The Mask of Zorro (1998)

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Embedded with mystery and suspense, this action-oriented thriller is set in the early 19th century, in the ruggedly beautiful territory of California, when the masked swordsman hero, Zorro was a champion of the people against the tyranny of Spanish rule, represented by the ruthless Governor Montero. Unfortunately, on the eve of his greatest triumph, the liberation of California, Montero learns of Zorro's secret identity as Don Diego de la Vega and attacks the rebel in his home leaving him imprisoned, his wife dead and his daughter abducted to be claimed as the child of Montero. Twenty years pass, and Montero returns to California intent on a foul plan to bring it under his total control. Upon learning of his return, Don Diego escapes from his long imprisonment and prepares for his revenge. Part of it involves the training of an orphan who helped him as a boy to become his successor. Together, the two must prepare to do battle with Montero and his American henchman to save California and reunite with Diego's lost daughter. So once again, the enemies of freedom and justice in California must fear of the man who leaves the mark of the Z...
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Did you know? Originally, Anthony Hopkins refused the part of Don Diego de la Vega because he had too much pain in his back. A laser operation brought an end on the pain and made it possible for him to accept the part. Read More
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Executive Producer




Screenplay Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography


Music Director


Film Type:
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Colour Info:
Frame Rate:
24 fps
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Audio/Video Mismatch
During Zorro's big duel at the end, he carves an 'M' on Captain Love's cheek. The letter 'M' is made of four lines, therefore four cuts would be required to carve one. If you listen carefully however, you can hear five cuts being made.

Revealing Mistakes
When Don Rafael Montero shows a gold bar to the other Dons, he holds it only with two fingers and shows no signs that it's heavy. A gold bar this size would be much too heavy for anyone to hold like that.

Revealing Mistakes
When he dismounts to stop the burning wick, it is obvious Captain Love's saddle cover is made of fake leopard skin material.

Revealing Mistakes
When Zorro is surfing down the gulch on a shovel during his fight with Captain Love, a strap holding his foot to the shovel can be seen.

Revealing Mistakes
As Zorro is swinging on a tree branch just before kicking Captain Love, the parallel bars used for the tree limbs are clearly visible.

Revealing Mistakes
When Elena is presented with a sprig of white flower on the beach, and its scent triggers a lost memory in her, she is told the plant grows only in California. The flower used in the film is a Camellia japonica cultivar, a shrub native to (and long-cultivated in) China, Japan and Korea, though introduced to Europe in 18th Century, and thence to America in the 19th. It has no scent at all.

In the confessional, Elena says she broke the fourth commandment. For Roman Catholics, "honor thy father and mother" is the fourth commandment, not the fifth.

At the party, Captain Love is wearing officer's epaulets, but is wearing a senior officer's (double breasted) uniform. The double breasted uniform was used only by those of the rank of major and above.

Factual Mistake
The Mexican flag appearing in the headquarters when Zorro is fighting the soldiers has the red and green areas reversed.

Factual Mistake
At the mine the wagon is shown filled with gold. Given the dimensions of the bars since gold is heavy each bar would weigh between 25 and 30 pounds. This would mean that the amount of gold in the wagon would weigh between 5 and 6 tons, much more than that type wagon could carry.

Errors in Geography
When Don Raphael comes ashore there are saguaro cactus which only grow in the Sonoran Desert in extreme southeast California.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When one of the Dons comes into the room where de la Vega is hiding at the party, stage lighting is briefly visible when the door is opened.

After Zorro undresses Elena with his sword, she covers her breasts with his hat. When he snatches his hat away from her, the hand in the close up is not wearing a glove, even though Zorro was wearing gloves throughout the entire sequence.

When Don Diego is fighting Alejandro in the Cantina, there are some hay stacks in the corner. When Alejandro attacks Zorro, one of the hay stacks falls down but in the next scene it's up again in the corner.

During a training exercise, Alejandro knocks Diego's sword from his hand and catches it. As he throws it back, the blade points down; when Diego catches it, the blade is pointed up.

