Spanish Civil War movies

The Spanish Civil War is a good war for movies. Its ideological split between fascists on the one hand and liberals and communists on the other was a warm-up for World War II. It was a global conflict and a trial run for the Cold War, too, in the sense that republicans and leftists from around the world — notably from the United States and the Soviet Union, but from many other parts of the world as well — converged on a country to try and tilt its fortunes their way. Setting a movie in the Spanish Civil War allows storytellers to engage with the fundamental issues of those conflicts without having to address their specific baggage. Also, Spanish architecture and landscapes (perhaps I should say Mediterranean, since many Spanish Civil War movies were filmed in Italy or other similar locales) offer a distinct backdrop from the grayer, grimmer palettes usually seen in WWII and Cold War flicks.

I’ve watched a lot of Spanish Civil War movies, and I thought I’d briefly run through the ones I can remember:

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When I wear cowboy boots, I feel like John Wayne

An oil portrait of John Wayne by Dick Bobnick
An oil portrait of John Wayne by Dick Bobnick

Not that I look anything like John Wayne, mind you. But when I’m wearing my boots (as a good Texan I have two pairs) I feel a little like the Duke on the inside. A little bit more untouchable, a little bit more confident. And I feel a responsibility to live up to the footwear, to do right by them, to make sure I follow his characters’ good-guy ways. Leaving aside the politically-incorrect stuff, of course!