1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)

PG-13 | 153 mins | Drama, Adventure | 9 October 1992

Full page view
HISTORY

The film begins with the following title scroll: “500 years ago, Spain was a nation gripped by fear and superstition, ruled by the crown and a ruthless inquisition that persecuted men for daring to dream. One man challenged this power. Driven by his sense of destiny, he crossed the sea of darkness in search of honor, gold, and the greater glory of God.”
       The film ends with the following title scroll: “In 1502, Columbus sailed with Fernando on his last voyage to the New World. They landed in Panama where the Indians revealed to them the existence of a new sea—the Pacific Ocean. The biography that Fernando wrote about his Father restored the name of Columbus to its place in history. In 1992, his descendant Christopher Columbus is an Admiral in the Royal Spanish Navy. “Life has more imagination than we carry in our dreams …”
       Production notes in AMPAS library files indicate that French journalist Roselyne Bosch began work on a screenplay about Christopher Columbus sometime in the late 1980s, after conducting archival research in Seville, Spain, for a 1987 magazine article on the upcoming 500-year anniversary of the navigator’s discoveries. She was able to interest French producer, Alain Goldman, in her script, and together, they approached director Ridley Scott about making a feature film. Whether or not Goldman and Bosch knew that Scott had considered directing another Christopher Columbus picture for producers Ilya and Alexander Salkind could not be determined. Although numerous contemporary sources described Roselyn Bosch’s script as extensively researched and historically informed, a 10 Dec 1991 HR article noted that the film “makes no claim to being completely historically correct.”
       On ... More Less

The film begins with the following title scroll: “500 years ago, Spain was a nation gripped by fear and superstition, ruled by the crown and a ruthless inquisition that persecuted men for daring to dream. One man challenged this power. Driven by his sense of destiny, he crossed the sea of darkness in search of honor, gold, and the greater glory of God.”
       The film ends with the following title scroll: “In 1502, Columbus sailed with Fernando on his last voyage to the New World. They landed in Panama where the Indians revealed to them the existence of a new sea—the Pacific Ocean. The biography that Fernando wrote about his Father restored the name of Columbus to its place in history. In 1992, his descendant Christopher Columbus is an Admiral in the Royal Spanish Navy. “Life has more imagination than we carry in our dreams …”
       Production notes in AMPAS library files indicate that French journalist Roselyne Bosch began work on a screenplay about Christopher Columbus sometime in the late 1980s, after conducting archival research in Seville, Spain, for a 1987 magazine article on the upcoming 500-year anniversary of the navigator’s discoveries. She was able to interest French producer, Alain Goldman, in her script, and together, they approached director Ridley Scott about making a feature film. Whether or not Goldman and Bosch knew that Scott had considered directing another Christopher Columbus picture for producers Ilya and Alexander Salkind could not be determined. Although numerous contemporary sources described Roselyn Bosch’s script as extensively researched and historically informed, a 10 Dec 1991 HR article noted that the film “makes no claim to being completely historically correct.”
       On 7 Nov 1990, DV ran a two-page advertisement announcing, “Due West Productions is proud to present Christopher Columbus directed by Ridley Scott.” Two days later, an article appeared in DV indicating Ilya Salkind’s surprise at seeing the ad. He noted that he had already registered several “Christopher Columbus” titles with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). On 15 Nov 1990, the LAT reported that Salkind had filed a lawsuit against Scott, alleging that the director “stole” ideas from his project. $40 million in damages were sought, in addition to a ruling barring Scott from proceeding with the Goldman-backed film. Throughout Nov 1990, various contemporary sources pointed out that the scripts for the two projects were rumored to be quite different: Scott’s “biopic” would survey twenty-three years of Columbus’s life, while Salkind’s “adventure-epic” would focus on the singular event of discovering the Americas in 1492. Six months after filing the lawsuit against Scott, Salkind decided to abandon it, as noted in a 13 May 1991 DV article. Goldman and Salkind acknowledged that releasing two films on the same subject at approximately the same time could split audiences and box office returns, but with both “Columbus” pictures angling for a release date to coincide with the 500-year anniversary, the conflict seemed unavoidable.
