El Cid: La Leyenda (El Cid: The Legend) is a 2003 Spanish animated movie written and directed by José Pozo and produced by Jade Animationnote .
It is a lightened up version of the life of Don Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar (aka El Cid), or rather, of the 1961 movie with Charlton Heston, which itself is a very loose adaptation in its own right. Rodrigo is a brash and young knight from Castile with a promising future who becomes entangled in a conspiracy with his enemies that see him exiled from his home. However, a cruel conqueror who desires to subjugate both Christians and Moors, will crush anyone who stands in his path. In order to return to his home and to the arms of his beloved Jimena, Rodrigo needs to rally both factions to unite and stand together against this tyrant.
See also the 2020 Spanish live-action series.
This movie contain examples of the following tropes:
- Action Girl: While Jimena isn't trained in combat, she qualifies for this trope. She breaks out of Yusuf's harem on her own, breaks free from his grasp when he tries to use her as Human Shield against Rodrigo and saves her beloved at the end by throwing back his sword allowing him to finish off Yusuf. The ending makes it more poignant when she steps down from Rodrigo's horse and rides her own, walking together with him.
- Animal Motifs: Yusuf is associated with snakes.
- Arranged Marriage: Count Gormaz sets one between his daughter Jimena and Garcia Ordonez, and hates Rodrigo with passion for getting in the way by falling in love with her.
- Artistic License – History: Several examples.
- In the movie, Rodrigo is exiled as an young man immediately after Afonso had swore before multiple holy relics that he wasn't involved in Sancho's death. In real life, he was exiled in his late thirties over different circumstances and had previously served Afonso faithfully.
- Rodrigo and Yusuf never personally met in real life, with the former warring mostly against the latter's nephew.
- García Ordonez was Rodrigo's bitter rival in real life, but he never sought Jimena's hand.
- Jimena was never forced to serve in any harem.
- Award-Bait Song: "La Fuerza Del Corazon" by Luis Fonzi, who also performs an English version "The Power Of A Broken Heart".
- Belly Dancer: Some are seen performing for Yusuf. Even Jimena joins in as well in her ploy to distract Yusuf to allow for her escape.
- The Cavalry: King Afonso besieges Yusuf's fortress and save the heroes who are surrounded at the end.
- Cool Sword: El Cid's iconic Real Life sword, the Tizona.
- Dark Is Evil: Yusuf and his forces are dressed in all-black (though some of his allies wear white) in contrast to the heroic Muslims who wear red.
- Dating What Daddy Hates: Count Gormaz cannot hide his contempt for Jimena's relationship with Rodrigo.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Jimena's father dies in her arms after being fatally wounded by Rodrigo.
- Disneyfication: This is a historical movie toned down for family-friendly audiences and it even includes animal sidekicks. With that said however, it can be brutal at times with stabbings, offscreen mutilations and sexual enslavement.
- Establishing Character Moment: In case you weren't sure Ben Yusuf was the Big Bad when the opening narration shows him in a campaign to conquer the land and punishing any Muslims who refuse to fight for him, he witness an very old slave who cannot labor anymore because his hands are tired. He lets the old man go, but order his men to chop off his hands, saying that he is free to go, but his hands will stay. Yikes.
- The Exile: Rodrigo is exiled when he refuses to acknowledge Afonso as king, due to Urraca conspiring to have his best friend (and rightful heir) Sancho killed.
- Expy: Ben Yusuf bears some physical semblance to Jafar, barring the scarred left eye and also just like Jafar, he pulls Go-Go Enslavement on the heroine.
- The little badger Ruidoso's behavior would remind viewers of Meeko.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Rodrigo and Al-Mutamin are hostile to each other initially, but after having to work together against a common enemy, they become
- The Fundamentalist: Yusuf naturally. He wants to conquer the Iberian penisula and forcibly covert it to Islam, and he will kill even tolerant and moderate Muslims who aren't interested in fighting for him.
- Historical Hero Upgrade: El Cid is re-imagined as a romantic knight who fights to restore his honor and sets out to unite both Muslims and Christians against Yusuf, when the historical one fought for both sides for his own interests (which included sacking Christian settlements for Moors, while was still being a Christian himself). Also, while he is popularly believed to have murdered Jimena's father in a duel in revenge for insulting his own father (though this certainly never happened in real life and is considered to be a late invention to spice up his legend), this movie's Cid accidentally kills him in self-defense after he tried to kill him so he wouldn't interfere with her Arranged Marriage with Count Ordonez.
- Historical Villain Downgrade: Count Ordonez. While he wasn't really that bad in real life, he was El Cid's bitter enemy who frequently warred with him during his exile days. Here, he is merely turned into a Romantic False Lead for Jimena.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: Ben Yusuf is portrayed in such over-the-top villain with many gratuitous Kick the Dog moments, in contrast to his alleged reputation as a noble and honorable man. He also does things that never happened in real life such as abducting Jimena and making her his concubine.
- Light Is Not Good: Some of Yusuf's alliees are dressed in white and are also the bad guys.
- Ms. Fanservice: Jimena, as an slave girl.
- Narrator All Along: The movie opens and closes with a narration by an much older Alfonso, who remembered the lesson of honor.
- Noble Fugitive: Al-Mutamin, the Prince of Zaragoza, was forced to flee his home after Yusuf conquered it. Rodrigo himself counts after his exile, as he a knight and a nobleman himself.
- Obviously Evil: Both Urraca and Yusuf have completely sinister and unsubtle appearances, dressing in all-black with Urraca having unnaturally pale skin and Yusuf's scarred face.
- The Rival: Count Garcia Ordonez to Rodrigo.
- Show Some Leg: Jimena manages to escape Yusuf when she dances for him and offers some wine, only to whack him in the head with the jar and knocking him out.
- True Companions: Though the king has only Rodrigo exiled, his friends follow him regardless declaring he might as well exiled them.
- We Named the Monkey "Jack": Rodrigo initially named his horse after his girlfriend Jimena, which pisses her off when she discover this. She is renamed later Babieca (the name she actually had in Real Life).