This Cult Classic Western Was John Lennon’s Favorite Movie
The Beatles gave us cult classic movies like Yellow Submarine and Help! It’s only fitting that John Lennon’s favorite movie was a cult classic Western. The movie in question is one of the most bizarre Westerns ever made. Fascinatingly, the director of the film said multiple rock stars connected with his work.
John Lennon loved a cult classic Western movie with a heavy dose of mysticism
Alejandro Jodorowsky is a surrealist filmmaker whose movies are like Salvador Dalí paintings come to life. According to Wired, John’s favorite movie was Jodorowsky’s mystical Western El Topo. The film is about an outlaw called El Topo (Spanish for “The Mole”) who becomes a holy man in a landscape filled with Judeo-Christian and occult imagery.
During a 2011 interview with Interviews with Icons, Jodorowsky discussed John’s relationship with the film. “I was lucky because of rock ‘n’ roll,” explained Jodorowsky. “When I brought El Topo to New York, no one understood the picture, but John Lennon understood. John Lennon and Yoko Ono, they presented El Topo in the United States, they introduced it.”
Alejandro Jodorowsky had 3 rock star fans even thought he doesn’t like rock music
Despite the bizarre nature of his movies, some of them became box office successes. This might be because audiences were more interested in surrealism during the 1960s and 1970s. “I was working in complete isolation,” said Jodorowsky. “Nobody knew what I was doing or why I was doing it or where I was doing it. No one understood. They said I was crazy. Even the actors didn’t understand. When I did these films, it was a surprise to the industry. It was a big surprise that they would make a lot of money.”
Jodorowsky found fans in three avant-garde rock stars: John, Peter Gabriel of Genesis, and Marilyn Manson. “I don’t know why, because I am not rock ‘n’ roll, but these young people, there are always more young people who come to see the movies and I think that is why, because of these musicians,” the director said. “I was very lucky in this way, that they understood what I was saying.” Considering that John, Gabriel, and Manson all gave the world some incredible, unorthodox art, it makes sense they would be on Jodorowsky’s wavelength.
How John Lennon helped Alejandro Jodorowsky make another cult classic
John’s love of El Topo has a significant effect on Jodorowsky’s career. The Guardian reports the “Imagine” singer convinced The Beatles’ manager, Allen Klein, to purchase the rights to the film. John also gave Jodorowsky $1 million to help make his next movie, The Holy Mountain.
The Holy Mountain is similarly surreal. Its series of tableaus comment on so many topics, including Christianity, the Spanish Empire, children’s place in society, the planets, and Rosicrucianism. Klein later tried to get Jodorowsky to film The Story of O, an infamous erotic novel, but the director refused. Jodorowsky maintains a major cult following.
John has an incredible legacy and part of that is bringing Jodorowsky’s films to a wider audience.