       Undeterred by the lawsuit, Ridley Scott and Alain Goldman spent the fall of 1990 and spring of 1991 securing financing for their $40 million film. With the help of distributor Odyssey Films, major funds were acquired through pre-sales to countries throughout Europe. Reports from Cannes, France, in May 1991 indicated that both Columbus projects were seeking help from the Spanish government. According to a 23 May 1991 DV article, the Spanish press felt that the government should extend support to only one film. However, a 28 Jun 1991 Screen International news item revealed that the “Quinto Centenario,” a Spanish organization in charge of various 500-year anniversary celebrations, had decided to back both pictures. Ultimately, Scott received $2 million from the Spanish government. The balance of financing came from other European entities, as well as $9 million from U.S. distributor Paramount Pictures.
       The DV report from Cannes indicated that actor Sean Connery was in negotiations to play a “supporting role” in Ridley Scott’s film. However, he does not appear in the picture. A few months prior to the start of principal photography, the title of Scott’s project changed to, simply, Columbus, as indicated by both a 6 Aug 1991 HR production chart and 2 Sep 1991 Var news brief. However, it remained to be seen whether or not Scott would be allowed to use any title bearing the navigator’s name.
       Principal photography began 2 Dec 1991 in Cáceres, Spain, even though the role of Queen Isabella I, “Queen Isabel,” had not yet been cast. Various contemporary sources, including 2 and 13 Jan 1992 People magazine articles, reported that the role was initially offered to Swedish actress Lena Olin, but that she was committed to another film and had to decline. American actresses Glenn Close and Kathleen Turner were also considered, according to a 2 Dec 1991 Var article. When Glenn Close declined the role, People reported that Anjelica Huston was likely to play the Queen. However, Huston “backed out” and the part went to Sigourney Weaver.
       In Dec 1991 and Jan 1992, various HR articles tracked the film on location. Eight weeks were spent in Spain, with scenes shot in Trujillo, Salamanca, Seville, and Cáceres. Production notes list some of the “world-famous monuments” in which filmmakers were allowed to shoot, including the Old Cathedral and Convent of San Estaban in Salamanca, and the Alcazar and Casa de Pilatos in Seville. At the beginning of Feb 1992, cast and crew relocated to Jaco, Costa Rica, for another eight weeks of filming. There, ten major sets were built, including three separate Indian villages, the gold mine, and Columbus’s “City of Isabel.” Nearly two hundred indigenous people of Costa Rica were enlisted to appear in the film. Six Columbian Waunana Indians, all of whom had worked on the 1986 picture, The Mission, played principal roles as tribesmen, though Bercelio Moya, as “Utapan,” is the only one credited as a cast member. Production notes indicate that Moya’s father, Alejandrino, played “Chief Guarionex,” while his grandfather, Florin, played “the tribe’s Shaman.”
       In the many months leading up to production, various news articles and production charts listed Chris Kenny as line producer. However, he is not included in an 11 Feb 1992 HR production chart, which indicated that Patrick Clayton had been brought on as unit production manager of the “Untitled Ridley Scott” project. Clayton is credited as “production supervisor” in end credits. A 15 Mar 1992 article in the NYT confirmed that the picture’s title had been changed to 1492 to “avoid confusion and a lawsuit.” Although production notes describe the film as “an independent production of $45 million,” a compilation of figures cited by various contemporary sources places the cost closer to $50 million, if not more.
       A 26 Jun 1992 Screen International article announced that 1492 would premiere in the U.S. on 9 Oct 1992. The decision to release the film in the U.S., two days before a scheduled “European Premiere” at Seville’s Expo ’92, was considered a “snub” to Spain. Less than a month before the film’s domestic release, a 15 Sep 1992 DV news item reported that Paramount had been forced to edit 1492: Conquest of Paradise in order to achieve a PG-13 rating from the MPAA.
       Although the film’s technical contributions were uniformly assessed as “first rate,” critical reception was fairly negative. A 7 Oct 1992 HR review faulted Roselyne Bosch’s debut screenplay as “tired, talky, and … Manichean.” Other critics concurred, noting superficial character relationships and wooden dialogue. Additionally, Gérard Depardieu’s thick French accent rendered many lines incomprehensible. On 2 Nov 1992, the LAT published a rebuttal to critic Kenneth Turan’s 9 Oct 1992 review. Ian Botwater, an executive from Odyssey Films, stated that Bosch’s script had been “polished” by an anonymous writer, and that the film’s weaknesses had more to do with how the film was edited than with the writing style. He noted that “twenty percent” of Bosch’s epic story ended up on the cutting room floor.
