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Promotional poster
Directed by Mel Gibson
Produced by Mel Gibson
Farhad Safinia
Bruce Davey
Ned Dowd
Written by Mel Gibson
Farhad Safinia
Starring Rudy Youngblood
Raoul Trujillo
Mayra Sérbulo
Dalia Hernández
Gerardo Taracena
Rodolfo Palacios
Bernardo Ruiz Juarez
Ammel Rodrigo Mendoza
Ricardo Diaz Mendoza
Israel Contreras
Music by James Horner and Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Cinematography Dean Semler
Editing by John Wright
Distributed by Icon Entertainment
United States
Touchstone Pictures
Release date(s) December 8, 2006
Running time 140 minutes
Country United States
Language Mayan
Budget $40 million
Gross revenue $120,654,337

Apocalypto is a 2006 film directed by Mel Gibson. Set in Yucatan, Mexico, during the declining period of the Mayan civilization, Apocalypto depicts the journey of a Mesoamerican tribesman who must escape human sacrifice and rescue his family after the capture and destruction of his village.

The film features a cast of Indigenous Mexicans and some Native Americans, and its Yucatec Maya dialogue is accompanied by subtitles.



The film begins with an epigraph from Will Durant: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within".

While hunting tapir in the Mesoamerican jungle in the early 16th century, Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood), his father Flint Sky (Morris Birdyellowhead), and their fellow tribesmen encounter a procession of traumatized and fearful refugees. Speaking in Yucatec Maya, the procession's leader explains that their lands have been ravaged, and asks for Flint Sky's permission to pass through the jungle. When Jaguar Paw and his tribesmen return to their village, Flint Sky tells his son not to let the procession's state of fear seep into him. At night, the tribe's elder tells the village a fable of man forever unable to fill his want, despite having been given the capabilities of all of the animals. The villagers follow the story with music and dance, leaving Jaguar Paw to ponder.

The next morning, Jaguar Paw wakes from a nightmare to see strangers enter the village and set the huts ablaze. The raiders, led by Zero Wolf (Raoul Trujillo), attack and subdue the villagers. Jaguar Paw slips out with his pregnant wife Seven (Dalia Hernández) and his little son Turtles Run, lowering them on a vine into a small cave (a chultun, shaped something like a well) to hide them. Jaguar Paw returns to the village to fight the raiders but is subdued with the rest of the tribe. A raider whom Jaguar Paw attacks and almost kills, the vicious Middle Eye (Gerardo Taracena), slits Flint Sky's throat while Jaguar Paw helplessly watches. Flint Sky's last words are to not be afraid. Middle Eye mocks Jaguar Paw by calling him "Oulak" ("Almost"), for failing to kill him. Before the raiders leave the village with their prisoners, one raider notices Jaguar Paw staring toward the ground cave. Suspicious of Jaguar Paw's attention to the cave, the raider severs the vine leading into it, trapping Seven and Turtles Run.

The raiders and their captives trek toward the Maya city, encountering razed forests, falling trees, failed maize crops, slaves producing plaster and the sick and dying. A small diseased girl prophesies that a man bringing the jaguar will bring the raiders to those who will scratch out the earth and end their world. In the city's outskirts, the female captives are sold as slaves and the males are escorted to the top of a step pyramid. The high priest sacrifices several captives by decapitating them after pulling out their beating hearts. When Jaguar Paw is about to be sacrificed, a solar eclipse (also prophesied by the girl) stays the priest's hand. He looks at the king, sitting nearby, and the two share a smile while the people below panic at the phenomenon. The priest declares the sun god Kukulkan is satisfied with the sacrifices. He asks Kukulkan to let light return to the world and the eclipse passes. The crowd cheers in amazement and the priest orders that the remaining captives be led away and disposed of.

