When he wasn’t God, Moses, Judah Ben Hur or an Ape-wrestling Spaceman, the extremely wooden Charlton Heston starred in El Cid (along with the gorgeous Sophia Loren), an historical epic about Spain’s battles with the Moors.
Chuck and Sophia. She got more money than him and sued the producer for not getting top billing...allegedly
Anecdotally, Heston and Loren didn’t get along at all well, and Heston refused to look at her during their clinches…was he mad?!
Chuck, go and get your eyes tested
Moors being the Muslim invaders from Morocco, just a short sail across the straits of Gibraltar in north Africa. The Moorish influence is evident throughout Spain in the origins of the language, architecture and culture.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film (and it’s a long, long film, that’s what epic means) is when the already dead Cid, draped in a white robe is strapped onto his horse to lead his army into battle storming the castle of Peniscola (doubling for Valencia). The horse gallops along the beach towards the castle…the view capture in the title banner photo of this website. Apart from Peniscola not being Valencia, the other little inaccuracy is that the real El Cid died of old age in is bed.
The classic view of Peniscola castle. No dead people riding horses this day
Rodrigo 'El Cid' before he caught the arrow
The ramparts of the castle
El Cid stood here...well Charlton Heston did
Even without the Hollywood connection, it's a fascinating castle and ancient town to wander around.