       End credits indicate that the film was: “Photographed on location in Spain and Costa Rica.”
       End credits include the following acknowledgments: “The producers wish to express their special thanks to: Nicolas Seydoux and Patrice Ledoux; John Ptak; Nigel Sinclair”; “The producers also gratefully acknowledge the significant contribution made by the following: Claude Abeille; Pierre-Françoise Racine (Sodete); Dirk Jan Van Swaay (N.M.B. Bank); Will Tyrer; Chris Ball; Joan Stigliano; Kathy Goodman; Patrick Wachsberger; Mark Wyman; Michael Yanover; David Norris; Frank Bloom; Jacques Bidou”; and, “The producers also gratefully acknowledge the significant help in Spain and Costa Rica by the following: Universidad de Salamanca; Catedrales de Cáceres y Salamanca; Monasterio San Esteban de Salamanca; Ayuntamientos de Cáceres, Salamanca, Segovia y Trujuillo; Los ciudadanos de Cáceres, Trujillo y Salamanca; Ministerio de Cultura, Juventud y Deportes; Ministerio de Seguridad Publica y Gobernacion; Casa Presidencial-atd; Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad; Direccion General de Aduanas; Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguridad Social; Direccion General de Migracion; Municipalidad de Garabito.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
7 Nov 1990.
---
Daily Variety
9 Nov 1990.
---
Daily Variety
13 May 1991.
---
Daily Variety
23 May 1991
p. 15.
Daily Variety
24 Jan 1992.
---
Daily Variety
15 Sep 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 May 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 May 1991
p. 4, 50.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Aug 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Aug 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Sep 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Oct 1991
p. 1, 8.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Oct 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Dec 1991
p. I-1, I-8.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jan 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Feb 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Apr 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jul 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Oct 1992
p. 5, 14.
Los Angeles Times
15 Nov 1990.
---
Los Angeles Times
15 May 1991
Section F, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
3 May 1992
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
9 Oct 1992
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
2 Nov 1992
Section F, p. 3.
New York Times
15 Mar 1992
Section A, p. 17.
New York Times
9 Oct 1992
p. 21.
New Yorker
19 Oct 1992.
---
People
2 Dec 1991.
---
People
13 Jan 1992.
---
Screen International
28 Jun 1991.
---
Screen International
26 Jun 1992.
---
Variety
19 Nov 1990.
---
Variety
22 Apr 1991
p. 3, 9.
Variety
2 Sep 1991.
---
Variety
2 Dec 1991.
---
Variety
13 Apr 1992.
---
Variety
12 Oct 1992
p. 185.
Village View
9-15 Oct 1992.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Percy Main/Legende/Cyrk Production
In association with Odyssey Distributors, Ltd.
