Zorro - The Legend Through The Years

   The Mask of Zorro - 1998

Antonio Banderas is Alejandro Murrieta and Zorro Antonio Banderas
Alejandro Murrieta and Zorro
Anthony Hopkins
Don Diego de la Vega and Zorro
Anthony Hopkins is Don Diego de la Vega and Zorro
Catherine Zeta-Jones is Elena Montero Catherine Zeta-Jones
Elena Montero
Stuart Wilson
Don Rafael Montero
Stuart Wilson is Don Rafael Montero
Matt Letscher is Captain Harrison Love Matt Letscher
Captain Harrison Love
L.Q. Jones
Three-Fingered Jack
L.Q. Jones is Three-Fingered Jack
Victor Rivers is Joaquín Murrieta Victor Rivers
Joaquín Murrieta
Luisa Huertas
the Nanny
Luisa Huertas is the Nanny
In 1821, Spain's three hundred year domination of Mexico was about to come to an end.  A people's rebellion, led by General Santa Anna, spread from the arid mountains of the south to the rich and fertile northern province known as California.  Peasants gathered on the streets, calling for the blood of the last Spanish governor, Don Rafael Montero.  Although under orders to return to Spain, Montero refused to relinquish power without one final reckoning.

Don Rafael Montero has arrested three peasants chosen randomly from the crowd and plans to execute them in one last attempt to capture Zorro.  The crowd protests vehemently.  Two boys, Alejandro and Joaquín Murrieta look on and eagerly wait for Zorro to appear.  Zorro does indeed appear and rescues the three peasants just as the fatal shots are fired.  Zorro scuffles with the soldiers; at one point, the Murrieta brothers save Zorro's life by causing a statue to fall down where some soldiers were about to attack him.  Zorro gives Joaquín a medallion as thanks.  Zorro confronts Montero and cuts a "Z" on Murrieta's neck just before he takes his leave.

The Murrieta brothers are excited to see Zorro in action.

Zorro arrives to free the peasants.

Zorro cuts a Z on Montero's neck.

Montero prepares to arrest Don Diego.

Esperanza is shot.

After returning home, Don Diego tells his infant daughter Elena about that day's adventure.  Diego's wife, Esperanza, remarks that their daughter never tires of hearing his voice.  Esperanza sees that Diego is wounded and begs him not to ride anymore as Zorro.  Diego replies that with the Spaniards returning to Spain that Zorro will have no need to ride anymore.  Diego and Esperanza kiss but are interrupted by the arrival of Montero and his soldiers.  Montero openly accuses Don Diego of being Zorro and places him under arrest.  He notices Don Diego's injury and tells him that "blood never lies."  Diego fights with Montero and the soldiers.  During the fight, Esperanza rushes to Diego's aid and is shot and killed by one of the soldiers.  Montero kills the soldier and is quite shaken that Esperanza is dead as he had always loved her.
Montero speaks bitterly, "I want you to live with the knowledge that you have lost everything that you hold dear.  I want you to suffer as I have suffered, knowing that your child should have been mine."  Montero takes Don Diego's baby as his own to raise and has Don Diego imprisoned.
Twenty Years Later

Three-Fingered Jack pretends to have captured the bandit brothers Alejandro and Joaquín Murrieta.  The three men approach a group of soldiers, who come out to meet them.  The Murrieta brothers pull guns on the soldiers, thereby overpowering them.  The three men ride off on a wagon which contains a strong box.  Unfortunately, the men ride right up to a division of soldiers led by Captain Love.  Joaquín tells Alejandro to hide.  The soldiers surround Joaquín.  As Captain Love prepares to kill him, Joaquín shoots himself.  Captain Love cuts off Joaquín's head and tells his men to keep the head and bury the body.  Joaquín's medallion flies off of his neck when his head is cut off.  Alejandro keeps the medallion.

An older Don Rafael Montero arrives at the prison.  Montero searches the prisoners for Don Diego, looking carefully at Don Diego in particular, but fails to recognize him.  Don Diego and the other prisoners are returned to their cells.  The prisoner in the cell adjacent to Diego's cell dies, and his body is to be removed and buried.  Don Diego manages to overpower the soldier who is guarding his cell, takes his key, and frees himself.  Diego uses the soldier's gunpowder to free himself of his chains.  Diego trades clothes with the dead man, places the dead man in his cell, and lies down, pretending to be dead.  The soldiers carry Diego out of the prison and bury him, thinking him to be the dead man.  Diego bursts out of the grave and is present when Governor Montero comes ashore from his boat. Montero tries to find Don Diego.

