Do you consider movies about Zorro to be Westerns?

The thread about “best Western ever” made me wonder, can Zorro films be considered Westerns? All the ones about this hero I’ve ever seen were in California, colonized by Spain at the time the pictures take place. It’s about a lone swordsman, not a gunman, and the disputes aren’t between cowboys and Native Americans or ranchers and farmers.

What do you think? Note that this isn’t a question about whether the films are good or not, just can they be classified as Westerns.

For what it’s worth, Douglas-Fairbanks-as-Zorro used a gun.

(So did Tyrone-Power-as-Zorro, come to think of it – and Duncan-Regehr-as-Zorro.)

I usually group him in my head with other swashbuckling outlaws: The Scarlet Pimpernel, Robin Hood, Long John Silver, Spring Heeled Jack, etc. Mainly because he uses a sword rather then a gun, is set in CA under Spanish rule which gives the setting a more European flavour because Westerns tend to be further inland, and because the setting is usually a little earlier then is usually associated with Westerns.

But I’m sure you can argue it either way, especially since there have been versions of Zorro that were more obviously western inspired.

Pretty much this. Closer to a superhero than the typical western character. It’s easy to characterize cowboy movies as westerns, but the genre is broader than that.

More like Southerns, wot?

Point taken, but that’s not how you visualize him, is it?

Hey, I was an impressionable kid when I saw that serious and straightforward superhero movie about an invincible trick-shot whip expert who happens to be gay.

And so that’s how I still visualize him.

Not sure that helps.


Galloping under the eucalyptus trees…

“Colonial” not “Western.”

Doesn’t much matter: they’re all good. Even “The Gay Blade.”

Zorro movies are swashbucklers, very much like Robin Hood or Sinbad.

IIRC, Zorro was set in Mexican, not Spanish, California. Insofar as I consider Westerns as being about Anglos (and their different ethnic sidekicks) opening the American West, I’d have to say I view Zorro as more of a swashbuckler.

Related question: Would a movie about the opening of the Canadian West (there must be some) be considered a Western as well? :dubious: :confused:

There’s a TV series in the UK screening right now called Jericho about a shanty town constructed for the building of a railway viaduct across a valley. They’re calling it Britain’s first Western, because it has a kind of Deadwood-lite vibe to it. There’s no wild west in the UK, no Gold Rush, no pioneers settling in the Colonies, but they’ve deliberately gone with a Western theme to the storytelling. And it’s quite good.

No, because westerns are supposed to cover a specific period in history. So the cultural backdrop, weapons technology, and fighting methods were bound to be different from Spanish colonial times, Anglo-Saxon pioneer times, even the Oregon Trail.

In the UK’s “Radio Times” (weekly printed guide to what’s on radio and television) some years ago, I noticed a film which was set in the American Civil War – in the main theatre of that conflict, on the eastern side of the continent – described as a “Western”. Can I take it that that is a description which would not be used in the US?

Probably not, but Western can be used in a variety of ways. Star Wars has been called a Space Western, even though it clearly takes place in the southeastern part of the universe.

A “something” Western, as a figure of speech (as in the example posted) strikes me as just fine. Calling a Civil War film just a “Western”, though, struck me as comically inappropriate – when the great majority of the military action in that war, including the events portrayed in this particular film, took place in some of the easternmost parts of what has been except for 1861 - 65, the USA !

Sgt. Preston of the Yukon, and his sled dog King! Lovely old stuff. Just take Lone Ranger episodes and add snow.

But…no, they aren’t “Westerns.”

Related: Australia’s “Slim Dusty” sings Australian cowboy songs: roundups and ranches and campfires and the occasional bandit. Very “western” in tone and content. Jolly good stuff. But “Western?” Dunno. (“West Australia, duh!”)

The man with no name Clint Eastwood set of movies were set in the Civil War. (The good the bad and the ugly, fist full of dollars etc) Or am I remembering that wrong and it was just after the Civil War?

As I kid I wouldn’t have thought so. Westerns were those boring things my grandpa watched on TV. Zorro was like batman but with a horse, black mask (instead of purple) and a cape.

I think of the Zorro movies as kind of Latino-themed Westerns.

It’s a Southwestern.