A Ridley Scott film
A British - French - Spanish co-production film
A Due West - Legende - Cyrk Production with support of the French and Spanish Ministries of Culture
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d unit dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
1st asst dir, 2d unit
3d asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Co-prod
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam op
Stills photog
Focus puller
Focus puller
Clapper loader
Clapper loader
Cam grip
Cam grip
Cam tech
Video op
Cam trainee
Cam attachment observer
Gaffer
Best boy
Gaffer - Spain
Best boy - Spain
Rigging gaffer
Generator op
Generator op
Practical elec
Practical elec
Cam op, 2d unit
Focus puller, 2d unit
Clapper/Loader, 2d unit
Cam grip, 2d unit
Lighting equip by
Lighting equip by
Lighting equip by
Stills processing
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Supv art dir
Supv art dir
Art dir
Art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Storyboard artist
Art dept asst
Art dept asst
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
Film ed
Post prod mgr
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutter
Post prod coord
Post prod facilities
Post prod facilities
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Construction mgr
Construction mgr
Prop master
Prop master
Draughtsman
Draughtsman
Draughtsman
Draughtsman
Sculptor
Decor artist
Decor artist/Prop maker
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Prod buyer
Prod buyer
Prop storeman
Standby prop
Standby prop
Standby prop
Dressing propman
Dressing propman
Dressing propman
Dressing propman/Standby prop
Dressing propman
Dressing propman
Dressing propman
Dressing propman
Dressing propman
Dressing propman
Dressing propman
Prop tech
Armourer
Master drapes
Master drapes
Standby nautical rigger
Standby grip
Standby painter
Standby carpenter
Standby carpenter
H.O.D. carpenter
H.O.D. carpenter
H.O.D. plasterer
H.O.D. plasterer
H.O.D. painter
H.O.D. rigger
Chargehand carpenter - Spain
Chargehand painter
Chargehand plasterer
Chargehand carpenter - Costa Rica
Chargehand carpenter - Costa Rica
Chargehand carpenter - Costa Rica
Chargehand carpenter - Costa Rica
Asst prod buyer
Asst prod buyer
Asst prop buyer
Standby propman, 2d unit
Greensman
Greensman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost des
Asst cost des
Supv ward master
Ward master
Ward master
Ward asst
[Ward] Asst to Mr Depardieu
Dressmaker
Dressmaker
Cost asst
Cost asst
Cost asst
Cost asst
Cost asst
Cost asst
Cost asst
Cost asst
Costume house
Costume house
Costume house
Costume house
Costume house
Costume house
MUSIC
Mus
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Vangelis recordings courtesy of
Mus and songs from "Amazonia" by permission of
SOUND
Sd mixer
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice ed
Re-rec mixer
Asst re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Chief spec eff - Spain
Spec eff floor supv
Senior spec eff tech
Senior spec eff tech
Senior spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Sepc eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff asst
Opticals by
Opticals by
MAKEUP
Chief hairdresser
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
Chief makeup
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Asst makeup artist
Makeup artist to Miss Weaver
Hairdresser, 2d unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Prod supv
Unit mgr
Financial controller
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Unit pub
Crowd eff coord
Prod coord
Prod coord
Prod coord
Asst coord
Prod secy
Prod secy
Exec asst to Mr Scott
Asst to Mrs Sotela
Asst to Mr Goldman
Asst to Mr Smith
London contact
Prod accountant
Loc accountant
Loc accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Accounts asst
Accounts secy
Accounts secy
Accounts secy
Ward vehicle driver
European casting dir
Asst casting dir
Casting dir
Costa Rican Indians casting/Indian liaison
Crowd casting - Spain
Crowd casting asst
Crowd casting asst
Crowd casting asst
Crowd casting asst
Crowd casting asst
Dial coach to Mr Depardieu
Dial coach Spain
Public relations
Pub asst
Historical advisor - Spain
Historical advisor - Spain
Physiotherapist
Prod runner/prod asst
Prod runner/prod asst
Prod runner/prod asst
Prod runner/prod asst
Prod runner/prod asst
Prod runner/prod asst
Prod runner/prod asst
Prod runner/prod asst
Scr supv, 2d unit
Asst to Mr Johnson, 2d unit
Unit doctor
Unit doctor
Unit doctor
Unit doctor
Unit nurse
Unit nurse
Unit nurse
Unit nurse
"Santa Maria" and "Pinta" supplied by
"Nina" supplied by
Ship's captain "Santa Maria"
Ship's captain "Pinta"
Ship's captain "Nina"
Cam boat/Support boat
Chef
Asst chef
Caterer
Catering mgr
Caterer
Caterer
Caterer
Asst to catering dept
Asst to catering dept
Transport capt
Transport capt
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Standby vehicle driver
Standby vehicle driver
Standby vehicle driver
Standby vehicle driver
Standby vehicle driver
Standby vehicle driver
Standby vehicle driver
Facilities driver
Facilities driver
Facilities driver
Facilities driver
Facilities driver
Facilities driver
Facilities driver
Facilities driver
Facilities driver
Facilities driver
Facilities driver
Facilities driver
Facilities driver
Facilities driver
Facilities driver
Facilities driver
Animal consultant
Wrangler
Wrangler
Animal handler
Animal handler
Animal handler
Animal handler
Snake adviser/Handler
Security supv
Security supv
San Jose courier
Interpreter/Asst
Interpreter/Asst
Interpreter/Asst
Interpreter/Asst
Interpreter/Asst
Interpreter/Asst
Interpreter/Asst
Interpreter/Asst
Interpreter/Asst
Interpreter/Asst
Interpreter/Asst
Interpreter/Asst
Prod exec, Costa Rican prod services
Prod assoc, Costa Rican prod services
Prod asst, Costa Rican prod services
Freight agent
Freight agent
Travel agent
Guns and weapons by
Transport
Post prod management
Completion guaranty supplied by
Legal services
Legal services
Legal services
Financial advisor
International distribution by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Asst stunt coord
Swordmaster
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col and prints by
Contact, Rank Film Laboratories
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Fever Ride," composed and performed by Richard Horowitz, courtesy of Virgin Records, Ltd
"Una Caza Chica," from the album "Romances," performed by Esthor Lamandier, disques Alienor -- distribution Harmonia Mundi.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
1492
Christopher Columbus
Columbus
Release Date:
9 October 1992
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 9 October 1992
Production Date:
2 December 1991--end March 1992 in Spain and Costa Rica
Copyright Claimant:
Touchstone Corporation, N.V.
