The Mask of Zorro

  • Review Date: October 27, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 1998
  • Running Time: 137 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Competently made action-adventure epic.
  • Review Date: October 27, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 1998
  • Running Time: 137 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

In typical action movie style, the film emphasizes the values of heroism in freeing the oppressed from the yoke of tyranny. However, the villains are amoral (see severed head and hands).


Most of the movie is filled with cartoonish swashbuckling, ranging from the very tame to the fairly intense (a number of people get stabbed in the chest by swords). A character presents a severed head and hands in a glass jar to another character off-screen in one disturbing scene. Rafael's men prematurely bury the elder Zorro, resulting in a brief but intense scene in which he knifes his way out of his grave.


A playful scene in which the younger Zorro's swashbuckling results in Elena's top falling off. He then kisses her, as she covers her bare breasts with his hat.


There are a few uses of the word "damn," but that's as salty as the film gets.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A character is inebriated, but his transformation from drunk to hero is a moral positive.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film is an action epic, featuring mostly sword fighting and some significantly intense moments of violence and (cartoonish) gore. The film is not suitable for any child who is easily upset by intense action or simulated gore. Teenagers are its target audience, but not much in the film would bother younger children that are used to Hollywood action clichés.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

THE MASK OF ZORRO is built upon the development of the father-son relationship and engagingly explores the family dynamics that result. The story begins with Diego de la Vega's (Anthony Hopkins) capture by Don Rafael Montero (Stuart Wilson), an evil American cavalry officer. Montero murders Zorro's wife and steals his infant child, Elena (Catherine-Zeta-Jones). Twenty years later, the former Zorro seeks to train a younger replacement so that he may avenge the death of his wife and retrieve his now-grown daughter. Zorro chooses Alejandro Murrieta (Antonio Banderas) as his protégé. Together, they battle Montero with courage and bravery.

Is it any good?


THE MASK OF ZORRO rises above the banal Hollywood action film, due to the fine performances of Anthony Hopkins and Antonio Banderas as the old and young Zorros. The overall plot is quite engaging and offers the traditional fun of watching heroes vanquish evil villains. However, if viewing a high-quality film with your child is what you are after, it's best to look elsewhere.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the role adults have in training their children as future citizens. As with most action movies, the ambiguous morality of revenge is the film's central concern. Is it right for both Zorros to devote their lives to violence to avenge the wrongful deaths of their loved ones? When does justice become vigilantism? What is the proper role of individuals in righting clear social wrongs that are depicted in the film?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 17, 1998
DVD release date:December 1, 1998
Cast:Anthony Hopkins, Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones
Director:Martin Campbell
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Run time:137 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some intense action and violence

This review of The Mask of Zorro was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 9 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

I was jumping up and down.

Kid, 12 years old July 27, 2012

Great! But a bit shocking. Iffy for 10 and under.

My Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of action violence, some smoking, and a few suggestive references. Violence-4/5 Pretty violent/sometimes disturbing I should say. Multiple people get stabbed in the chest with swords (one with blood). One rather disturbing scene a character presents a severed head and hand in a jar off-screen. Lots of "Ow! That has to hurt!" moments. Sex-3/5- In one scene that takes place in a dessert, two men are tied up with there bodies lying in the cactus frontward naked. It's Shown from behind. 'New' Zorro comically showing his swashbuckling results of a girls top off. No nudity but she covers her breast from a hat. Also one very memorable innuendo, two characters challenging to a playful sword fight and fall in love joke about there 'special purpose' since they had before, referring to love. Language-1/5- D*mn is as salty as it gets. Drugs/alchahol/smoking-3/5- basically, the master Zorro smokes with a pipe. Drinks are offered at a ball.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Caution! Very Gory

The head being severed is off screen but latter in the film you are shown a close up of the head and hand of the hero's brother in jars! Both the nemesis and the hero drink from this jar! This was very disturbing for our daughter. We stopped the film. Some scenes are cartoonish but not these parts.


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