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El Topo (1970)

El topo (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Western | 15 April 1971 (Mexico)
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:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


After decades of speculation, a sequel to the film, titled "The Sons of El Topo", was finally released in 2016, not as a film, but as a graphic novel, published in France by Glenat BD. 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 Who Killed Mary Whats'ername? (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

Easily one of the strangest movies ever made!
24 January 2002 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

I have seen three movies by Alejandro Jodorowsky - 'El Topo', 'The Holy Mountain' and 'Santa Sangre' - each are amazing, but 'El Topo' to me is the most successful. I was almost going to say "most accessible" but that would be misleading! It's still a difficult movie, steeped in religious and occult symbolism and allegory. I doubt whether anyone but Jodorowsky himself truly "gets it", but it is still the most watchable and entertaining of the three, and the best introduction to his work.

Jodorowsky not only writes and directs he plays the title role (translates as "The Mole"), a mysterious black-clad gunfighter who claims to be God. I won't bore with a detailed retelling of the plot, but it initially involves El Topo's quest to find and fight the four masters of the desert, and ends up with him becoming part of strange community of outcasts who live underground. But there's much more to than that, just watch it for yourself.

'El Topo' was a cult favourite thirty years ago, and still stands as one of the most extraordinary movies ever made. Nobody but Jodorowsky has even come close to repeating it. Currently difficult to find, but persevere, it's worth looking for. A truly unique piece of cinema that no-one who watches will ever forget!

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