El Topo (1970) - Rotten Tomatoes

El Topo (1970)



Critic Consensus: By turns intoxicating and confounding, El Topo contains the creative multitudes that made writer-director Alejandro Jodorowsky such a singular talent.

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 community to learn the ways of peace, but unfortunately death is never far away. First released as an underground film, it was thanks to John Lennon that the film was acquired by Allen Klein of ABKCO, who bought the rights to "El Topo" and then financed Alejandro Jodorowsky's next film "The Holy Mountain."

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Brontis Jodorowsky
as Son of El Topo
David Silva
as The Colonel
Paula Romo
as Woman in Black
Hector Martinez
as First Master
Juan José Gurrola
as Second Master
Victor Fosado
as Third Master
Agustín Isunza
as Fourth Master
Bertha Lomelí
as Second Master's Mother
Robert John
as Brontis as a Man
Alfonso Arau
as Bandit No.1
Alf Junco
as Bandit No.3
Gerardo Cepeda
as Bandit No.4
Rene Barrera
as Bandit No.5
Rene Alis
as Bandit No.6
Federico Gonzales
as Bandit No.7
Vincente Lara
as Bandit No.8
Pablo Leder
as Monk No.1
Cristian Merkel
as Monk No.3
Aldo Grumelli
as Monk No.4
Carlos Lavenant
as Executioner No.1
Eliseo Pereda
as Executioner No.2
Carmen Lamadrid
as Second Woman
Pepita Gonzalez
as Third Woman
Cecilia Leger
as Fourth Woman
Elvira Agosti
as Fifth Woman
Antonio Alvarez
as First Prisoner
Rueben Gonzales
as Second Prisoner
Victor Manuel Osorio
as Third Prisoner
Jose Perez Bustos
as Fourth Prisoner
Eduardo Danel
as Fifth Prisoner
Álvaro García
as Sixth Prisoner
Arturo Silva
as Boxer No.2
Valérie Tremblay
as Woman In Church
Pedro Garcia
as Man With Carrot
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Critic Reviews for El Topo

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (10)

It remains an aesthetically intoxicating trip.

March 11, 2015 | Full Review…
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.

November 15, 2013 | Full Review…

A dreary, protracted exercise in sadomasochism.

March 16, 2007 | Rating: 1.5/5 | Full Review…

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 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

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.

January 26, 2007 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
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.

December 12, 2006

Audience Reviews for El Topo

Though always intriguing and making use of stunning visuals and an evocative 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
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


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
Alex roy

Super Reviewer


Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

El Topo Quotes

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