El Topo (1970)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

A bizarre, ultra-violent, allegorical Western, "El Topo" is set in two halves that have widely been compared to the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. In the first half, Jodorowsky plays a violent, black-clad gunfighter who, accompanied by his naked son, sets off on a murderous mission to challenge four Zen masters of gunfighting, and learns from each of them a Great Lesson before they die. In the second half, El Topo sets out to find personal redemption, secluding himself in a subterranean … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Alejandro Jodorowsky
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 13, 2006
Tartan Films



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News & Interviews for El Topo

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Critic Reviews for El Topo

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (10)

It remains an aesthetically intoxicating trip.

Full Review… | March 11, 2015
Time Out
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | November 15, 2013
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

A dreary, protracted exercise in sadomasochism.

Full Review… | March 16, 2007
Los Angeles Times
Top 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.

Full Review… | February 10, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | January 26, 2007
Boston Globe
Top 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.

Full Review… | December 12, 2006
Village Voice
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for El Topo


Alejandro Jodorowsky crafts a stunning, visceral and action packed Western film that can actually be compared to some of the genres finest works. El Topo is a great film, a film that is unprecedented in its raw energy, and fluid direction. Cult director Judorowsky also acts, and he delivers a film that is remarkable in the way that it showcases its violence. No other Western has taken such an approach as Jodorowsky. Brilliantly shot, acted and with a great story, this is a fine picture that is almost a forgotten classic of the genre. As far as Westerns are concerns, I would call El Topo as one of the finest along with Once Upon a Time in the West, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and The Wild Bunch. The film should definitely be rediscovered by genre fans, but due to some of its striking images, this may not appeal to everyone. If you're looking for something a bit different in the genre, El Topo is that film to watch. Alejandro Jodorowsky is a terrific filmmaker, and he doesn't compromise whatsoever. His vision is striking, unrelenting, and the sheer raw power of El Topo will grab your attention from the moment in starts. The story is well crafted and it is a film that resonates well, as Jodorowsky crafts a film that is very unique in the Western genre, a film that displays certain ideas that are the director's trademark. El Topo is a pleasant film, one that ranks among the finest in the genre, and if you've enjoyed many of the Spaghetti Westerns, you'll surely enjoy this one. The film has a raw power that makes it memorable due to its visuals, and you are simply enthralled at what you are watching. If you enjoy obscured, cult cinema, then El Topo is a film very well worth your time.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer


Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

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.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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