Juan Gallardo (Valentino), a village boy born into poverty, grows up to become one of the greatest matadors in Spain. He marries a friend from his childhood, the beautiful and virtuous Carmen (Lee), but after he achieves fame and fortune he finds himself drawn to Doña Sol (Naldi), a wealthy, seductive widow.
They embark on a torrid affair with rather sadomasochistic overtones, but Juan, feeling guilty over his betrayal of Carmen, tries to free himself of Doña Sol. Furious at being rejected, she exposes their affair to Carmen and Juan's mother, seemingly destroying his marriage. Growing more and more miserable and dissipated, Juan becomes reckless in the arena. He is eventually killed in a bullfight but does manage to reconcile with Carmen moments before he dies.
There is also a subplot involving a local outlaw whose career is paralleled to Juan's throughout the film by the village philosopher: Juan's fatal injury in the bullring comes moments after the outlaw is shot by the police.Rosa Rosanova - Angustias
Leo White - Antonio
Rosita Marstini - Encarnacion
Rudolph Valentino - Juan Gallardo (billed Rodolph Valentino)
Lila Lee - Carmen
Charles Belcher - Don Joselito
Fred Becker - Don Jose
George Field - El Nacional
Jack Winn - Potaje
Harry Lamont - Puntillero
Gilbert Clayton - Garabato
Walter Long - Plumitas
Nita Naldi - Doña Sol
George Periolat - Marquis of Guevera
Sidney De Gray - Dr. Ruiz
Blood and Sand premiered at the Rialto Theater in Los Angeles on August 22, 1922. The film was a box office hit and was one of the top-grossing films of 1922. The film, along with The Sheik and Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (both 1921), helped to establish Valentino as a star and was one of the most successful films of his career. "In my judgement it is the best thing he has done," said Mary Pickford of Valentino's performance, "and one of Mr. Niblo's finest pictures. It is one of the few pictures I have been able to sit through twice and enjoy the second time more than the first."
An earlier version of Blood and Sand was released in 1916, and filmed by Blasco Ibáñez himself, with the help of Max André. This earlier version was restored in 1998 by the Filmoteca de la Generalitat Valenciana (Spain).
Blood and Sand has also been remade twice; a 1941 version was directed by Rouben Mamoulian and stars Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, and Rita Hayworth. The 1989 Spanish remake was directed by Javier Elorrieta and stars Chris Rydell, Sharon Stone, and Ana Torrent.
The film was the source of legendary football player Johnny "Blood" McNally's nickname - he started playing professional under an alias to protect his remaining college eligibility. He and a friend passed a theater where Blood and Sand was playing. Suddenly, McNally exclaimed to his friend, "That's it! You be Sand. I'll be Blood".
Blood and Sand was parodied by Stan Laurel in Mud and Sand (1922). In the film, Laurel portrays a character named Rhubarb Vaselino. Will Rogers also parodied Blood and Sand in the Hal Roach short film Big Moments From Little Pictures (1924).
The film gave its name to a popular Prohibition-era cocktail, the Blood and Sand.