An Underrated ’90s Action Blockbuster Is Available On Netflix

The Mask of Zorro is now available to stream on Netflix.

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

The 1988 action blockbuster, The Mask of Zorro, is now streaming on Netflix. The classic 90s adventure film, starring Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, tells the tale of Zorro, the masked vigilante whose adventures have been enjoyed by audiences for over 100 years.

mask of zorro

Some old films deserve to be forgotten. Whether they were badly written, poorly produced, or altogether not that entertaining, they have been laid to rest in the back of our memories, and that is where they should stay. This is not the case for The Mask of Zorro, a classic that perfectly encapsulates everything that was grand about adventure films in the 90s.

Banderas puts on the performance of his career as he takes on the persona of Zorro, a swashbuckling and dashing Spanish sword-wielding conservator who is bent on revenge. The film opens as the original Zorro, Don Diego de la Vega (Anthony Hopkins), escapes from a 20-year imprisonment to seek revenge against his enemy, Don Rafael Montero (Stuart Wilson), who killed his wife and kidnapped his daughter (Zetta-Jones). He enlists Alejandro Murrieta (Banderas), a drunken thief with his own vendetta against Montero, to help him avenge his family and ultimately be his successor as the new Zorro.

The film was written by Johnston McCulley, Ted Elliot, and Terry Rossio. It was directed by Martin Campbell, who is most well-known for directing the 2006 James Bond movie Casino Royale. It was executive produced by Stephen Spielberg, who developed the film with TriStar Pictures.

At its release, The Mask of Zorro became a huge critical and financial success. The film, which had been produced with a $95 million budget, was number one at the box office in its first week and made $250.3 million overall. 

Critics praised Banderas’ and Hopkins’ performances, enjoying their portrayal of a character that had been beloved by many since before the 1950s. Movie watchers enjoyed seeing Banderas portray Zorro, an action hero that is not just entertaining but a character who is deeply developed and follows a code of honor. 

Unlike modern movies, The Mask of Zorro offers a sense of authenticity that has become rare in recent films. Rather than using CGI to spruce up the film, the production boasts real stunts and effects captured in real-time by the camera. 

Banderas insisted on performing most of his own stunts himself. He was trained by the master swordsman Bob Anderson, who trained the legendary action star of the Golden Age of Hollywood, Errol Flynn, famous for his portrayal of Don Juan and Robin Hood. After training Banderas, Anderson claimed that he was the most gifted swordsman he’d seen since Flynn.

Banderas and his co-stars’ commitment to making an authentic film, along with an entertaining and intelligent script, is why The Mask of Zorro has remained a beloved classic all of these years. The adventurous tales of the honorable vigilante have inspired people for generations, and its addition to Netflix’s catalog will ensure that it continues to inspire a new generation of film watchers.