Viva Zapata!

Viva Zapata! is an American film directed by Elia Kazan , released in 1952 .

Written by John Steinbeck and produced by Darryl F. Zanuck , the film is romantically related to the last ten years of Emiliano Zapata’s life .

Marlon Brando , having achieved success in a streetcar named Désir , lent his features to the Mexican revolutionary. Anthony Quinn , Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for this film, plays the role of Zapata’s brother. Viva Zapata! will allow Brando to obtain the interpretation prize in Cannes . Zapata is portrayed here as an incorruptible rebel leader, guided by his one and only constant desire to return their land to the robbed peasants, forgetting his personal interest. Steinbeck , nominated for an Oscar for Best Screenplay, reflects on the power (political, military) that corrupts men, except Zapata.


In 1909, Porfirio Díaz headed Mexico for 34 years. A group of peasants from Morelos is robbed of their land by landowners and sugar cane farmers. Faced with the condescension of the dictator and his refusal to intervene, Emiliano Zapata, helped by his friend Pancho Villa (Alan Reed) and his brother Eufemio (Anthony Quinn), decides to take the lead in the revolt and to triumph the right of the peasants.

Technical sheet

  • Original title: Viva Zapata!
  • French title: Viva Zapata!
  • Director: Elia Kazan
  • Scenario: John Steinbeck ; Edgecumb Pinchon (uncredited)
  • Costumes: Travilla
  • Image: Joseph MacDonald
  • Editing: Barbara McLean
  • Music: Alex North
  • Production: Darryl F. Zanuck
  • Production Company: 20th Century Fox
  • Distribution: Twentieth Century Fox
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Language: English , Spanish
  • Format:
  • Duration: 113 minutes
  • Release dates: United States


  • Marlon Brando (VF: Jean Martinelli ) : Emiliano Zapata
  • Jean Peters (VF: Claire Guibert ) : Josefa Zapata
  • Anthony Quinn (VF: Jacques Erwin ) : Eufemio Zapata
  • Joseph Wiseman (VF: Lucien Bryonne ) : Fernando Aguirre
  • Arnold Moss (VF: André Lorière) : Don Nacio
  • Alan Reed : Pancho Villa
  • Margo : Soldadera
  • Harold Gordon : Francisco Madero
  • Lou Gilbert : Pablo
  • Frank Silvera : Victoriano Huerta
  • Florenz Ames (VF: Paul Villé ) : Señor Espejo
  • Richard Garrick : The old general
  • Fay Roope (VF: Jacques Berlioz ) : President Porfirio Díaz
  • Mildred Dunnock : Señora Espejo
  • Henry Silva (VF: John the Violet ) : Hernandez

Uncredited Actors:

  • Rico Alaniz : A guard
  • Alex Montoya : A farmer
  • Nestor Paiva (VF: Richard Francoeur ) : The new general
  • Larry Duran



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During the filming, Brando did not understand why Anthony Quinn was distant with him. It turns out that the director, Elia Kazan, had suggested to Anthony Quinn that Brando was making malicious comments about him. The director seems to have considered that creating a conflict between the two actors would make appear more clearly on the screen the rivalry between the Zapata brothers. However, he forgot to restore the truth at the end of the shoot and the two men remained cold for a few years. [ref. necessary]

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