In 1959, the producer Samuel Bronston, with the encouragement of the Spanish government, opened a studio in Madrid and began to make such classic films as King of Kings, El Cid, and The Fall of the Roman Empire. To shoot his epic battle scenes, Bronston borrowed as many as eight thousand soldiers from the Spanish army.
One day, Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco summoned his war minister: "It has been a long time since I inspected the army," he declared. "Fix a parade." "Sorry, Generalissimo, it cannot be done," the man reluctantly replied. "The army is making a movie for Samuel Bronston."