Emiliano Zapata is a delegate of an aggravated union that is rebelling against a long time corrupt president who dismisses their claims as trivial. While most of the union members choose to be patient with the issue, Zapata who says " We sow our seeds with tortillas not patience" remains unyielding. They go to war, they overthrow two presidents, a general and it finally the throne comes to Zapata.
Zapata is faced with the same problem when his brother Eufemio Zapata starts doing what he wants with no respect for the law, he takes the land that belongs to the farmers and abuses their wives. Zapata tells these men that there is no such thing as a leading man and that "You have to find it in yourselves." He resigns from his presidency post and leads another mutiny for the farmers. He's been bribed with property, money and gratitude from big men but nothing means more to him than to be at the vanguard of an army of peasants. This thing in particular seems to have inspired the main character of The Hurt Locker.
Although it fails to be as great as Elia Kazan's best works, it definitely can be considered a good film. There're some very memorable scenes and both Anthony Quinn and Marlon Brando are excellent in their respective roles. Brando created 3 consummately different characters in 4 years, Zapata, Terry Malloy(On The Waterfront) and Stanley Kowalski. Another film, released in these golden years of Kazan's career, I happened to miss was Julius Caesar, another role that received recognition from the Academy. On that, you'll see in my next review. But, to conclude, if acting happens to be an important aspect of a film to you, you should watch Brando deliver some really fierce acting chops in Viva Zapata.
Rating - 8/10