1492 - The Conquest of Paradise

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German title 1492 - The Conquest of Paradise
Original title 1492: Conquest of Paradise
Country of production France , Spain
original language English
Publishing year 1992
length 149 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Ridley Scott
script Roselyne Bosch
production Ridley Scott
Alain Goldman
music Vangelis
camera Adrian Biddle
cut William M. Anderson
Françoise Bonnot
Les Healey
Armen Minasian
Deborah Zeitman

1492 - The Conquest of Paradise (Original title: 1492: Conquest of Paradise ) is a period film by director Ridley Scott from 1992, which was released on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus . Roselyne Bosch wrote the script . The film tells the story of Columbus' discovery of America and its impact on the indigenous people . Although the script is based on historical events, the overwhelming opinion of the critics is that the person of Columbus is portrayed too positively and thus stylized as a hero. The film was not very successful in the cinemas and hardly brought in the production costs. The film music by the composer Vangelis later became very successful .


Upon his arrival in Madrid , Columbus witnessed the execution of alleged heretics by the Inquisition - whom Columbus was critical of as an enlightened and humanistically minded character. Columbus tries to get the support of the Spanish crown for an expedition to find an alternative sea route to India . He can present his plans to a commission at the University of Salamanca . The university's scientists, however, turn out to be narrow-minded and conceited dogmatists who reject his plans for formal reasons. After the rejection, Columbus falls into anger, then into depression, until he receives support from the seaman Pinzón . With the help of a banker, this gives him direct access to Queen Isabella . Columbus and the queen are spontaneously sympathetic to each other and this, as well as the calculating support of Sánchez, the queen's treasurer, enables him to implement his plans. The decisive audience takes place against the background of the conquest of the Moorish Granada in 1492 . The immense demands of Columbus are accepted.

Three ships leave Palos . On departure, Columbus confesses to his confessor , who had supported him all along, that he lied when he calculated the route. He knows that India is much further away; he doesn't know how long the journey will take. On the way, Columbus shows a sailor how to navigate for the stars and thus wins an important ally on the team. Nevertheless, the longer the voyage lasts the more restless the sailors; fear and turmoil spread. Finally, Captain Pinzón notices that the distance already covered is greater than the 750 nautical miles that Columbus first stated . Columbus is able to avert a mutiny , whereby an accidental turn of the wind comes to his aid as a good omen . Soon the first signs of land appear; the ships eventually land on an island. The encounter with the local population is mostly peaceful, because Columbus uses strict discipline to ensure that his sailors behave well towards the Indians. However, there is little gold to be found, which leads to initial disappointment.

In the search for gold, other islands, including Hispaniola , are discovered. When after a while only a little gold was found and several crew members fell ill, Columbus returned to Spain. However, 39 men remain behind to build a fort . The shipwreck of the Santa Maria on December 25, 1492, which first led to the need for the fort because the two small ships could not transport their crew, is not mentioned; instead, three ships are seen sailing back to Spain.

Columbus is celebrated as a hero after his return to Spain and quickly rises in the hierarchy of the nobility . This arouses the envy of influential courtiers. When he refuses to accept the proposal to appoint Judge Francisco de Bobadilla as governor, he loses the support of Sánchez. Columbus returned to the islands in 1493 with 17 ships and around a thousand colonists . There the sailors left behind had been killed by strangers. Columbus prevents the noble Adrian Moxica from taking revenge on the locals. He starts building a colony. He relies on the balance between locals and Spaniards, which he justifies with the goal of a New World . Because he demands hard work from the nobles, he makes enemies of them. Móxica instigates a rebellion that can only be put down after hard fighting. Moxica personally wages the final battle against Columbus with his side sword and commits with the words: You are nothing, Señor Columbus! Suicide, Columbus has his surviving co-conspirators executed.

A distorted report by a returned monk leads to the recall of Columbus in 1500 . The Bobadilla, previously rejected by Columbus, is brought back to Spain as the new viceroy and Columbus in chains. He now has to witness how Amerigo Vespucci is celebrated as the discoverer of the new world in his place . Through the intercession of his sons, he can obtain an audience with the queen. He receives approval for one last trip to the new world. The film ends with the words of his son Fernando , who sets out to write down the story of his father in order to restore his father's honor.


