Viva Zapata! Overview:

Viva Zapata! (1952) was a Historical - Western Film directed by Elia Kazan and produced by Darryl F. Zanuck.

The film was based on the novel Zapata: The Unconquerable written by Edgecumb Pinchon published in 1941.


Brando brings dignity and strength to his portrayal of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata. A reluctant hero, Zapata leads the peasants in a quest to seize their land back from the wealthy after first trying to ignore his calling. He promises Peters a quiet life and finds work on a horse farm. But the indignities and cruelty of the government are finally too much, and Brando takes command, with his brother Quinn, of a peasant army. He joins the revolution being waged in the north by Villa and, after they come to power, is faced with the complexities of governing. A breakthrough for both Kazan and Brando, it continued their collaboration, begun with the stage production of A Streetcar Named Desire and three powerful films in four years, Streetcar, Zapata, and On the Waterfront. Steinbeck wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay.

(Source: available at Amazon AMC Classic Movie Companion).


Academy Awards 1952 --- Ceremony Number 25 (source: AMPAS)

Best ActorMarlon BrandoNominated
Best Supporting ActorAnthony QuinnWon
Best Art DirectionArt Direction: Lyle Wheeler, Leland Fuller; Set Decoration: Thomas Little, Claude CarpenterNominated
Best Music - ScoringAlex NorthNominated
Best WritingJohn SteinbeckNominated

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Quotes from

Eufemio: I love you, but I do not like you.

Emiliano Zapata: A strong people is the only way to freedom!

Fernando: Cut off the head of the snake and the body will die.

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Facts about

Film debut of Frank DeKova.
Anthony Quinn was very disappointed when Marlon Brando was cast as Emiliano Zapata - he thought that with his Latin appearance, he would have been a better choice. To solve the argument, both actors competed to see which of them could urinate furthest into the Rio Grande. Quinn lost the bet, but he won an Oscar for the best supporting actor as Zapata's brother.
"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on November 3, 1952 with Jean Peters reprising her film role.
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Best Supporting Actor Oscar 1952

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Also directed by Elia Kazan

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Also produced by Darryl F. Zanuck

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