Zero Wolf takes the villagers to a ball court. The captives are released in pairs and forced to run the length of the open space within the ball court, offering Zero Wolf's men some target practice, with a cynical promise of freedom should they reach the end of the field alive. However, Zero Wolf's son, Cut Rock, is sent to the end of the field to "finish" any survivors. The raiders target them with javelins, arrows, and slingstones as they run. Jaguar Paw is struck by an arrow through the abdomen but reaches the end of the field and breaks off the arrowhead. As Cut Rock approaches to finish him off with an obsidian blade, Jaguar Paw shoves the broken arrow into Cut Rock's throat and escapes. As Cut Rock bleeds out with Zero Wolf easing him into the next life, Jaguar Paw runs through a withered maize field and an open mass grave. The enraged Zero Wolf and his raiders pursue Jaguar Paw into the jungle and back toward Jaguar Paw's home, in a series of chases scenes that are a throwback to The Naked Prey, which serves as a model for the movie. Along the way, one of the raiders is killed by a black jaguar that has been disturbed by Jaguar Paw. As he flees, Jaguar Paw jumps over a high waterfall and survives, declaring from the riverbank below that the raiders are now in his homelands.

Zero Wolf's raiders jump the waterfall as well, then fall to both the forest's elements and Jaguar Paw's traps. A heavy rain sets in, which begins to flood the ground cave in which Jaguar Paw's wife and son are still trapped. Jaguar Paw kills one raider with poisoned darts, bludgeons Middle Eye in hand-to-hand combat and kills Zero Wolf by leading him into a trap meant for hunting tapir. He is chased by two remaining raiders out to a beach where they encounter what are assumed to be Spanish ships anchored off the coast, with soldiers and a priest making their way ashore in boats. The amazement of the raiders allows Jaguar Paw to flee. He returns into the forest to pull his wife and son out of the flooded pit where they are hiding, and where Seven has just given birth to a healthy second child. As the family walks near the coastline, Seven asks what the strange objects near the shore are. Jaguar Paw responds only that "they bring men". The family moves deeper into the forest, "to seek a new beginning", leaving behind the European ships off the beach.


  • Rudy Youngblood as Jaguar Paw
  • Dalia Hernández as Seven
  • Jonathan Brewer as Blunted
  • Morris Birdyellowhead as Flint Sky
  • Carlos Emilio Báez as Turtles Run
  • Amílcar Ramírez as Curl Nose
  • Israel Contreras as Smoke Frog
  • Israel Ríos as Cocoa Leaf
  • María Isabel Díaz as Mother-in-Law
  • Iazúa Laríos as Sky Flower
  • Raoul Trujillo as Zero Wolf
  • Gerardo Taracena as Middle Eye
  • Rodolfo Palacios as Snake Ink
  • Ariel Galván as Hanging Moss
  • Bernardo Ruiz as Drunkards Four
  • Ricardo Díaz Mendoza as Cut Rock
  • Richard Can as Ten Peccary
  • Carlos Ramos as Monkey Jaw
  • Ammel Rodrigo Mendoza as Buzzard Hook
  • Marco Antonio Argueta as Speaking Wind
  • Aquetzali García as Oracle Girl
  • María Isidra Hoil as Oracle Girl
  • Abel Woolrich as Laughing man




Screenwriter and producer Farhad Safinia first met director Mel Gibson while working as an assistant during the post-production of The Passion of the Christ. Eventually, Gibson and Safinia found time to discuss "their mutual love of movies and what excites them about moviemaking".[1]

We started to talk about what to do next, but we specifically spent a lot of time on the action-chase genre of filmmaking. Those conversations essentially grew into the skeleton of ('Apocalypto'). We wanted to update the chase genre by, in fact, not updating it with technology or machinery but stripping it down to its most intense form, which is a man running for his life, and at the same time getting back to something that matters to him
Farhad Safinia[1]

Gibson said they wanted to "shake up the stale action-adventure genre", which he felt was dominated by CGI, stock stories and shallow characters and to create a footchase that would "feel like a car chase that just keeps turning the screws."[2]

Gibson and Safinia were also interested in portraying and exploring an ancient culture as it existed before the arrival of the Europeans. Considering both the Aztecs and the Maya, they eventually chose the Maya for their high sophistication and their eventual decline.