Copyright Date:
26 October 1992
Copyright Number:
PA593492
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo® Spectral Recording in selected theatres
Color
Originated on Eastman colour film from Kodak
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® cameras and lenses
Duration(in mins):
153
Length(in feet):
13,992
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Countries:
United Kingdom, France, Spain, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
32048
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On the coast of southwestern Spain in 1491, navigator Christopher Columbus and his ten-year-old son, Fernando, watch a ship disappear over the horizon. The boy grows anxious, but Columbus holds out an orange, indicating that the world, like the fruit, is round. Later, they visit Columbus’s other son, Diego, at a Trappist monastery. While there, Columbus rehearses what he intends to say to commissioners at the University of Salamanca, who have yet to decide whether or not they will fund his journey west into uncharted waters. Father Marchena cautions Columbus about speaking with too much passion, lest the tone offend the devout committee. A week later, Columbus and the commissioners argue about his measurement of the Earth’s circumference, as well as his estimate of how long the proposed journey will take. Gabriel Sanchez, the King’s treasurer, is intrigued when Columbus claims that Spain could become an empire via a direct trade route to Asia, and later attempts to persuade the commissioners to fund the trip. Viewing Columbus as a heretic, they deny his request. Columbus takes a vow of silence at the Trappist monastery, until Martin Alonzo Pinzon, a ship owner, and Luis de Santangel, a banker, locate him and offer help. The three men ride to Granada, arriving on 2 January 1492. Columbus meets with Queen Isabel and pleads with her to reconsider his proposition. Although treasurer Sanchez finds Columbus’s demands extravagant, the Queen agrees to back the voyage. Seven months later, on the eve of his departure from the Port of Palos, Columbus makes a confession to Father Marchena, indicating that the journey will be much longer than he has let on. After receiving absolution, Columbus bids ... +


On the coast of southwestern Spain in 1491, navigator Christopher Columbus and his ten-year-old son, Fernando, watch a ship disappear over the horizon. The boy grows anxious, but Columbus holds out an orange, indicating that the world, like the fruit, is round. Later, they visit Columbus’s other son, Diego, at a Trappist monastery. While there, Columbus rehearses what he intends to say to commissioners at the University of Salamanca, who have yet to decide whether or not they will fund his journey west into uncharted waters. Father Marchena cautions Columbus about speaking with too much passion, lest the tone offend the devout committee. A week later, Columbus and the commissioners argue about his measurement of the Earth’s circumference, as well as his estimate of how long the proposed journey will take. Gabriel Sanchez, the King’s treasurer, is intrigued when Columbus claims that Spain could become an empire via a direct trade route to Asia, and later attempts to persuade the commissioners to fund the trip. Viewing Columbus as a heretic, they deny his request. Columbus takes a vow of silence at the Trappist monastery, until Martin Alonzo Pinzon, a ship owner, and Luis de Santangel, a banker, locate him and offer help. The three men ride to Granada, arriving on 2 January 1492. Columbus meets with Queen Isabel and pleads with her to reconsider his proposition. Although treasurer Sanchez finds Columbus’s demands extravagant, the Queen agrees to back the voyage. Seven months later, on the eve of his departure from the Port of Palos, Columbus makes a confession to Father Marchena, indicating that the journey will be much longer than he has let on. After receiving absolution, Columbus bids farewell to his family and sets sail on the Santa Maria, flanked by two additional ships, the Niña and the Pinta. En route, Captain Mendez expresses concern about their course of direction, prompting Columbus to teach him to use a “quadrant” to determine latitude in relation to the stars. After nine weeks at sea, the crew becomes restless, and Pinzon, captain of the Pinta, warns of impending mutiny. Although Columbus rouses the men to continue, days pass without sight of land. However, after