El Topo (1970)
"El topo" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Western  |  15 April 1971 (Mexico)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 16,887 users  
Reviews: 113 user | 120 critic

A mysterious black-clad gunfighter wanders a mystical Western landscape encountering multiple bizarre characters.


(as Alexandro Jodorowsky)


(as Alexandro Jodorowsky)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Brontis Jodorowsky ...
José Legarreta ...
Bandido 1
José Luis Fernández ...
Bandido 2
Alf Junco ...
Bandido 3 (as Alí Junco)
Gerardo Zepeda ...
Bandido 4 (as Gerardo Cepeda)
René Barrera ...
Bandido 5
René Alís ...
Bandido 6
Federico Gonzáles ...
Bandido 7
Vicente Lara ...
Bandido 8
Pablo Leder ...
Monje 1
Giuliano Girini Sasseroli ...
Monje 2
Cristian Merkel ...
Monje 3
Aldo Grumelli ...
Monje 4


El Topo decides to confront warrior Masters on a trans-formative desert journey he begins with his 6 year old son, who must bury his childhood totems to become a man. El Topo (the mole) claims to be God, while dressed as a gunfighter in black, riding a horse through a spiritual, mystical landscape strewn with old Western movie, and ancient Eastern religious symbols. Bandits slaughtered a village on his path, so El Topo avenges the massacred, then forcibly takes their leader's woman Mara as his. El Topo's surreal way is bloody, sexual and self-reflective, musing of his own demons, as he tries to vanquish those he encounters. Written by David Stevens

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Definitive Cult Spaghetti Western


Drama | Western


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 April 1971 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

The Gopher  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Other noteworthy figures said to be fans of the film, besides John Lennon and Yoko Ono, include directors David Lynch and Samuel Fuller, actors Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, and performers Bob Dylan, Marilyn Manson, and Peter Gabriel. It has been claimed that this movie was the beginning of Gabriel's inspiration for the classic Genesis concept album, 'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway'. See more »


[first lines]
El Topo: [to his son] You are seven years old. You are a man. Bury your first toy and your mother's picture.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The closing credits in the English-dubbed version of El Topo state that ABKCO Films copyrighted the film in 1967; however, ABKCO didn't purchase (any rights to) it until June of 1971! See more »


Referenced in Editors: Formaldehyde (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

The Weird Weird West
5 November 2006 | by (the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls) – See all my reviews

So far I had only seen Jodorowsky's "Santa Sangre", but that one happens to be my all-time favorite film! One thing's for sure with this director whenever you check out one of his films for the first time: you should expect the unexpected and prepare yourself for not believing what your own eyes are observing most of the time. Just in case you really have to label "El Topo" with a genre, it would presumably be Western, but that still doesn't give you any idea of the film's content whatsoever. Within the first ten minutes alone, things occur that are already too weird to mention (like grown men shooting at women's shoes and bandits dancing and caressing monks!!) and these sequences aren't relevant to the actual plot yet! Well, I'd love to summarize the main story lines, but the truth is that I didn't understand one iota of it all. The pivot character El Topo, portrayed by the director himself, rides through the desert with a 7-year-old naked kid in tow. He exchanges the kid for a beautiful woman after defeating a gang of thugs and goes on a quest to visit four "masters" of the desert. Subsequently, he joins a community of mountain people and fervently helps them coming out of their dark habitat and into the open world. Yes, it's a very vague description, but that's because I didn't know what was going on anyway. Most likely, you won't either and that's not an insult to your personal intellect! It's just a messed up movie that you mainly just need to watch for its visual brilliance, symbolism and extremely stylish choreography. Every single character that walks through the screen is a demented & complex individual, and the protagonist is the absolute biggest weirdo of them all. He actually claims to be God himself – and really believes it, too – and does the most unpredictable things imaginable. Admittedly, this film isn't suitable for entertainment purposes. It's an intense and demanding experience that you should approach with an open state of mind and loads of patience. Purely elite cinema that can't be compared to anything else ever made.

30 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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