed every minute. Marlon Brando is wonderful and soi young.
Published 18 months ago by Mary B
5.0 out of 5 stars Eureka!!!
After waiting almost 6 years to be able to find, purchase and own the dvd Viva Zapata at an awesome price, it was truly worth the wait!! This also holds a memorable memory for me. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Lucy Martinez
4.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 stars for a character driven historical film
Fresh off his success in "A Streetcar Named Desire," Marlon Brando jumps into this very Americanized Mexican western. Read more
Published 18 months ago by M. Oleson
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