The Last Circus (2011)



Critic Consensus: The Last Circus is an uneven but winningly insane blend of hard violence, sex, black humor, and social satire.

Movie Info

1937, Spain is in the midst of the brutal Spanish Civil War. A "Happy" circus clown is interrupted mid-performance and forcibly recruited by a militia. Still in his costume, he is handed a machete and led into battle against National soldiers, where he single handedly massacres an entire platoon. Fast forward to 1973, the tail end of the Franco regime. Javier, the son of the clown, dreams of following in his father's career footsteps, but has seen too much tragedy in his life - he's simply not … More

Rating: R (for brutal bloody violence throughout, some strong sexual content, nudity and language)
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Comedy
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 18, 2011
Box Office: $40.0k
Magnolia Pictures - Official Site


as Natalia

as Motorista-fantasma (...

as Jefe de pista, Maste...

as Sonsoles

as Colonel Salcedo, Cor...

as Father Stupid Clown,...

as Capitán miliciano

as Militian Captain

as Clown Clever

as Javier (Child 1937)

as Javier (Young 1943)

as Children's Mother

as Dolores

as National Soldier
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Last Circus

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.


Critic Reviews for The Last Circus

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (10)

Basque director Álex de la Iglesia's exotic, surreal, hilarious, bloody and utterly explosive grand opus.

Full Review… | October 1, 2011
Toronto Star
Top Critic

From the far-too-teeming brain of Spanish writer/director Alex de la Iglesia, The Last Circus is a bizarre, surreal, grotesque, fascinating, demanding, disappointing and ultimately exhausting political allegory that plays like a waking nightmare.

Full Review… | September 30, 2011
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

For those with a taste for the subversive and outrageous, run, don't walk.

Full Review… | September 23, 2011
Miami Herald
Top Critic

You're left with the vague recollection of an interesting movie you were watching before you got kidnapped and subjected to over an hour of torture porn starring a fat, sadistic clown.

Full Review… | August 24, 2011
New York Observer
Top Critic

If you like your baroque sex and violence with a side dish of heavy-duty symbolism ... put "The Last Circus" on your must-see list right now.

Full Review… | August 19, 2011
Top Critic

Take Fellini, Tarantino and "Taxi Driver," throw 'em in a cage with a lion, and you'd get this strange, wild trip.

Full Review… | August 19, 2011
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Last Circus

Fun and grotesque in the right way, with a strong vibe of classic horror cinema. The problem is that the second half switches gears with such an agressive force that it forgets completely about the characters, and just turns them into vicious psychopats for no good reason other than having a series of over-the-top sequences. I enjoyed this, but the lack of a proper transition damages the impact of the story.

Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer

This is playing US festivals under the title THE LAST CIRCUS, though I like the literal translation of the Spanish title (A SAD TRUMPET BALLAD) better. A sad clown and a happy clown fight for the love of a beautiful trapeze artist; they go insane with passion and beat the greasepaint off each other. It's an allegory for the Spanish Civil War, but mainly its a gruesome, bloody b-movie action/melodrama that provides sporadic chuckles and thrills.

Greg S

Super Reviewer


During the Spanish Civil War, the Republican Army is so desperate for soldiers that they resort to drafting circus clowns, but not so desperate that they include bearded ladies. One such clown(Santiago Segura) so impresses the loyalists with his killing with a machete that he earns their respect and is spared from the firing squad. Sadly, he dies in a jail break engineered by his son Javier(Jorge Clemente). Decades later, Javier(Carlos Areces) gets to fulfill his father's wish when he is hired as a sad clown by a circus where he works with Sergio(Antonio de la Torre) who regularly beats his wife Natalia(Carolina Bang), a trapeze artist. And apparently Javier is the only person who notices...

"The Last Circus" is yet another movie that starts promisingly enough(even the opening credits are cool) before going completely haywire. The problem here is that the movie is content at just throwing ideas at a wall to see what sticks.(I thought the clown car analogy would have been too obvious.) The Spanish Civil War is an important event that is brought up, forgotten and then returned to in a Dickensian delusion of grandeur. A horror movie set in a circus would not have been such a bad idea but the movie lacks the courage of its convictions to fully go grand guignol, instead going for something more like an origin story or a debate as to who is really the monster.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

The Last Circus Quotes

– Submitted by Alex M (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Chris P (4 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss The Last Circus on our Movie forum!