Kings of the Sun is a 1963 movie directed by J. Lee Thompson set in Mesoamerica at the time of the conquest of Chichen Itza by Hunac Ceel. The story is about Mayan refugees who sail to the Mississippi River Valley and lay the foundation for the Mississippian culture complex. The film stars Yul Brynner (Black Eagle), George Chakiris (Balam), Shirley Anne Field (Ixchel), Richard Basehart (head priest), Barry Morse, Brad Dexter, Armando Silvestre, Victoria Vetri (Ixzubin), and Leo Gordon as Hunac Ceel. It was produced by Lewis J. Rachmil, with a music score by Elmer Bernstein, and released by United Artists.
Balam is the son of the ruler of a Mayan tribe who use wooden swords (with obsidian edges). His father is killed in battle against steel-blade armed rivals led by Hunac Ceel. Balam succeeds to the throne, but is convinced by his advisers, including the head priest, to lead his followers away from the Yucatán, sail to the American Gulf Coast region, so they might regain their strength and fight again another day.
This new land, though, is a province occupied by an Indian tribe led by Black Eagle, and they are none too pleased about these strange, uninvited immigrants. In a small raid to capture one of the Mayans, Black Eagle is wounded and taken captive to the Mayans' fortified settlement. Balam's love interest Ixchel tends to the Indian's wounds and gains an interested suitor, one who is more forthcoming with his love for her. Eventually, the two leaders agree to coexist in peace. However, they quarrel, and the Indians depart, just as Hunac Ceel finds him. His army mounts a furious attack, but is eventually defeated by the united front of Indians and the transplanted Mayans. Black Eagle is killed in the fighting, resolving the love triangle.
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