The Brave One (1956 film)

The Brave One is a 1956 drama film directed by Irving Rapper and starring Michel Ray, Rodolfo Hoyos Jr., and Elsa Cárdenas. It tells the story of a Mexican boy who tries to save his beloved bull Gitano from a deadly duel against a champion matador.

The Brave One
DVD cover
Directed byIrving Rapper
Screenplay byHarry S. Franklin
Merrill G. White
Story byDalton Trumbo (credited as Robert Rich)
Based onCorrida de Toros Original Screenplay (170 pages) by Juan Duval; died before film production; uncredited[citation needed]
Produced byFrank King
StarringMichel Ray
Rodolfo Hoyos Jr.
Elsa Cárdenas
Carlos Navarro
Joi Lansing
CinematographyJack Cardiff
Edited byHarry S Franklin and Merrill G. White
Music byVictor Young
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • October 26, 1956 (1956-10-26)[1]
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Brave One was the last film to win the Academy Award for Best Story before the award was discontinued, and was nominated for two other Academy Awards: Best Film Editing and Best Sound Recording, but was not a box office or critical success.


The story is set in Mexico in the 1950s.

During a storm, a cow that has just calved is killed in the pasture. Leonardo, the young son of the cattle herder, takes the animal home, gives him the name "Gitano" and raises him lovingly.

Gitano's mother had been presented to Leonardo's father (Rafael Rosillo) as a gift from his employer (landowner Don Alejandro), in thanks to Rosillo for a great favor he had done for Don Alejandro. But, no written confirmation exists of this gift or of Rosillo's ownership. Leonardo writes to Don Alejandro to ask him for an assurance in writing that Gitano belongs to Leonardo's family.

Don Alejandro, at the time Leonardo writes, is in Europe, taking part in various car races and the letter is slow to reach him. Meanwhile, Don Alejandro's manager has all the young animals branded with Alejandro's brand, including Gitano.

Weeks pass and then to his great joy, Leonardo receives a letter from Don Alejandro with a deed of gift attached.

Years later, when Gitano turns four, Don Alejandro has a fatal accident in a race. Because he is heavily in debt, his entire estate goes under the hammer. This includes Gitano because Leonardo can no longer find the deed of gift and the fact that Gitano is branded with Alejandro's brand speaks against Leonardo's ownership.

Gitano is sold and quickly sent to the bullring in Mexico City. Desperate, Leonardo makes his way to the capital to ask the new owner to release Gitano. His efforts to meet with the manager are unsuccessful. Not knowing what else to do, Leonardo goes to the Mexican president in his palace and describes his suffering. The president is so touched by the confidence the boy has that he gives him a letter endorsing the release of Gitano. When Leonardo arrives back at the arena, it is already too late: Gitano is in the arena, fighting with the famous bullfighter Fermin Rivera.

His face streaked with tears, Leonardo watches the bloody spectacle. The banderilleros have just planted their spears in Gitano's back when the matador enters the arena. The bull knows how to evade every attack of the torero. The fight is of unusual length and Gitano's condition is exceptional. The torero has been thrown on the ground twice, when suddenly the cry arises from the crowd: “Indulto!” (Pardon). More and more spectators take up the call and it swells into a hurricane. The entire stadium is transformed into a sea of spectators with white handkerchiefs who want to give life to the brave bull. Shortly before the matador is set to give the fatal blow to Gitano, the Indulto request is granted by the arena management. The matador bows to the bull and steps down. The audience is then horrified when Leonardo jumps into the ring and runs towards the wild bull. In the closing scene, Gitano recognizes in Leonardo his master and companion. Both leave the arena peacefully.



The story credit was originally given to Robert Rich, a pseudonym used by Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood Ten, who had been jailed for eleven months starting in 1950, then blacklisted for refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. It was actually the name of the nephew of the film's producer Frank King. Initially Rich claimed authorship of the screenplay, though his uncles denied the claim.[2][3][4] The Academy Award was reissued in Trumbo's name in 1975.

The Nassour brothers sued King Brothers for $750,000 claiming that the story was lifted from Emilio and Bull written by Paul Rader, which the Nassour Brothers had shown the Kings in 1951. The claim was settled out of court.[5]

According to Ted Newsom's 1991 documentary, Hollywood Dinosaurs, the film is based on El Toro Estrella, "about a boy, a bull, and a dinosaur", upon which the films The Beast of Hollow Mountain and The Valley of Gwangi are based. It details the screenwriting controversy but notes that The Brave One does not include the dinosaur.



The King Brothers later sued RKO for mismanaging the distribution and sale of the film, claiming $6 million in damages.[7]

Home videoEdit

A restored version was released in 2016 on Blu-ray.

Comic book adaptationEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The Brave One: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved October 2, 2022.
  2. ^ Alexandra Kindell; Elizabeth S. Demers Ph.D. (February 27, 2014). Encyclopedia of Populism in America: A Historical Encyclopedia [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. pp. 347–. ISBN 978-1-59884-568-6.
  3. ^ Time Inc (April 15, 1957). LIFE. Time Inc. pp. 161–. ISSN 0024-3019.
  4. ^ Matthew Bernstein (1999). Controlling Hollywood: Censorship and Regulation in the Studio Era. Rutgers University Press. pp. 215–. ISBN 978-0-8135-2707-9.
  5. ^ "King Bros. Pay Off". Variety. April 10, 1957. p. 11. Retrieved January 9, 2021 – via
  6. ^ "The 29th Academy Awards (1957) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  7. ^ THOMAS M. PRYOR (November 5, 1958). "FILM GROUP FILES SUIT OF $6,030,000: King Brothers Alleges Trust Violations in 3 Releases – Doris Day in Musical". New York Times. p. 43.
  8. ^ "Dell Four Color #773". Grand Comics Database.
  9. ^ Dell Four Color #773 at the Comic Book DB (archived from the original)

External linksEdit