- Directors: Martin Campbell
- Producers: David Foster, Doug Claybourne, Executive Producers, Steven Spielberg, Walter F Parkes
- Writers: Screenplay, John Eskow, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Story, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Randall Jahnson, Characters, Johnston McCulley
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Romance, Western
- Actors: Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta Jones, Stuart Wilson, Matt Letscher
In 1821, the Mexican Army is on the verge of liberating its country from Spanish colonial rule. In Las Californias the ruthless Spanish Governor, Don Rafael Montero, is about to be overthrown. In a final effort to trap his nemesis, the masked swordsman Zorro (Anthony Hopkins), Montero prepares to execute three innocent townspeople. With assistance from two orphan brothers, Joaquin and Alejandro Murrieta, Zorro releases the prisoners. Zorro rewards the Murrieta brothers with a medallion he wears, and escapes on his horse, Toronado, after cutting a “Z” into Montero’s neck as a warning.
Montero deduces that Zorro is really Don Diego de la Vega, a Spanish nobleman married to Esperanza, the woman Montero loved. Attempting to arrest Diego, a fight ensues. Esperanza is killed while trying to protect Diego. Diego’s house is burned and his infant daughter, ElÃ©na, is taken by Montero to be raised as his own. Diego is imprisoned.
Twenty years later Montero returns to California, looking for Diego in the old prison. Although de La Vega is there, Montero does not recognize him, while several prisoners claim to be Zorro. Diego escapes, intent on killing Montero at a public ceremony for Montero’s return. Diego restrains himself when he sees ElÃ©na (Catherine Zeta-Jones), now a beautiful young lady. ElÃ©na is presented with a bouquet of flowers – Romagnas, native to California – the scent of which she recognizes, although she believes she has never been to California.
The one moment that captured all the advertising and viewer’s attention: When ElÃ©na (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is undressed by the slashing sword of Mexican thief Alejandro Murrieta/Zorro (Antonio Banderas); the view of her opened dress caused his sword blade to pop up, followed by his taking her for a sensuous kiss. The scene has been called one of the most erotic film moments of the 1990s. In fact, both Catherine Zeta-Jones and Antonio Banderas have admitted to sexual arousal during the filming of this scene, Banderas being aroused by Zeta-Jones’s beauty, and Zeta-Jones being aroused by the very fact that Banderas could strip her by using only his sword and not his hands.