The Mayas were far more interesting to us. You can choose a civilization that is bloodthirsty, or you can show the Maya civilization that was so sophisticated with an immense knowledge of medicine, science, archaeology and engineering ... but also be able to illuminate the brutal undercurrent and ritual savagery that they practiced. It was a far more interesting world to explore why and what happened to them.
Farhad Safinia[1]

The two researched ancient Maya history, reading both creation and destruction myths, including sacred texts such as the Popul Vuh.[3] In the audio commentary of the film's first DVD release, Safinia states that the old shaman's story (played by Espiridion Acosta Cache who is an actual modern day Maya storyteller[4]) was modified from an authentic Mesoamerican tale that was re-translated into the Yucatec Maya language by the young Maya professor Hilario Chi Canul who also acted as a dialogue coach during production. As they researched the script, Safinia and Gibson traveled to Guatemala, Costa Rica and the Yucatán peninsula to scout filming locations and visit Maya ruins.

Striving for a degree of historical accuracy, the filmmakers employed a consultant, Richard D. Hansen, a specialist in the Maya, assistant professor of archaeology at Idaho State University, and director of the Mirador Basin Project, an effort to preserve a large swath of the Guatemalan rain forest and its Maya ruins. Gibson has said of Hansen's involvement: "Richard's enthusiasm for what he does is infectious. He was able to reassure us and make us feel secure that what we were writing had some authenticity as well as imagination."[3]

Gibson is interested in using unfamiliar languages on film, having already used Aramaic, Latin and Hebrew in his religious blockbuster The Passion of the Christ. In Apocalypto, the dialogue is entirely in the Yucatec Maya language.[5] Gibson explains: "I think hearing a different language allows the audience to completely suspend their own reality and get drawn into the world of the film. And more importantly, this also puts the emphasis on the cinematic visuals, which are a kind of universal language of the heart."[3]


Mel Gibson chose a cast of actors who were from Mexico City, the Yucatán, or who were descendants of indigenous peoples of Canada and the United States. It was important for the director that "these characters have to be utterly believable as pre-Columbian Mesoamericans." Some of the youngest and oldest cast members were Maya who knew no language besides Maya and had never seen a tall building before.[6]

Gibson explained that he wanted to cast unknown actors so that they could play certain mythic types without the audiences associating them with prior roles. "In terms of casting it, you always have many choices. You can go against type, or with type. On this one I have purposely chosen an archetypal selection, casting it right with type, because of the obscure dialect and the unfamiliar period in which the story is set."[7] In addition to the lead actors, some scenes required as many as 700 extras.

Costumes and makeup

The production team consisted of a large group of make-up artists and costume designers who worked to recreate the Maya look for the large cast. Led by Aldo Signoretti, the make-up artists daily applied the required tattoos, scarification, and earlobe extension to all of the onscreen actors. According to advisor Richard D. Hansen, the choices in body make-up were based on both artistic license and fact: "I spent hours and hours going through the pottery and the images looking for tattoos. The scarification and tattooing was all researched, the inlaid jade teeth are in there, the ear spools are in there. There is a little doohickey that comes down from the ear through the nose into the septum – that was entirely their artistic innovation."[8] An example of attention to detail is the left arm tattoo of Seven, Jaguar Paw's wife, which is a horizontal band with two dots above – the Mayan symbol for the number seven.

Simon Atherton, an English armorer and weapon-maker who worked with Gibson on Braveheart, was hired this time to research and provide the Maya weapons. Gibson let Atherton play the cross-bearing Franciscan friar who appears on a boat at the end of the film.

