6.4/10
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4 user 3 critic

El Dorado (1988)

The film tells the epic story of an expedition that took place between 1560 and 1561, headed by Pedro de Ursúa, in search of "El Dorado." The territory they explored subsequently became ... See full summary »

Director:

Carlos Saura

Writers:

Carlos Saura (story), Carlos Saura
Reviews
8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Omero Antonutti ... Aguirre
Eusebio Poncela ... Guzmán
Lambert Wilson ... Ursúa
Gabriela Roel Gabriela Roel ... Inés
José Sancho ... La Bandera (as Jose Sancho)
Féodor Atkine ... Montoya (as Feodor Atkine)
Patxi Bisquert ... Pedrarías
Francisco Algora Francisco Algora ... Llamoso
Francisco Merino ... Alonso Esteban
Abel Vitón Abel Vitón ... Henao (as Abel Viton)
Mariano González Mariano González ... Zalduendo (as Mariano Gonzalez)
Inés Sastre ... Elvira (as Ines Sastre)
Gladys Catania Gladys Catania ... Juana
Alfredo Catania Alfredo Catania ... Vargas
Gustavo Rojas Gustavo Rojas ... Carrión
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Storyline

The film tells the epic story of an expedition that took place between 1560 and 1561, headed by Pedro de Ursúa, in search of "El Dorado." The territory they explored subsequently became Colombia. Three hundred men sold their property and souls to travel down the biggest and least known river in the world. After the rebellion of Lope de Aguirre (who took over command) against Philip II, the king of Spain, this expedition became one of the best-known episodes in the conquest of "The New World." Accompanied by a team of all types, Lope de Aguirre's adventure will end in tragedy, exposing the full range of human miseries. Written by Lolafilms

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Spain | France | Italy

Language:

Spanish

Release Date:

20 April 1988 (Spain) See more »

Also Known As:

A peso d'oro See more »

Filming Locations:

Costa Rica

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Edited into Spisok korabley (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Hortus Conclusus
Written by Rodrigo Ceballos (1530-1581)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Slow road to madness
24 February 2007 | by rogornmoradanSee all my reviews

Shot in Costa Rica in 1988, 'El Dorado' is one of a rare breed, a Spanish film about its own role in America in the 16th century. However, this film doesn't tell a story of glory and conquest, but one of failure and slow descent into madness.

The story is about an expedition down the Orinoco river in 1560, undertaken by Spanish soldiers with the aim of finding the famed land of El Dorado, where gold is supposedly plentiful. I suppose that it is not a spoiler to say that the place doesn't exist and that what the expeditioners find is something completely different.

The film is 142 minutes long, and not exactly action-packed, so a prospective viewer should realise that the leisurely pace is meant to reflect the utter boredom provoked by the long and uneventful days in the journey, but these 'dead' days, as in many expeditions, are punctuated by moments of high intensity and tension in which the travellers will have to react to the challenges thrown at them by the jungle... or by themselves. In this sense the film is a study on how to face (or not) insurmountable obstacles in extreme conditions, in particular when greed, pride and lust are thrown into the mix.

The filming on location does half the job for the film-makers. The river and the jungle are like one additional character, and one can feel the stuffy Old-worlders slowly stewing under their heavy shirts and armour as the days pass. I find a bit of fault with the way Lope de Aguirre, the main character, is played. The film goes for understated menace from a quietly unscrupulous man, which ends up adding to the slowness of the film. Of course, that's the director's choice, but I feel that a bit of energy and feeling of danger coming from the villain of the piece would have been welcome.

All in all, it's an effort that meant a lot for Spanish cinema in the 1980s, having been filmed only four years before the 5th centenary of the discovery of America and just a decade into full democracy after the Franco dictatorship. But it if has to be enjoyed, one must come with 'Apocalypto' Mode firmly shut off.


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