Montero fails to recognize Don Diego.

Montero greets the people, who are not pleased to see him arrive.  Montero quickly wins them over, however, when he tells them that no one has ever tried to help them, but that he will help them fight not for Spain or for Mexico, but for California as Californians.  Don Diego prepares to lunge at Montero to kill him when Elena appears, calling Montero "Father."  Elena is now a beautiful young woman.

Alejandro Murrieta is drinking at a cantina.  He wants more whiskey, but he doesn't have any money.  He tries to trade his medallion for a glass of whiskey when Don Diego grabs him and asks where he got the medallion.  Alejandro tells him that it belonged to his brother.  Alejandro sees Captain Love and tries to run out to kill him.  Diego prevents him; Diego and Alejandro fight, and Diego easily bests Alejandro.  Diego tells Alejandro that he can teach Alejandro how to fight Captain Love, but that it will take time and patience.  Alejandro asks him why Diego would go to that much trouble for him, and Diego tells him that it is because Alejandro once saved his life.  Alejandro realizes that Diego is Zorro, and Diego takes Alejandro to his secret cave.

Don Diego begins to teach Alejandro how to properly fence.

Alejandro builds up his strength.

Don Diego puts Alejandro through a rigorous training program, teaching him how to fence and helping him build his strength.  One day while the two men are in the plaza, they see the perfect horse for Zorro.  Alejandro goes to steal the horse that night.  On his way to the stables, Alejandro briefly meets Elena, who is attracted to him.  As Alejandro tries to steal the horse, he is discovered by the soldiers.  All of the soldiers jump on top of him, and he is able to crawl out from underneath them.  Alejandro swings from the chandelier and performs many other stunts in his attempts to escape.  Finally, he seeks refuge in the mission where he is hidden by the priest in the confessional.  Elena is in there and begins confessing to Alejandro, thinking that he is the priest.  She tells him that she has had impure thoughts about a man, a bandit that she met that night.  Alejandro tells her that there is nothing wrong with how she feels.  The soldiers enter the church, but Alejandro is able to escape and leaves with the horse.
Diego tells Alejandro of a feast that Montero is giving.  Alejandro appears at that feast, masquerading as a caballero so that he can spy on Montero.  Diego accompanies Alejandro as his servant, Bernardo.  Alejandro presents himself to Montero and his reception is favorable enough to win himself a place at Montero's table during dinner.  The subject turns to Zorro; Alejandro makes fun of Zorro, irking Elena.  Alejandro says that "such sweaty pursuits are hardly the work of a gentleman" and that it would be better to work towards increasing one's wealth.

Alejandro dances with Elena and after the dance is over, suggests something more energetic.  They dance very spiritedly and suggestively.  Don Rafael sees them and walks up to them as the dance ends.  Alejandro says, "Excuse me, Don Rafael.  I need to catch my breath.  Your daughter is a very spirited dancer."  Don Rafael thanks him for putting it so delicately.  Elena leaves, irritated.  Don Rafael invites Alejandro to join him in the courtyard to hear of his vision for California, which turns out to be a free and independent California.  Montero says that they will buy California from Santa Anna.  When the dons protest that they don't have enough money, Don Rafael displays a gold bar and tells them to meet him tomorrow morning and he will show them something very interesting.

Alejandro and Diego arrive at the dinner.

Alejandro and Elena dance.

Elena is irritated with Alejandro.

The people work the mine against their wills.

Alejandro touches Three-Fingered Jack's body.

The next morning, Montero takes them to a gold mine and shows the dons hundreds of gold bars that have been marked with the Spanish seal.  Montero will buy California from Santa Anna with gold that technically belongs to Santa Anna.  The laborers are people who are being forced to work the mine; some of the laborers are children and one of them is the priest who helped Zorro hide.  Alejandro sees Three-Fingered Jack, who accosts the dons.  Jack says that he stole money, but that the dons steal people's lives.  Jack attacks the men and is shot dead by Captain Love.  Alejandro goes over to Jack's body and turns him over.  Alejandro next walks over to Captain Love and asks him what is so amusing.  Love says that it is the second time he has shot Jack while he has been flying through the air.  As Alejandro leaves, Captain Love says that he must speak to him at the hacienda.
Diego, as Bernardo, is grooming Alejandro's horse in the stables when Elena stops to speak to him.  She tells Diego that Alejandro confuses her and seems like two different people.  Diego tells Elena that she is like her mother.  Elena asks him what he means, and he replies that she isn't like her father, Don Rafael.  Elena asks Diego if they have ever met before because his voice seems so familiar.  Diego says no.