Set design

Mel Gibson wanted Apocalypto to feature sets with actual buildings rather than relying on computer-generated images. Most of the step pyramids seen at the Maya city were models designed by Thomas E. Sanders. Sanders explained his approach, "We wanted to set up the Mayan world, but we were not trying to do a documentary. Visually, we wanted to go for what would have the most impact. Just as on Braveheart, you are treading the line of history and cinematography. Our job is to do a beautiful movie."[9]

However, while many of the architectural details of Maya cities are correct,[10] they are blended from different locations and eras,[10] a decision Farhad Safinia said was made for aesthetic reasons.[11] While Apocalypto is set during the post-classic period of Maya civilization, the central pyramid of the film comes from the classic period, which ended in A.D. 900.[11] Furthermore, the temples are in the shape of those of Tikal in the central lowlands classic style but decorated with the Puuc style elements of the north west Yucatan centuries later.[citation needed] Richard D. Hansen comments, "There was nothing in the post-classic period that would match the size and majesty of that pyramid in the film. But Gibson … was trying to depict opulence, wealth, consumption of resources."[11]

The set design of Apocalypto also blended elements of Maya art from different eras and locations. The mural in the arched walkway combined elements from the Maya codices, the Bonampak murals (over 700 years earlier than the film's setting), and the San Bartolo murals (some 1500 years earlier than the film's setting).[citation needed]


Gibson filmed Apocalypto mainly in Catemaco, San Andrés Tuxtla, and Paso de Ovejas in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The waterfall scene was filmed on a real waterfall called Salto de Eyipantla, located in San Andrés Tuxtla. Other filming by second-unit crews took place in El Petén, Guatemala, and in Great Britain. The film was originally slated for an August 4, 2006, release, but Touchstone Pictures delayed the release date to December 8, 2006, due to heavy rains and two hurricanes interfering with filming in Mexico. Principal photography ended in July 2006.

Apocalypto was shot on high-definition digital video, using the Panavision Genesis camera.[12] During filming, Gibson and cinematographer Dean Semler employed the use of Spydercam[13], a suspended camera system allowing shooting from atop. This equipment was used in a scene in which Jaguar Paw leaps off a waterfall.

We had a Spydercam shot from the top of [the] 150-foot (46 m) waterfall, looking over an actor's shoulder and then plunging over the edge –- literally in the waterfall. I thought we'd be doing it on film, but we put the Genesis [camera] up there in a light-weight water housing. The temperatures were beyond 100 degrees at [the] top, and about 60 degrees at the bottom, with the water and the mist. We shot two fifty-minute tapes without any problems – though we [did get] water in there once and fogged up.[12]

A number of animals are featured in Apocalypto, including a Baird's tapir and a black jaguar. Animatronics or puppets were employed for the scenes injurious to animals.[14]


The soundtrack to Apocalypto was composed by James Horner in his third collaboration with director Mel Gibson. The soundtrack lacks a traditional orchestral score and instead features a large array of exotic instruments and vocals by Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Distribution and marketing

While Mel Gibson financed the film through his Icon Productions, Disney signed on to distribute Apocalypto for a fee in certain markets. The publicity for the film started with a December 2005 teaser trailer that was filmed before the start of principal photography and before Rudy Youngblood was cast as Jaguar Paw. As a joke, Gibson inserted a subliminal cameo of the bearded director in a plaid shirt with a cigarette hanging from his mouth posing next to a group of dust-covered Maya.[15] A clean-shaven Gibson also filmed a Mayan-language segment for the introduction of the 2006 Academy Awards in which he declined to host the ceremony. On September 23, 2006, Gibson pre-screened the unfinished film to two predominantly Native American audiences in the US state of Oklahoma, at the Riverwind Casino in Goldsby, owned by the Chickasaw Nation, and at Cameron University in Lawton.[16] He also did a pre-screening in Austin, Texas, on September 24 in conjunction with one of the film's stars, Rudy Youngblood.[17] In Los Angeles, Gibson screened Apocalypto and participated in a Q&A session for Latin Business Association[18] and for members of the Maya community.[19] Due to an enthusiastic response from exhibitors, Disney opened the film on more than 2,500 screens in the United States.


