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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:

(as Alexandro Jodorowsky)

Writer:

(as Alexandro Jodorowsky)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... El Topo
... Hijo / Topo's son
José Legarreta ... Moribundo
... Bandido 1
José Luis Fernández ... Bandido 2
Ali 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
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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 Definitive Cult Spaghetti Western See more »

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 April 1971 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

The Gopher  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Klangfilm)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

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

Featured in Jodorowsky's Dune (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A religious allegorical western of redemption with surrealist imagery.
12 July 2005 | by See all my reviews

"El Topo", is probably Jodorowsky's most talked about film next to "Santa Sangre". Like all his films it is bizarre and full of symbolism. El Topo is a cowboy dressed in black. He is out for vengeance, kind of like the Biblical God of the old testament. Him and his son ride through a town of massacred civilians. He wants justice and to win the heart of a girl, Mara. He gives up his only son, in an act that could be looked at like God, or even Abraham. He has to kill seven master gunfighters. After all the violence and carnage, he is injured and taken under the care of cripples, dwarfs and other various misfits. He is reborn, almost like a Bhuddist monk. He becomes like the new testament God, Jesus Christ. El Topo is now like a savior to the oppressed. He vows to dig a tunnel out of the cave so the cripples can live among the villagers. The town is taken over by religious fanatics. Poor villagers are branded with the religious icon by force. An upper class of elitists now dominate the town. "El Topo" is beautiful, and chocked full of violent and disturbing imagery. The film became a popular cult sensation in the early 70's. It was embraced by the likes of John Lennon, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, Peter Gabriel and Pink Floyd. More recently celebrities like Marilyn Manson and the Coen Brothers have talked about being strongly influenced by Jodorowsky's work. "El Topo" is important, because it was the first midnight movie. If people could forget about "the Rocky Horror Picture Show" just for a second, they'd realize that this is one of the most important cult films. A bizarre and surreal western that can never be imitated. The only 3 surreal westerns I can think of to pre-date "El Topo" that have many similarities are Brazilian director Glauber Rocha's "Black God, White Devil" (1964) and his follow up "Antonio Das Mortes" (1969) and the Italian Spaghetti western "Django, Kill if you Live, Shoot" (1967).


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