El Mariachi


1h 20m 1992

Brief Synopsis

A traveling musician is mistaken for an assassin wanted by a local crime lord.

Film Details

Also Known As
Falsk mördare, Mariachi
MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Action
Foreign
Release Date
1992
Production Company
Freeze Frame; Sony Pictures Scoring Stage; Troublemaker Studios
Distribution Company
Sony Pictures Releasing; Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; Sony Pictures Releasing; Sony Pictures Releasing International
Location
Acuna, Mexico

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 20m

Synopsis

A young man wants nothing more than to be a mariachi like his grandfather and 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.

Crew

Jose Aranda

Special Thanks

Alfonso Arau

Special Thanks

Evaristo Perez Arreola

Special Thanks

Elizabeth Avellan

Associate Producer

Elizabeth Avellan

Special Thanks

Jorge Cadena

Special Thanks

Humberto Cantu

Special Thanks

Ben Davis

Special Thanks

Carmen M Degallardo

Associate Producer

Carmen M Degallardo

Special Thanks

Nestor Fajardo

Song

Nestor Fajardo

Song Performer ("Mariachi Tecnologia")

Samuel Flores

Special Thanks

Carlos M Gallardo

Dolly Grip

Carlos Gallardo

Unit Production Manager

Carlos Gallardo

Dolly Grip

Carlos Gallardo

Producer

Carlos Gallardo

Special Effects

Ernesto Gallegos

Special Thanks

Gudelio Garza

Special Thanks

Jaime Garza

Special Thanks

Ricardo Garza

Special Thanks

Maria Gonzales

Assistant (To Producers)

Mario Gonzales

Carpenter

Eric Guthrie

Music

Mario Hernandez

Stunt Supervisor

George B Hively

Editing

Chris Jackson

Additional Editing/Conforming

Thomas Jingles

Additional Editing/Conforming

Keith Kritselis

Special Thanks

Gary Krivacek

Additional Sound Effects

Francisco Martinez

Production Attorney

Roberto Martinez

Dolly Grip

Roberto Martinez

Production Assistant

Andrea & Nora

Special Thanks

Miguel Orihuela

Special Thanks

Rafael Perales

Special Thanks

Enrique Perez

Special Thanks

Hector Monroy Plascencia

Special Thanks

Manuel Portillo

Special Thanks

Josue Munoz Quintero

Special Thanks

Alvaro Rodriguez

Song Performer ("Mariachi Solo")

Alvaro Rodriguez

Music

Alvaro Rodriguez

Song

Cecilio Rodriguez

Song

Cecilio Rodriguez

Song Performer ("Mariachi Love Theme")

Cecilio Rodriguez

Music

Jaime Rodriguez

Special Thanks

Robert Rodriguez

Story By

Robert Rodriguez

Director Of Photography

Robert Rodriguez

Editor

Robert Rodriguez

Still Photography

Robert Rodriguez

Special Effects

Robert Rodriguez

Camera Operator

Robert Rodriguez

Sound/Music Editor

Robert Rodriguez

From Story

Robert Rodriguez

Additional Editing/Conforming

Robert Rodriguez

Screenwriter

Robert Rodriguez

Producer

Robert Rodriguez

Dp/Cinematographer

Manuel Salinas

Stunt Supervisor

Juan Suarez

Song Performer ("Ganas De Vivir")

Juan Suarez

Music

Juan Suarez

Song

Marc Trujillo

Song

Marc Trujillo

Song Performer ("Maldicion")

Marc Trujillo

Music

Film Details

Also Known As
Falsk mördare, Mariachi
MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Action
Foreign
Release Date
1992
Production Company
Freeze Frame; Sony Pictures Scoring Stage; Troublemaker Studios
Distribution Company
Sony Pictures Releasing; Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; Sony Pictures Releasing; Sony Pictures Releasing International
Location
Acuna, Mexico

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 20m

Articles

El Mariachi


The most enduring cult films seem to be those with nothing to lose, the ones the filmmakers made for themselves – think Night of the Living Dead (1968), The Harder They Come (1972), Pink Flamingos (1972) and Eraserhead (1977) rather than The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) – because they had to. Of course, 23-year-old Robert Rodriguez had a specific market in mind before he began shooting El Mariachi (1992) in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Acuña (where Alfonso Arau had just completed principal photography for Like Water for Chocolate, 1992). The barely feature-length production was pointed squarely at the Spanish language video trade, meant to recoup its investment from sales out of Mexican supermarkets and video store rentals. Told he could likely clear $20,000 on such a sale but counting on only half that, Rodriguez and producer/star Carlos Gallardo devised a feature film that would cost considerably less than $10,000, guaranteeing them sufficient profit to finance a second film.