According to Mel Gibson, the Mayan setting of Apocalypto is "merely the backdrop" for a more universal story of exploring "civilizations and what undermines them".[20]

The Australian version of the Apocalypto film poster.[21] The original theatrical poster acquired a nomination in the 36th Key Art Awards for the best Action Adventure poster.[22][23]

Although it is not directly expressed in the film, the background to the events depicted is the collapse of the Maya civilization, which the filmmakers researched before writing. According to historian Michael D. Coe, "Maya civilization in the Central Area reached its full glory in the early eighth century, but it must have contained the seeds of its own destruction, for in the century and a half that followed, all its magnificent cities had fallen into decline and ultimately suffered abandonment. This was surely one of the most profound social and demographic catastrophes of all human history."[24] Coe lists "environmental collapse" as one of the leading causes of the fall of the great empire, alongside "endemic warfare", "overpopulation", and "drought". "There is mounting evidence for massive deforestation and erosion throughout the Central Area. The Maya apocalypse, for such it was, surely had ecological roots," explains Coe.[25] The corrosive forces of corruption are illustrated in specific scenes throughout the film. Excessive consumption can be seen in the extravagant lifestyle of the upper-class Maya, their vast wealth contrasted with the sickly, the extremely poor, and the enslaved. Environmental degradation is portrayed both in the exploitation of natural resources such as the over-mining and farming of the land, but also through the treatment of people, families and entire tribes as resources to be harvested and sold to slavery. Political corruption is seen in the leaders' manipulation, the human sacrifice on a large scale, and the slave trade. The film shows slaves being forced to create the lime stucco cement that covered their temples, an act that some historians consider a major factor in the Maya decline. One calculation estimates that it would take five tons of jungle forestry to make one ton of quicklime. Historical consultant Richard D. Hansen explains, "I found one pyramid in El Mirador that would have required nearly 650 hectares (1,600 acres) of every single available tree just to cover one building with lime stucco... Epic construction was happening... creating devastation on a huge scale"[26]

The filmmakers intended this depiction of the Maya collapse to have relevance for contemporary society. The problems "faced by the Maya are extraordinarily similar to those faced today by our own civilization" co-writer Safinia stated during production, "especially when it comes to widespread environmental degradation, excessive consumption and political corruption".[3] Gibson himself has stated that the film is an attempt at illustrating the parallels between a great fallen empire of the past and the great empires of today, saying "People think that modern man is so enlightened, but we're susceptible to the same forces – and we are also capable of the same heroism and transcendence."[3][27] The film serves as a cultural critique – in Hansen's words, a "social statement" – sending the message that it is never a mistake to question our own assumptions about morality.[28]

However, Gibson has also stated that he wanted the film to be hopeful rather than entirely negative. While the title, Apocalypto, connotates destruction in English, Gibson has defined the title as "a new beginning or an unveiling — a revelation"; he says "Everything has a beginning and an end, and all civilizations have operated like that".[29] The precise translation of the Greek word (ἀποκαλύπτω or apokalýptō) is in fact a verb meaning "I uncover", "disclose", or "reveal".[30] Gibson has also said a theme of the film is the exploration of primal fears.[29]


The film was released in the United States on December 8, 2006, to generally positive reviews from film critics. Richard Roeper and guest critic Aisha Tyler on the television show Ebert & Roeper gave it "two big thumbs up" rating.[31] Michael Medved gave Apocalypto four stars (out of four) calling the film "an adrenaline-drenched chase movie" and "a visceral visual experience."[32] Overall, the review tallying website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 115 out of the 179 reviews they tallied were positive for a score of 64% and a certification of "fresh".[33]

As the film opened, there were rumors that the Mexican populace would riot and protest the film. But the film registered a wider number of viewers than Perfume and Rocky Balboa. It even displaced memorable Mexican premieres such as Titanic and Poseidon.[34] According to polls performed by the newspaper Reforma, 80% of polled Mexicans labeled the film as "very good" or "good".[34]

