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El Topo (1971)

tomatometer

67

Average Rating: 6.3/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.

audience

86

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 13,894

My Rating

Movie Info

This violent and allegorical Mexican western attracted a cult following in its day. It is the story of El Topo, a gunslinger who sets out for revenge against the outlaws who slew his wife. He ends up getting his revenge and saving the life of a woman who is being terrorized by bandits. She leads El Topo (which means "the Mole" in English) on a search for the region's top four gunfighters. But before they set off, Topo leaves his young son in a monastery. He and the woman hook up with another

Dec 13, 2006

Tartan Films

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All Critics (37) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (9) | DVD (10)

The film is by turns comic and profound, hysterical and pompous, fully complex enough to deserve more than a simple yea or nay.

November 15, 2013 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A dreary, protracted exercise in sadomasochism.

March 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie's lure is sensual and unflagging; that's what makes it, for all its arty absurdity, the last great movie of the 1960s.

February 10, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is gutbucket Luis Buńuel , surrealism on the cheap, and it hasn't dated well -- the blood is patently fake and the gunshots are dubbed.

January 26, 2007 Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Comments (3)
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You may find it a tiresome, macho relic -- or a ragtag circus wandering through a fantasy realm part Treasure of the Sierra Madre, part Tolkien's Middle-earth.

December 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With style constantly contradicting content, and the prevailing mood redolent of egotism and misogyny, it leaves one the feeling of having waded through a full-blown fantasy where even the self-degradation emerges as just another form of narcissism.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For all of its easily mocked elements, "El Topo" is a work of mad cinematic genius that sticks.

December 4, 2011 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

... the story of 'El Topo' proves too scattered and weak to bear its digressions and vague symbols that suggest everything, anything and nothing.

November 20, 2011 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Has lost little of the maddening, bewildering weirdness that made it a seminal midnight-movie phenomenon.

June 5, 2011 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

its mixture of genre revisionism, religious mysticism, and shocking visuals felt new and wild and meaningful, at least to those who wanted to see it that way.

May 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

Alejandro Jodorowsky may be full of it, but I'm thankful that he spread it -- whatever it is -- across the screen in 'El Topo.'

February 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

While I truly do doubt that modern viewer will have much use for Jodorowsky's dated spiritual philosophy, the style with wich he expresses that philosophy is often quite exciting.

April 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

A dated counterculture goulash long hyped as art by a blank generation desperate for something different.

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly | Comment (1)
Orlando Weekly

As perplexing as large parts of it are, the film certainly isn't boring. And it's kind of fun trying to figure out what it's all supposed to mean.

July 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

a mystic trip through political, religious and philosophical terrains, gunning down all normative notions of what the western - or indeed Western civilisation - is supposed to be.

July 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

For the adventurous viewer, El Topo is a bizarre, colorful, unforgettable experience.

June 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Violent, visionary, vital.

May 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

haunting and haunted, flitting at the edges of Jodorowsky's masculine fantasy

May 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Without the aid of mind-expanding narcotics though, El Topo can't help looking laughably ramshackle, the combination of bad dubbing, shoddy camerawork and over-the-top performances making it pretty much unwatchable by modern standards.

April 10, 2007 Full Review Source: BBC | Comment (1)

One things for sure, they certainly don't make 'em like this any more. Nor, I suspect, would anyone want them to.

April 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

It's steeped in blood and sex and dream imagery and weird music and imparts a sense of heat and wonder and even revulsion in a way that always feels artful and exact.

March 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

Audience Reviews for El Topo

Though always intriguing and making use of stunning visuals and an evoking atmosphere, this esoteric Western of religious references is still an unripe Jodorowsky, clearly lacking in narrative structure before he started developing better his ideas in later works.
February 24, 2013
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

An unique western classic full of surrealist, violence and symbols. El Topo is a mistical work that tells the redemption of a gunslinger that look for perfection, but just find his ending. After this we met a different face of El Topo that, again bring he to his strange end.
September 5, 2012
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

This was Alejandro Jodorowsky's first recognised cult movie in the early seventies. Shot in Mexico, El Topo (or the mole in English) is a gunslinger (played by Jodorowsky), who, dressed completely in black leather, rides on his horse with his seven-year-old son through the desert; until they come across a massacre of people. One of the survivors tells El Topo who the culprits are, and he then takes on the guise of God and seeks revenge. There is a lot of surrealistic imagery from then on as Jodorowsky explores violence, racism and religious themes, but it is absorbing and the ending is very obscure. An easy candidate for a cult movie.
October 19, 2011
matertenebraum

Super Reviewer

This has to be the most F_-_ Up Movie I have ever seen, What I thought was going to be a spaghetti Western turned out to be anything but. Those that called this a master piece, well I guess I would have a hard time understanding you. Don't think this ever hit the big screen in the US. I will give it 2 stars for each hour of my time it wasted.
October 4, 2011
bbcfloridabound
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

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