Raising $9,000 (a third of this from his services as a research subject/guinea pig in pharmaceutical drug trials), Rodriguez operated his own 16mm camera, using a wheelchair for a dolly and a ladder for a crane, shooting without sound in Gallardo's hometown, where locations were free and where friends and family could play supporting roles and double as crew. Rodriguez shaved thousands from his budget by printing his mistakes and working them into the script, as well as by avoiding master shots. To lard out the film's brief running time (the shooting script for El Mariachi was only 40 pages from cover to cover), Rodriguez used slow motion wherever possible and relied on non sequitur cutaways to animals (a turtle who crawled across the highway during shooting, someone's pet dog) and children (a phantasmal street urchin whose bouncing soccer ball recalls the ghostly Melissa Graps of Mario Bava's Kill, Baby... Kill, 1966) to cover continuity gaffes and to smooth shot transitions.

Rodriguez and Gallardo spent only $7,225 of their budget but their profit margin widened unexpectedly when El Mariachi was picked up for distribution by Columbia Pictures after performing well at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals and winning the Audience Award at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival. The studio's original aim was to remake El Mariachi for American audiences but when positive word of mouth from critics engendered audience interest, Columbia threw $100,000 into the hat to reedit, remix the sound, redo the subtitles and strike 35mm distribution prints. In limited release, El Mariachi grossed over $2 million, catapulting its creator (if nobody else involved with the production) into the major leagues. Rodriguez helmed Columbia's sequel/semi-remake Desperado (1995) and capped his "Mexican Trilogy" with Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003), both of which starred A-list heartthrob Antonio Banderas as the wandering and now vengeful mariachi. Rodriguez has since gone on to make several unrelated big budget feature films – among them From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), The Faculty (1998), the Spy Kids films, Sin City (2005) and the Planet Terror portion of the unabashedly retrograde two-fer Grindhouse (2007) – but none of them have the heart or bootstrap inventiveness of El Mariachi... proving that, even in movie-making, hunger really does make the best sauce.

Producer: Carlos Gallardo, Robert Rodriguez
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Screenplay: Robert Rodriguez
Cinematography: Robert Rodriguez
Special Effects: Carlos Gallardo, Robert Rodriguez
Music: Eric Guthrie, Chris Knudson, Alvaro Rodriguez, Mark Trujillo, Cecilio Rodriguez
Film Editing: Robert Rodriguez
Cast: Carlos Gallardo (El Mariachi), Consuelo Gomez (Domino), Jaime de Hoyos (Bigoton), Peter Marquardt (Mauricio), Reinol Martinez (Azul), Ramiro Gomez (Cantinero).
C-81m. Closed captioning

by Richard Harland Smith

Sources:
Rebel Without a Crew: How a 23 Year Old Filmmaker with $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player by Robert Rodriquez
Robert Rodriguez interview, "The Mariachi Aesthetic Goes to Hollywood," Latino Images in Film, by Charles Ramirez Berg
Robert Rodriguez biography by Deborah Jermyn, Contemporary North American Filmmakers: A Wallflower Critical Guide
El Mariachi

