- Awesome Music: The theme song, "The Desert Is A Circle," especially the version used in the trailers.
- Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Actually, maybe El Topo is Jesus. Or perhaps Siddhartha?
- Complete Monster: In this surreal allegory of religion and philosophy, it is The Colonel who proves himself to be purely evil for his own entertainment, despite only being El Topo's first prominent opponent. The leader of a band of eccentric and cruel bandits whom he considers to be his "dogs", the Colonel keeps a woman as his personal slave—with heavy implications of rape—and has all the inhabitants of a village massacred, including the children, impaling a woman and hanging men from the ceiling of a church. Arriving at a Franciscan mission, the Colonel turns the town into a graveyard littered with dozens of corpses by allowing his men to use the civilians as targets for shooting practice or simply randomly murder whoever they want.
- This Is Your Premise on Drugs: Spaghetti Western on acid. Can also be considered a Buddhist Western. El Topo's quest to be the best gunslinger has many parallels to the quest for personal enlightenment, and each one of the Masters has a philosophy that, while ultimately getting them killed at El Topo's hands, nevertheless causes him a Heroic BSoD after defeating them. He even kills himself by setting himself on fire while sitting in lotus position, an obvious parallel to Buddhist monks who have done the same.
- True Art Is Incomprehensible
- Values Dissonance: The amount of animal cruelty is staggering. An entire scene features roughly a hundred bunnies, only for them to be shown dead and dying on screen within a minute (and several minutes later, set on fire.) It should be noted, however, that the dead bunnies are not the same who were alive; Jodorowsky bought dead rabbits for the scene, since he's against animal cruelty and a vegetarian.
YMMV / El Topo