In her script, Bosch tried to unite opposing positions to Columbus. On the one hand, it portrayed him as a heroic personality. On the other, it shows the decline of indigenous society. Instead, Columbus is shown in the film without any connection to the negative aspects of colonization. This role is instead attributed to his antagonist Móxica. The scenes of the first encounters with the indigenous population together with voice-over narration from Columbus' logbook show a certain innocence of the discoverer in dealing with the locals. A special feature of the film is the appearance of indigenous people who communicate in their own language. The contrast constructed in the film between a modern Columbus and a Spain caught up in medieval ideas contradicted the state of research. He is staged in particularly impressive images, especially at the beginning of the film with the burning of heretics and the explanation of the spherical shape of the earth for his son when he peeled an orange.

The cost of production was estimated at $ 47 million. The film grossed around $ 7 million in cinemas worldwide.


Roger Ebert wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times that Columbus is shown more humanly in the film and endowed with a more complex personality than in other film biographies. He praised the portrayal of Gérard Depardieu and the direction by Ridley Scott, who primarily ensure “breathtaking” images. Ebert questioned the historical correctness of the representation of the figure of Columbus, but added that the historical characters should possibly be reinterpreted from a current perspective.

The lexicon of international film speaks of a "naive film adaptation" that "makes no claim to historical reality" and that stylizes the protagonists as "tragically failing heroes". The film is rated as a “disappointing historical painting” that was “staged at length”. Der Spiegel calls the film “decidedly more impressive” than the Christopher Columbus - The Explorer , released two months earlier, and rates it as “overall a respectable piece of joy”. According to Cinema , the film is "a great frenzy of images with a critical approach". The Heyne Film Lexicon found in 1996 that Scott had designed “a lavish and powerful image of Columbus as a tragic loser”. "Ideologically rather questionable, the film repeatedly touches the border with heroic kitsch."

The German Film and Media Assessment FBW in Wiesbaden awarded the film the rating "valuable".


The German dubbed version was made at Interopa Film in Berlin.

role actor Voice actor
Christoph Columbus Gérard Depardieu Manfred Lehmann
Queen Isabella Sigourney Weaver Hallgard Bruckhaus
Gabriel Sánchez Armand Assante Christian Brückner
Fernando Columbus Loren Dean Frank Schaff
Beatrice Enríquez de Arana Ángela Molina Cornelia Meinhardt
Antonio de Marchena Fernando Rey Friedrich W. Building School
Adrián de Móxica Michael Wincott Oliver Stritzel
Martín Alonso Pinzón Tchéky Karyo Rüdiger Joswig
Captain Méndez Kevin Dunn Klaus Sunshine
Luis de Santángel Frank Langella Wolf Rüdiger Reutermann
Francisco de Bobadilla Mark Margolis Lothar Blumhagen
Arojaz Kario Salem Reinhard Kuhnert
Fernando as a child Billy L. Sullivan Timm new
Hernando de Guevara Arnold Vosloo FGM Stegers
Bartolomeo Columbus Steven Waddington Detlef Bierstedt
Giacomo Columbus Fernando Guillén Cuervo Uwe Büschken
Alonso José Luis Ferrer Hans-Jürgen Wolf
Diego Columbus Juan Diego Botto Charles Rettinghaus


  • Annerose Menninger: Period films as mediators of history. Columbus and America in the popular feature film . Kohlhammer , 1st edition, Stuttgart 2010, ISBN 978-3-17-021667-9 .
  • Deanne Schultz: Filmography of World History . Greenwood Press, Westport CT 2007, ISBN 0-313-32681-9 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Deanne Schultz: Filmography of World History . Greenwood Press, Westport CT 2007, ISBN 0-313-32681-9 , p. 2.
  2. ^ Deanne Schultz: Filmography of World History . Greenwood Press, Westport CT 2007, ISBN 0-313-32681-9 , p. 3.
  3. 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992) - Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 28, 2019 .
  4. Roger Ebert: 1492: Conquest of Paradise . In: Chicago Sun-Times , October 9, 1992.
  5. 1492 - The Conquest of Paradise. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  6. ^ Columbus for the second . In: Der Spiegel , No. 42, October 12, 1992, pp. 313-316.
  7. See cinema.de
  8. ^ Heyne Film Lexicon . Heyne Verlag , 1996.
  9. 1492 - The Conquest of Paradise. In: synchronkartei.de. German dubbing file , accessed on August 3, 2018 .