El mariachi (1992)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  26 February 1993 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 49,520 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 128 user | 55 critic | 9 from Metacritic.com

A traveling mariachi is mistaken for a murderous criminal and must hide from a gang bent on killing him.


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7 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Consuelo Gómez ...
Jaime de Hoyos ...
Bigotón (as Jaime De Hoyos)
Peter Marquardt ...
Reinol Martinez ...
Ramiro Gómez ...
Cantinero (as Ramiro Gomez)
Jesús López ...
Viejo Clerk (as Jesus Lopez)
Luis Baró ...
Domino's Assistant (as Luis Baro)
Oscar Fabila ...
The Boy
Poncho Ramón ...
Azul's Rat (as Poncho Ramon)
Fernando Martínez ...
Azul's Rat (as Fernando Martinez)
Manuel Acosta ...
Walter Vargas ...
Roberto Martinez ...
Virgen Delgado ...
Female Bodyguard


El Mariachi just wants to play his guitar and carry on the family tradition. Unfortunately, the town he tries to find work in has another visitor...a killer who carries his guns in a guitar case. The drug lord and his henchmen mistake El Mariachi for the killer, Azul, and chase him around town trying to kill him and get his guitar case. Written by Josh Pasnak <chainsaw@intouch.bc.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

death | mariachi | guitar | gun | mexico | See All (91) »


With a guitar in his hand and a price on his head, he wasn't looking for trouble...but trouble came looking for him. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

26 February 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El Mariachi  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$7,000 (estimated)


$2,040,920 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The title was not translated for the American release, as it was felt not many people would be interested in an action film titled "The Guitar Player". See more »


There are two guitar cases at the bar, Azul's (filled with weapons) and El Mariachi's (with a guitar inside). When he leaves, Azul mistakenly takes El Mariachi's with him and leaves his own at the bar. But it should have been easy to notice the difference in weight between the two cases (as the Mariachi immediately proves in the same scene). See more »


[first lines]
Mauricio: Good morning, Azul. Know who this is?
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the beginning credits, Robert Rodriguez is listed as the editor. In the ending credits he gets sole credit for additional editing. See more »


Referenced in Lucignolo (1999) See more »


Mariachi Love Theme
Written and Performed by Cecilio Rodríguez (as Cecilio Rodriguez)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Very good low-budget film, puts most "blockbusters" to shame.
11 August 2000 | by (Houston, Tx, USA, Earth) – See all my reviews

It is so well-established now in other comments, I won't repeat that Robert Rodriguez made this debut film of his for a mere $7,000. Regardless how much he did or didn't spend, this is a very well-written and photographed story of a nice young man who only wants to be a Mariachi singer, but is inadvertently caught up in a manhunt and several gunfights. The movie is not intended to be taken seriously. The crook with the guitar case full of guns is supposed to be part of the joke of the movie. Many people get shot and killed, and of course that isn't funny in real life, but this film is not intended to reflect real life. It is just an entertaining film. Sort of a cartoon come to life.

I saw this on DVD, which is real nice because the extra features contain a great insight into how Rodriguez shot and edited this movie. For example, all the filming was done "silently". Then, armed with a tape recorder and Radio Shack microphone, he had the actors re-do the scene while he recorded the dialog and other sounds. Music was done the same way. Then, when Rodriguez edited the movie, he matched the tape-recorded sound to the filmed action for the final cut. Watching the film you can notice some non-synchronization, and that's the reason why. It is certainly not distracting. He made the film with no crew, no fancy equipment, vrtally no lighting other than natural. Most of the actors were local Mexican businessmen, bartenders, or TV news men. Quite an achievement in movie-making, because it is a very entertaining movie on its own. I give it 9 of 10, partly because of the novelty of its origin.

The other side of the DVD contains Rodriguez's followup movie, "Desperado", which is actually a sequel to "El Mariachi." So, if you rent or buy this DVD, you are getting 2 movies for one price. Quite a deal!!

36 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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