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Made on a shoestring budget, El Mariachi's story is not new. However, the movie has so much energy that it's thoroughly enjoyable. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

El Mariachi (Carlos Gallardo) is a traveling guitar player with the modest desire to play music for a living. Looking for a job, he stops at a bar in a tiny town, where his simple, peaceful lifestyle is interrupted. Local hit men, expecting enemy assassin Azul (Reinol Martinez) to invade their town, believe that the visiting musician is the professional killer they are looking for. Unwittingly embroiled in vicious mob warfare, El Mariachi must shoot his way out of town if he is to survive.

Cast & Crew

Peter Marquardt
Mauricio (Moco)
Jesús López
Viejo Clerk
Luis Baró
Domino's Assistant
Jaime De Hoyos
Bigotón
Elizabeth Avellan
Associate Producer
Robert Rodriguez
Cinematographer
Carlos Gallardo
Unit Production Manager
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News & Interviews for Mariachi

Critic Reviews for Mariachi

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (2)

  • Has a verve and cheekiness that's partly a smart wedding of such influences as Sergio Leone, George Miller and south-of-the-border noir.

    November 12, 2008
  • Juicy, adroit, and likable.

    March 13, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Rodriguez goes for broke with a breakneck pace, swarms of bullets, cinematic tricks, and a tone as playful as it is knowing of genre conventions. The director's light touch is all his own; and this unpretentious offering delivers in all departments.

    January 26, 2006 | Full Review…
  • It goes without saying that Mr. Rodriguez, having made such a clever and inventive debut, is prepared for a big future of his own.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4/5
  • A gripping, tautly-paced action flick that outdoes most of Hollywood's similar output.

    January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • While the story may be a common one, Rodriguez, who wrote, produced, shot and edited the entire film himself, has a uniquely straightforward wit that makes what might otherwise have been just another shoot-'em-up something more than that.

    January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Mariachi

  • Jul 13, 2013
    The indie film El Mariachi marked the debut of writer/director Robert Rodriguez. The style is very raw and messy, yet Rodriguez shows some talent for storytelling. When a traveling mariachi falls victim to a case of mistaken identity he finds himself being pursued by a local cartel. Unfortunately, the acting's extremely bad and detracts from the film. Yet despite its amateurness, El Mariachi has some good action and an interesting style of filmmaking.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 13, 2013
    Robert Rodriguez's film debut is a good little action film that was made on a 7,000$ and showcases some pretty creative filmmaking skills. The plot is fairly simple, the acting is mediocre to decent, but you have to admire what you see on-screen. Rodriguez has flair in making something entertaining, and he delivers something truly good here with a low budget action flick about a musician who travels to a rundown crime ridden town. A notorious hit man also carries a guitar case, but he carries weapons, not a guitar. The craft and the effort that went into El Mariachi is superb, and I am surprised that were able to pull something like this with a shoestring budget. Fans of low budget films will surely enjoy this film, and it is among the most stunning debut features that I have seen. Robert Rodriguez is a great filmmaker, and we get a sense of what he would later accomplish in his career with this film. Acting wise, there's never anything great, and it is hard to tell what the characters say because the film is in Spanish with no subtitles. However the visuals are quite good and that's where the strength of the film lies. The film is definitely amateur in nature, but you have got to give Rodriguez the credit he deserves by making something truly original with such a meagre budget and subpar effects, which are quite good surprisingly. El Mariachi is a fun and entertaining low budget picture that proves that creativity can overcome constraints of working with dire methods. Robert Rodriguez has crafted something special here, and this is a film that is a must see and highly engaging picture that will certainly give action fans something different to watch.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Jun 11, 2012
    El Mariachi was a cheap corny Spanish speaking action which there are hundreds of other films like. But for some reason this is considered a modern day classic. The $7,000 budget gave exactly what you'd expect for a movie with that budget. I'm glad that this brought Rodriguezes career up because hes accomplished a lot, but I just don't understand how this got him there.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Sep 15, 2011
    I actually had to do a presentation for my Spanish class on Robert Rodriguez in which I talked quite a bit about the El Mariachi/Desperado/Once Upon a Time in Mexico trilogy. As a result, I had pretty high hopes for this, and considering I'm generally not a fan of foreign films, there was a lot riding against El Mariachi. Yet, it was surprisingly good, even when considered as a standalone film. I love the juxtaposition of the protagonist's sole desire to be a mariachi at the beginning and at the end of the film. He's so innocent at the beginning, before he mistakenly gets caught up in the drug war that has poisoned the town, and at the end, he realizes that even though part of him still wants to be a mariachi, too much has changed for this to be the sole part of reality. He's an outlaw now, a Desperado, if you will (setting up the second film). I'm really looking forward to seeing Desperado now, and I'm probably going to rewatch Once Upon a Time in Mexico...I'll probably enjoy it more now that I'll know the characters better.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer

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