Captain Love meets Alejandro in his office.  Love offers him something to drink; he brings out a jar which contains Joaquín's head and a smaller jar which contains Three-Fingered Jack's hand.  Alejandro at first refuses a drink.  Love remarks that whether Alejandro is Murrieta's brother or not, there is more to Alejandro than meets the eye.  Alejandro dips his cup into the jar containing Joaquín's head, takes a sip, and leaves.

In the plaza, Elena's old nurse from when she was a baby sees her and gives her a gift.  Elena asks her about it and the woman tells her that she was her nurse.  Elena tells her that she must be mistaken.  The woman says that there can be no mistake, that Elena must be the daughter of Esperanza and Diego de la Vega.  Elena does not know what to think.

Diego lights a Flaming Z outside Montero's hacienda.  Alejandro breaks in as Zorro and steals the map of the gold mine.  Captain Love discovers that the map is missing, and Zorro confronts him.  Montero enters and Zorro fights both of them at once.  Zorro escapes and seeks refuge in the barn, only to be confronted by Elena.  Elena is clad scantily in her nightgown and fights him.  Zorro cuts her nightgown so that it falls off of her.  Zorro makes his escape, and Montero enters the barn.  Elena tells him that Zorro was there, and it is obvious that she likes Zorro.

Back in Zorro's cave, Alejandro learns that Elena is Diego's daughter.  Diego plans to soon settle his score with Montero.  Alejandro is irritated that Diego does not intend to help him save the people who are being forced to work the gold mine.

Don Diego lights the Flaming Z.

Zorro fights Captain Love.

Don Diego tries to force Montero to reveal the truth about Elena's parentage. Don Diego confronts Montero in his home and forces him to call Elena.  In her presence, he tells Montero to reveal the truth.  Montero never actually reveals the truth, but in what is said, Elena realizes that Don Diego is her real father.  Montero's men arrive with guns pointed at Don Diego.  Montero tells him to drop his sword or be killed in front of Elena.  Elena asks Diego to drop his sword and he does.  Diego is placed in jail.  Later, Elena comes and frees him.
Captain Love has men wiring explosives to blow up the mine and the workers in it.  The soldiers lock up all of the workers in the mine.  Captain Love lights the fuse but later extinguishes it when he sees Zorro in the mine.  Don Diego arrives and fights Montero.  Montero sees that Elena is with him.  Captain Love and Alejandro come face to face and begin to fight.  Don Diego corners Montero and prepares to kill him, but Elena intervenes.  The fight temporarily ceases but then begins anew.  Don Diego orders Elena to free the captives as there is now a fire raging in the mine.  Meanwhile, Alejandro carves an "M" for Murrieta on Captain Love's cheek.  After more fighting, Alejandro impales Captain Love with his sword and pulls off his mask.  Montero is dragged off the edge of the platform with the cart loaded with gold bars.  Montero and the loaded cart crash down on top of Captain Love, killing both men.  Elena races to free all of the people.  She is having trouble with a lock when Alejandro rushes up.  Elena is surprised to see that Zorro is Alejandro.  The people are freed just before the mine blows up.  Unfortunately, Don Diego received a fatal injury in his battle with Montero.  Elena and Alejandro sit with him in his final moments before he dies.  Elena and Alejandro marry and have a son whom they name Joaquín. Elena works to free the prisoners.

Alejandro comes to help Elena free the prisoners.

Don Diego dies with Alejandro and Elena at his side.


This version of Zorro manages to pay tribute to a number of past versions of Zorro.  Don Diego lights the flaming "Z" like in The Bold Caballero and Zorro's Fighting Legion.  Zorro's cave is hidden behind a waterfall much like the Black Whip's cave in Zorro's Black Whip.  The entrance to the hacienda from the secret cave is through the back of a fireplace just like in the New World Zorro.  Zorro swings from a chandelier like Reed Hadley and Duncan Regehr.  Like Douglas Fairbanks, Zorro crawls out from underneath a pile of soldiers and cuts a "Z" on an adversary's neck.  Zorro hides himself in a priest's robes like in the 1920, 1940, and 1974 films and also pretends to be a priest in the confessional booth just like in the 1940 and 1974 films.  Alejandro and Elena share a dance similar to what occurred in the 1940 film.

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