The Legend of Zorro


Most Americans leave high school knowing little about their nation’s history. The latest Zorro film isn’t going to help.

According to Eric Cox in The American Enterprise, the latest Zorro sequel — The Legend of Zorro attempts "to reconcile Latino identity politics with American patriotism and to dish it up as fun for the whole family. From both a historical and political perspective, the result is outlandishly bizarre".

In the film, the Mexican inhabitants of California clamor to win their “independence” from Mexico in 1850 and join the Union, while the evil, racist Anglos want nothing more than to thwart their aspirations for statehood—partly because they don’t like Mexicans and partly because they don’t want California to join the Union as a non-slave state.

The historical reality was a little different, of course. It was a small band of American settlers taking advantage of the Mexican-American War who declared California an independent republic in 1846, a development that the Mexican citizens living there did not exactly welcome with open arms. Mexico ceded the land to the U.S. in the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

Although a few wealthy Mexican ranchers were part of the constitutional convention that decided to seek statehood, the opening scene of The Legend of Zorro, in which thousands of happy Mexicans cast their ballots in favor of joining the Union and enthusiastically cheer a pro-Union politician, is probably a bit of a stretch.

Some Mexican Americans might understand the legend of Zorro differently. The original pulp fiction Zorro was modeled in part on the legendary Mexican bandit Joaquin Murieta. And that’s another story altogether…

Thanks to Rafe at Catallaxy for inspiring this post.

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Cameron Riley
2021 years ago

by the same token, entertainment doesnt have to follow history, no matter how much our history buffs want it to. They have eyeballs to attract first.

HBO has a series called Rome which charts Caesers path to power, and presumably death (final episode is tomorrow night). First thing my wife did once she got into the series was grab the laptop while in front of the TV and research Caeser to determine what the history was.

There is hope for entertainment yet.

2021 years ago

its Zorro, the foundation for Batman

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2021 years ago

more on the links between Batman and Zorro here