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The Last Circus (2010)
"Balada triste de trompeta" (original title)

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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 8,241 users   Metascore: 70/100
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A young trapeze artist must decide between her lust for Sergio, the Happy Clown, or her affection for Javier, the Sad Clown, both of whom are deeply disturbed.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Carlos Areces ...
Manuel Tallafé ...
Alejandro Tejerías ...
Motorista-fantasma (as Alejandro Tejería)
Manuel Tejada ...
Gracia Olayo ...
Paco Sagarzazu ...
Padre-Payaso tonto
Capitán miliciano
Fofito ...
Sasha Di Bendetto ...
Javier (Niño 1937) (as Sasha Di Bendetto)


1937, Spain is in the midst of the brutal Spanish Civil War. A "Happy" circus clown is interrupted mid-performance and forcibly recruited by a militia. Still in his costume, he is handed a machete and led into battle against National soldiers, where he single handedly massacres an entire platoon. Fast forward to 1973, the tail end of the Franco regime. Javier, the son of the clown, dreams of following in his father's career footsteps, but has seen too much tragedy in his life-he's simply not funny and is only equipped to play the role of the Sad Clown. He finds work in a circus where he befriends an outlandish cast of characters, but as the Sad Clown he must take the abuse of the brutish Happy Clown Sergio, who humiliates Javier daily in the name of entertainment. It is here that he meets Natalia, a gorgeous acrobat, and abused wife of Sergio. Javier falls deeply in love with Natalia and tries to rescue her from her cruel and violent husband, unleashing Sergio's jealousy. But Natalia ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brutal and bloody violence throughout, some strong sexual content, nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

17 December 2010 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

The Last Circus  »

Box Office


€7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$4,757 (USA) (19 August 2011)


$40,029 (USA) (4 November 2011)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


A still of Cannibal Holocaust (1980) appears in opening credits. Luis Varela, who plays Manuel in this film, dubbed 'Carl Gabriel Yorke' in Cannibal Holocaust in Spanish. See more »


When Andres is arrested, he says "maderos" to the policemen, but this word was not yet used at this time. He shoould have said "grises" (grey) because this is the color of the police uniform - only years later would it become brown. ("Madero" is log or piece of wood, which is why people called policemen "maderos"). See more »


Referenced in At the Movies: Venice Film Festival 2010 (2010) See more »


Written by Gianni Boncompagni & Paolo Ormi
Performed by Raffaella Carrà (as Raffaella Carra)
See more »

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User Reviews

No clowning around, this is a big top treat!
15 February 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The moment I saw the trailer for The Last Circus, I fell in love. The bizarre, yet sublime, imagery, the engaging story, the intense music. The Last Circus looked like a hit! However, when some mediocre reviews came in I lowered my expectation slightly, but after seeing it, I needn't have bothered! The Last Circus astonished me at how good it was! I was left in amazement at seeing such a strange, beautiful, funny, sad, tragic and gripping gem. The Last Circus deserves to be a cult classic, for it will certainly not be to everyone's tastes, but it is certainly is to my tastes!

The sublime opening sets the tone for the rest of the film. Children laugh as all the institutional information pops up, and then we realise that they're laughing at the clowns in the circus. This laughter is suddenly cut rather short however, when an army man comes in (because it's the civil war) declaring all the circus members to fight! Then some wonderfully weird titles come up with seemingly random images of the Spanish civil war, Universal monsters and other random film clippings including Cannibal Holocaust. Its bizarre and unconventional, which is exactly what this film is! The engaging opening is then finished off with some fantastic imagery of a clown dressed up as a woman, carrying a machete and slicing up the opposition! It's a fantastic surreal image and one you're not likely to forget.

After this great back-story has finished, we're introduced to our hero (or anti-hero). The sad clown. A great shot introduces us to all the weird and wonderful characters and it's often hilarious. We've got an elephant who gets jealous when her owner talks to another woman, we've got two old bickering dog trainers and the list goes on. It's a funny sequence and also a great way to get us introduced to all the characters, all of which are brilliant creations. But obviously the sad clown falls for the beautiful trapeze artist, who belongs to the happy clown. The happy clown is a seriously nasty piece of work. The first time we see him, he's tossing dwarfs out the door! It's this rivalry that drives the film forward. However, as the film goes on the line between good and evil begins to blur.

I don't want to say any more on the story because it would be a shame to spoil it. The great thing about the Last Circus is that it tells a story. It's a story I loved, and obviously one which the film-makers cared about because it's told so well. The characters are fantastic, with people you can care about, and others you can't. You'll root for the tragic sad clown, who is the only one who has the guts to stand up to the bullying happy clown, but things later take an unpredictable turn. The Last Circus is a love story at heart, and the poor person in-between this bitter feud is the innocent Nathalia, the trapeze artist who you can't help but feel sorry for as she drives two clowns absolutely wild!

The Last Circus never stops looking amazing. Sometimes it looks more like an art piece than a film, especially when crazy imagery comes into play such as a clown machine-gunning a restaurant! The grand finale is surprisingly cinematic and quite a spectacle to behold. The Last Circus also never forgets its entertainment-value as horror fans are given some gloriously entertaining blood-shed, without it ever forgetting its story and characters at heart. The Last Circus has a big heart, and quite an emotional ending that left me in surprise.

Another great thing about The Last Circus is the pace. The pacing is sometimes break-neck, and the story motors along, trying not to waste a single frame. Sometimes I felt that it moved too quickly, and it would've been nice to soak some of it in. I also thought that the sad clown's descent into madness was too quick and unconvincing, however let's not forget that we're watching a film about two warring clowns! The Last Circus is not trying to be normal! The gripping narrative all culminates into an all-action finale that's pretty intense. The spectacular directing goes up another notch, and the fairytale soon comes to an end we all were hoping to see, and one that's actually very sad.

The Last Circus was even better than I thought it was going to be. From the trailer, I expected a bit of a mess (a beautiful mess nonetheless) however what I got was a focused story, with fantastic characters, spectacular directing and a tight screenplay. The Last Circus really is amazing to behold and unlike anything I've ever seen (and I've seen Taxidermia!) It's severely underrated and reminded me of The Prestige with clowns. So if you're after some surreal imagery, a gripping narrative, some intense directing and characters you can actually care about, then roll up, roll up for The Last Circus! No children allowed!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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