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El Mariachi (Special Edition)

3.9 out of 5 stars 103 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

All he wants is to be is a mariachi, like his father, his grandfather and his great grandfather before him. But the town he thinks will bring him luck brings only a curse of deadly mistaken identity.Forced to trade his guitar for a gun, the mariachi is playing for his life in this critically-acclaimed film debut from director Robert Rodriguez. Financed with earnings from a month-long stay in a research hospital, this astonishing action adventure was shot with no second takes, using borrowed equipment and a talented cast of unknowns. The riveting result is a wild bullet-dodging ride through aworld of bandido violence, from the suspense of the opening shoot-out to the tragedy of the unexpected conclusion. With little more than a great story and a lot of heart, Rodriguez has created pure movie pleasure, setting new standards for independent filmmaking, and establishing himself as an unquestionable talent. "An enormously entertaining movie." (Roger Ebert, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES)

Special Features

  • New film transfer from original negatives supervised by Robert Rodriguez
  • Robert Rodriguez's short film "Bedhead"
  • "10-Minute Film School" featurette
  • Sneak Peek: Once Upon a Time in Mexico
  • Winner of Sundance Film Festival Audience Award, 1993

Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Marquardt, Carlos Gallardo, Consuelo Gomez
  • Directors: Robert Rodriguez
  • Producers: Carlos Gallardo, Robert Rodriguez
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 26, 2003
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000A2ZTY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,075 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "El Mariachi (Special Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"El Mariachi" is one incredible debut from director Robert Rodriguez. Despite it being made on such a low budget, the impression we are given is that it was shot by a pro and not by a first-time director. Rarely do we get to bare witness to such an outstanding debut from a promising director that has all the right ingredients in it.
The story centers around a simple man with a certain passion--to be a well-established "Mariachi." He dresses in black and carries a guitar case with him everywhere he goes. A very passive individual, the Mariachi wants to be at peace without having to deal with any troubles. Well, trouble comes looking for him when there's a case of mistaken identity. Another man that dresses in black and carries a guitar case is causing major problems for a well known drug-dealer. The difference with this person is that in his guitar case is not a guitar--it is filled with numerous types of weapons, from firearms to knives. Forced into an inconceivable conflict, the simple life of the Mariachi turns into one that is filled with violence and bloodshed.
This very well-constructed independent film resembles a modern day Western. The film quality may not be at its absolute best, but the feel of the film is one that gives you an impression of a very talented director. You never know what's going to happen next in this unpredictable film. The film is not in English, so you will have to deal with subtitles if you don't know Spanish. Still, do not let that scare you away. The subtitles are very easy to follow and the movie flows nicely with them. It may feel odd for the first few minutes, but in very little time you will find yourself not even noticing that you're watching subtitles.
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Format: DVD
This movie put director Robert Rodriguez "on the map." He followed up with two sequels: "Desperado" and "Once Upon A Time In Mexico." Not surprising, the best of the three was this low-budget opening film. As Rodriquez had more and more money to spend on the sequels, the stories got more and more carried away with too many explosions and special-effects, losing the charm of this first effort.

Unlike the sequels, this Mexican-made, so it is in Spanish with English subtitles. Don't let that scare you away. There isn't a great deal of dialog so keeping up with the subtitles is very easy.

The movie has very interesting camera closeups and angles as Rodriquez showed he was going to be a stylish director. The story is simple but effective, suspenseful and even with some humor. Unnlike his subsequent films in this trilogy, the action is not overdone here.

The length is also is a plus. At 80 minutes you can be thoroughly entertained in less than an hour-and-a half. The only disappointment to me was the print quality on th DVD, but I got an early edition. There might be better editions out since. It's not fuzzy but it's not sharp, either.

Anyway: highly recommend for actions/crime buffs who like style in their photography, or saw the sequels and would like to know the history of this particular "Mariachi."
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Format: VHS Tape
"El Mariachi" is probably the most visual film that I've ever seen. By "visual", I mean that all of the fancy and amazing camerawork used here combines with the story to make a truly unique film.
Director Robert Rodriguez, making his first feature film here, takes action to a unique level in this straightforward and, sometimes, jaw-dropping movie, which is full of so much that moviegoers love, it's almost impossible not to like it.
Carlos Gallardo plays a young man who wants to earn a name for himself as a mariachi, a beloved, legendary kind of guitar player. He walks into a town hoping for luck. But, instead is mistaken for a brutal killer by the hired hands of a local crime lord.
At a tightly-wound 81 minutes, "Mariachi" starts up the steam and never lets up. The action scenes are loaded with energy and the story complements them with good characters and good actors that make it all work.
The sequel, "Desperado", missed the mark and is not very memorable. It missed all of the elements that made "Mariachi" so good and so much fun to watch.
Stick with this film for all it's ingenuity and brilliance, it is a film that should not be ignored.
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Format: DVD
El Mariachi (Robert Rodriguez, 1992)
One of the most interesting things about El Mariachi (not to take away from the film itself) is that no one can seem to come to agreement on whether Rodriguez' next big-screen movie, Desperado, is a sequel or a remake to this, his first feature film. After finally getting around to seeing El Mariachi, I'll give you the definitive answer: who knows?
In many ways, if you've seen Desperado (and if you live in America and you're reading this, you're far more likely to have seen it than El Mariachi), you've seen this movie. Many of the sets are the same. (The bar Carlos Gallardo walks into when he first reaches town actually caused me a chuckle. I expected to see Cheech Marin behind the counter. And, in fact, the barman in this movie makes almost exactly the same moves Marin does in Desperado when the shooting starts.) Some things, like the kid, are treated differently in the two movies, but that's not uncommon in remakes. Certainly more common than it is in sequels. And yet there are enough differences in the plot to make you wonder.
In any case: El Mariachi, made famous three years later by Antonio Banderas, is played here by Carlos Gallardo, (co-producer and production manager on this film as well, and who has remained co-producer with Rodriguez on the other two Desperado films). He's traveling around the Mexican countryside looking for work as a mariachi. Unfortunately, just as he's getting to town, a jailbreak is occurring; Azul (Reinol Martinez) and his henchmen overpower three hired killers sent to rub him out by his old partner, Moco (Peter Marquardt), who's now living it up as a drug runner. Needless to say, Azul wants revenge, and Moco wants to stop him. Problem: Azul's trademark is that he always dresses in black and carries a guitar case...
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