El Mariachi

The most enduring cult films seem to be those with nothing to lose, the ones the filmmakers made for themselves – think Night of the Living Dead (1968), The Harder They Come (1972), Pink Flamingos (1972) and Eraserhead (1977) rather than The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) – because they had to. Of course, 23-year-old Robert Rodriguez had a specific market in mind before he began shooting El Mariachi (1992) in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Acuña (where Alfonso Arau had just completed principal photography for Like Water for Chocolate, 1992). The barely feature-length production was pointed squarely at the Spanish language video trade, meant to recoup its investment from sales out of Mexican supermarkets and video store rentals. Told he could likely clear $20,000 on such a sale but counting on only half that, Rodriguez and producer/star Carlos Gallardo devised a feature film that would cost considerably less than $10,000, guaranteeing them sufficient profit to finance a second film. Raising $9,000 (a third of this from his services as a research subject/guinea pig in pharmaceutical drug trials), Rodriguez operated his own 16mm camera, using a wheelchair for a dolly and a ladder for a crane, shooting without sound in Gallardo's hometown, where locations were free and where friends and family could play supporting roles and double as crew. Rodriguez shaved thousands from his budget by printing his mistakes and working them into the script, as well as by avoiding master shots. To lard out the film's brief running time (the shooting script for El Mariachi was only 40 pages from cover to cover), Rodriguez used slow motion wherever possible and relied on non sequitur cutaways to animals (a turtle who crawled across the highway during shooting, someone's pet dog) and children (a phantasmal street urchin whose bouncing soccer ball recalls the ghostly Melissa Graps of Mario Bava's Kill, Baby... Kill, 1966) to cover continuity gaffes and to smooth shot transitions. Rodriguez and Gallardo spent only $7,225 of their budget but their profit margin widened unexpectedly when El Mariachi was picked up for distribution by Columbia Pictures after performing well at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals and winning the Audience Award at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival. The studio's original aim was to remake El Mariachi for American audiences but when positive word of mouth from critics engendered audience interest, Columbia threw $100,000 into the hat to reedit, remix the sound, redo the subtitles and strike 35mm distribution prints. In limited release, El Mariachi grossed over $2 million, catapulting its creator (if nobody else involved with the production) into the major leagues. Rodriguez helmed Columbia's sequel/semi-remake Desperado (1995) and capped his "Mexican Trilogy" with Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003), both of which starred A-list heartthrob Antonio Banderas as the wandering and now vengeful mariachi. Rodriguez has since gone on to make several unrelated big budget feature films – among them From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), The Faculty (1998), the Spy Kids films, Sin City (2005) and the Planet Terror portion of the unabashedly retrograde two-fer Grindhouse (2007) – but none of them have the heart or bootstrap inventiveness of El Mariachi... proving that, even in movie-making, hunger really does make the best sauce. Producer: Carlos Gallardo, Robert Rodriguez Director: Robert Rodriguez Screenplay: Robert Rodriguez Cinematography: Robert Rodriguez Special Effects: Carlos Gallardo, Robert Rodriguez Music: Eric Guthrie, Chris Knudson, Alvaro Rodriguez, Mark Trujillo, Cecilio Rodriguez Film Editing: Robert Rodriguez Cast: Carlos Gallardo (El Mariachi), Consuelo Gomez (Domino), Jaime de Hoyos (Bigoton), Peter Marquardt (Mauricio), Reinol Martinez (Azul), Ramiro Gomez (Cantinero). C-81m. Closed captioning by Richard Harland Smith Sources: Rebel Without a Crew: How a 23 Year Old Filmmaker with $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player by Robert Rodriquez Robert Rodriguez interview, "The Mariachi Aesthetic Goes to Hollywood," Latino Images in Film, by Charles Ramirez Berg Robert Rodriguez biography by Deborah Jermyn, Contemporary North American Filmmakers: A Wallflower Critical Guide

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Winner of the Independent Feature Project/West's 1993 Spirit Award for best first feature. Film was also nominated for best director.

Released in United States 1993

Released in United States 2013

Released in United States April 2, 1993

Released in United States January 1993

Released in United States June 1993

Released in United States March 12, 1993

Released in United States on Video September 8, 1993

Released in United States September 1992

Released in United States September 1993

Released in United States Winter February 26, 1993

Shown at Deauville Film Festival September 3-13, 1993.

Shown at Melbourne International Film Festival June 4-18, 1993.

Shown at Sundance Film Festival (in competition) January 21-31, 1993.

Shown at Telluride Film Festival September 4-7, 1992.

Shown at Toronto Festival of Festivals (First Cinema) September 10-19, 1992.

Won the audience award in the drama category at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival.

Feature directorial debut for Austin filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, who raised part of the film's meager budget by checking himself into a drug research center in Austin, Texas, where he was a human guinea pig for a new cholesterol-lowering drug.

Released in United States 1993 (Won the audience award in the drama category at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival.)

Released in United States 2013 (Collection)

Released in United States January 1993 (Shown at Sundance Film Festival (in competition) January 21-31, 1993.)

Released in United States Winter February 26, 1993

Released in United States April 2, 1993

Released in United States June 1993 (Shown at Melbourne International Film Festival June 4-18, 1993.)

Released in United States March 12, 1993 (Chicago)

Released in United States September 1992 (Shown at Telluride Film Festival September 4-7, 1992.)

Released in United States September 1992 (Shown at Toronto Festival of Festivals (First Cinema) September 10-19, 1992.)

Released in United States September 1993 (Shown at Deauville Film Festival September 3-13, 1993.)

Shot in two weeks during the summer of 1991.

Released in United States on Video September 8, 1993