swatting a mosquito, he realizes land must be near, and on 12 October 1492, a thick fog breaks, revealing a lush forest. Columbus christens the place “San Salvador,” before leading the men into a forest filled with exotic birds and colorful snakes. Walking down a streambed, they encounter a tribe of natives and allow themselves to be escorted to a nearby village. When the village chief laughs at the disheveled sailors, the natives lower their bows and arrows and welcome the men into their community. Columbus documents the tribe in his journal, optimistically predicting a harmonious comingling of cultures. He notices the gold amulets worn by a native named Utapan, and asks where to find the precious metal. The natives take the explorers deep into the forest during a rainstorm, but the trip yields no gold. For several months, Columbus surveys the area by ship, realizing that each landmass is an island. Although the chieftains of various native tribes present him with gold trinkets, he remains disappointed at not discovering an abundance of the valuable element. When Pinzon becomes sick, Columbus decides to return to Spain, where he is given a hero’s welcome and granted a seat at the Spanish court. He recounts tales of his travels, and tries to interest the Spaniards in the anthropology of the native people, but treasurer Sanchez dismisses the cultural small talk and asks about gold. Sometime later, in anticipation of Columbus’s second expedition, Sanchez introduces Francisco de Bobadilla, who expresses interest in governing one of the New World islands. However, Columbus evades negotiating with the unscrupulous man, and later seeks out his brothers, Bartolome and Giacomo, appointing each a general of the West Indies. Columbus’s siblings have no interest in exploration, and are irritated at his display of nepotism. Columbus argues that more than a thousand men have volunteered to go west, and his brothers should be honored to join him. In November 1493, Columbus lands on one of his “discovered” islands, shocked to find the crewmembers he left behind slaughtered. Spanish nobleman, Adrian de Moxica, declares revenge, but Columbus gives the natives an opportunity to explain. They claim that warriors came from the sea and killed the Spaniards while they hid in the hills. Moxica scoffs in disbelief, but Columbus accepts the story as truth. During the next four years, Columbus and his men enlist the help of the natives to build a cathedral, plant new farm crops, and mine for gold. One day at the mine, an empty-handed native declares he could not find any gold. Overseeing operations, Moxica cuts off the native’s hand, calling him a thief. After the incident, the tribes join forces against the Europeans and retaliate by mutilating dozens of Columbus’s men. War breaks out, and in the chaos, a man loyal to Moxica frees the instigator from detention, where he had been banished by Columbus. Moxica sets fire to Columbus’s elegant home, before fleeing into the forest with a group of armed rebels. Columbus tracks down his adversary, but Moxica throws himself over a cliff rather than fight. After the great conflict, a violent tropical storm destroys Isabel, the small city Columbus worked so hard to build. Back in Spain, the Queen hears about the disastrous events and sends Francisco de Bobadilla to replace Columbus as governor of the island. Bobadilla arrives on 15 September 1500, and Columbus, accepting defeat, declares his intention to search for the mainland. However, he learns that Amerigo Vespucci has already discovered a continent just north of the islands. Columbus is shipped back to Spain and imprisoned for a brief time. When his sons, Diego and Fernando, free him, he procures a meeting with Queen Isabel and asks to take another expedition to the New World. She gives him her blessing on condition that he not return to any of the established colonies. Before departing, Columbus attends a public forum about the discovery of the New World. One of the commissioners from the University of Salamanca takes credit for encouraging exploration, and acknowledges Amerigo Vespucci as the first to discover land in the west. Columbus holds back tears. Sometime later, Columbus and Fernando watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. Fernando picks up a quill pen and asks his father to recount his life story. Columbus closes his eyes, remembering. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.