When Alejandro is fighting Captain Love at the gold mine, he stops the large wheel from spinning by sticking something in it. The next time we see it, the ladder is in there holding the wheel, but it is not broken anymore. When he jumps off the platform the wheel starts moving and then stops again.

Character Error
Tornado, the black horse of Zorro, isn't an Andalusian (as called by Diego) but a Friesian. (It has the typical feathers on its hoofs and is of stockier build.)

Audio/Video Mismatch
When Don Diego is about to confront Don Rafael for the first time, he begins talking in the shadows but his voice isn't in sync with the picture.

Elena has a nylon zipper on her dress in the last scene. Zippers were not used in the 1840's and nylon was not used for this purpose until after WWII.

The movie was set around 1841, but a pressure gauge measures in metric units which were not adopted in Mexico until the 1860s.

Captain Love is wearing sky blue trousers, which were not adopted until the Civil War in 1861 and 'enlisted' shoulder scales, not officer's epaulets.

Captain Love is identified by his insignia as a cavalry captain. He should be using the model 1840 cavalry saber, but the sword shown has a straight blade more like a modern fencing saber.

Don Rafael Montero that says he came via Lisbon and San Francisco. In 1841, San Francisco was still Yerba Buena. The name change didn't occur until January, 1847.
At the end when Alejandro Murrieta (Antonio Banderas) confronts Capt. Love he pulls his sword out and the sun glints off the blade running the full length. This was not CGI and in fact was suggested by Banderas. He had to tilt the sword to catch the sun without breaking eye contact with Love. It only took 3 takes.

Joaquin Murieta, Antonio Banderas's character's brother, and Three-fingered Jack were real life bandits in Northern California at the time of the 1849 Gold Rush. Joaquin Murieta was a Mexican born in Sonora who moved to California to find his fortune. But after being beaten and robbed by American gold miners, he swore that he would avenge his dishonor. He was the lead in a group of bandits in the California wilderness, killing anyone who stood in their way. His life was the stuff of legend, used by Mexicans as a source of patriotism and by Americans as reason enough to hang anyone who spoke Spanish. Three-fingered Jack was actually a Mexican by the name of Manuel Garcia, who was Murieta's side kick. Murieta was supposedly killed on July 18, 1853 by Captain Harry Love who preserved Murieta's head in a jar of alcohol, along with Three-fingered Jack's hand as proof that the bandit was dead.

In Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio's original draft of the screenplay, Don Diego was not killed, and lived to tell the story of Zorro's adventures to his granddaughter.

Originally, Anthony Hopkins refused the part of Don Diego de la Vega because he had too much pain in his back. A laser operation brought an end on the pain and made it possible for him to accept the part.

Antonio Banderas was extremely adamant about performing nearly all his own stunts for the purposes of authenticity. The only shot that was a stunt double is the one of Alejandro leaping over a horse and kicking the guard during the chase scene.

In order to accomplish the effect of Elena's dress falling off from being sliced up by Zorro, a wire was attached to the dress to pull the dress off.

Sean Connery turned down the part later played by Anthony Hopkins.

When Montero goes to the prison to seek out Zorro, several of the prisoners claim to be Zorro in a scene reminiscent of a similar scene in Spartacus (1960). Anthony Hopkins provided the voice of Crassus during the restoration of the earlier film.

Shakira was offered the role of Elena.

According to an account in book "Tales from the Script" (2010) by Peter Hanson and Paul Robert Herman, David S. Ward rewrote approximately 85% of the dialogue here, but received no screen credit, a predicament that spawned enough controversy to merit a front page article in the Los Angeles Times.

Anthony Hopkins impersonates Bernardo, Zorro's butler in the original stories. Zorro was a major inspiration for Batman, and Bernardo became the butler Alfred Pennyworth. Hopkins was also offered this role in Batman Begins (2005).

Raul Julia was originally supposed play Diego de la Vega but died before he could take the role.

Robert Rodriguez was originally attached to direct, but the studio didn't agree with his much-more violent and R-rated proposal.