A man of peace and the sword, Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar befriended the Muslim minority in 12th century Spain while defending the realm against outside Islamic agitators. Heroic from heel to helmet, he was manfully embodied by Charlton Heston in this passionate, thoughtful history play, which deserves a place next to Lawrence of Arabia as a masterpiece of Hollywood's epic period. Sophia Loren is Heston's hate-love inamorata; their scenes have whiplash sting and a high EQ (Eroticism Quotient). Directed by Anthony Mann and written by Philip Yordan and Ben Barzman, the movie was a box-office smash, and was shown three times at John Kennedy's White House. Then it went missing for 40 years. It's back, still grand and compelling and, politically, more relevant than ever. Will Barack Obama be our century's El Cid?
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