7.5/10
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El Topo (1970)

Not Rated | | Drama, Western | 15 April 1971 (Mexico)
A mysterious black-clad gunfighter wanders a mystical Western landscape encountering multiple bizarre characters.

Director:

Alejandro Jodorowsky (as Alexandro Jodorowsky)

Writer:

Alejandro Jodorowsky (as Alexandro Jodorowsky)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alejandro Jodorowsky ... El Topo
Brontis Jodorowsky ... Hijo / Topo's son
José Legarreta José Legarreta ... Moribundo
Alfonso Arau ... Bandido 1
José Luis Fernández José Luis Fernández ... Bandido 2
Ali Junco Ali Junco ... Bandido 3 (as Alí Junco)
Gerardo Zepeda ... Bandido 4 (as Gerardo Cepeda)
René Barrera René Barrera ... Bandido 5
René Alís René Alís ... Bandido 6
Federico Gonzáles Federico Gonzáles ... Bandido 7
Vicente Lara Vicente Lara ... Bandido 8
Pablo Leder Pablo Leder ... Monje 1
Giuliano Girini Sasseroli Giuliano Girini Sasseroli ... Monje 2
Cristian Merkel Cristian Merkel ... Monje 3
Aldo Grumelli Aldo Grumelli ... Monje 4
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Storyline

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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The film that shocked America with its sex & violence See more »

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Mexico

Language:

Spanish

Release Date:

15 April 1971 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

The Gopher See more »

Filming Locations:

Mexico See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Producciones Panicas See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Klangfilm)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Entertainment Weekly ranked this Number 11 on their "Guilty Pleasures: Testosterone Edition" list in their March 30, 2007, issue. See more »

Goofs

The opening scene is of a man on horseback riding through the desert, although the horse is on deep sand the sound is of a horse on hard ground. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Hateful Eight (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Weird Weird West
5 November 2006 | by CoventrySee 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.


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