Apocalypto gained some passionate champions in the Hollywood community. Actor Robert Duvall called it "maybe the best movie I've seen in 25 years".[35][36] Director Quentin Tarantino said, "I think it's a masterpiece. It was perhaps the best film of that year. I think it was the best artistic film of that year."[37] Actor Edward James Olmos said, "I was totally caught off guard. It's arguably the best movie I've seen in years. I was blown away."[18]


Apocalypto has been recognized with numerous awards and nominations. For his role as producer and director of the film, Mel Gibson was given the Trustee Award by the First Americans in the Arts organization. Gibson was also awarded the Latino Business Association's Chairman's Visionary Award for his work on Apocalypto on November 2, 2006, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, California. At the ceremony, Gibson said that the film was a "badge of honor for the Latino community."[38] Gibson also stated that Apocalypto would help dismiss the notion that "history only began with Europeans".[39]




Representation of the Maya

The Washington Post wrote that the film depicts the Maya as a "super-cruel, psycho-sadistic society on the skids, a ghoulscape engaged in widespread slavery, reckless sewage treatment and bad rave dancing, with a real lust for human blood."[40] Just prior to its release, Apocalypto was criticized by activists in Guatemala, including Lucio Yaxon, who charged that the trailer depicts Maya as savages.[41] In her review of the film, anthropologist Traci Ardren wrote that Apocalypto was biased because "no mention is made of the achievements in science and art, the profound spirituality and connection to agricultural cycles, or the engineering feats of Maya cities".[42] Apocalypto also sparked a strong condemnation from art professor Julia Guernsey, who said, "I think it's despicable. It's offensive to Maya people. It's offensive to those of us who try to teach cultural sensitivity and alternative world views that might not match our own 21st-century Western ones but are nonetheless valid."[43]

Other writers felt that Gibson's film was more truthful about the Maya than other representations. One Mexican reporter, Juan E. Pardinas, wrote that "this historical interpretation bears some resemblances with reality […]. Mel Gibson's characters are more similar to the Mayas of the Bonampak's murals than the ones that appear in the Mexican school textbooks."[44] "The first researchers tried to make a distinction between the 'peaceful' Maya and the 'brutal' cultures of central Mexico", David Stuart wrote in a 2003 article. "They even tried to say human sacrifice was rare among the Maya." But in carvings and mural paintings, Stuart said: "we have now found more and greater similarities between the Aztecs and Mayas – including a Maya ceremony in which a grotesquely costumed priest is shown pulling the entrails from a bound and apparently living sacrificial victim".[45]

Historical consultant Richard D. Hansen states that the impact the film will have on Maya archaeology will be beneficial: "It is a wonderful opportunity to focus world attention on the ancient Maya and to realize the role they played in world history."[8] However, in an interview with the Washington Post, Hansen conceded the film "give[s] the feeling they're a sadistic lot," and said, "I'm a little apprehensive about how the contemporary Maya will take it."[46]

Human sacrifice

Apocalypto has been criticized for portraying a type of human sacrifice which was more typical of the Aztecs than of the Maya. Archaeologist Lisa Lucero said, "the classic Maya really didn't go in for mass sacrifice. That was the Aztecs."[11] Anthropology professor Karl Taube argued that, "We know the Aztecs did that level of killing. Their accounts speak of 20,000."[47] According to the film's technical advisor, the film was meant to describe the post-classic period of the Maya when fiercer influences like the Toltecs and Aztecs arrived. According to Hansen, "We know warfare was going on. The Postclassic center of Tulum is a walled city; these sites had to be in defensive positions. There was tremendous Aztec influence by this time. The Aztecs were clearly ruthless in their conquest and pursuit of sacrificial victims, a practice that spilled over into some of the Maya areas."[8] Anthropology professor Stephen Houston made the criticism that sacrifice victims were more likely to be royalty and elites rather than common forest dwellers, as shown in Apocalypto.[47] In contrast, Associate Professor William R. Fowler states that for major favors, worshippers "offered the gods human sacrifice, usually children, slaves, or prisoners of war".[48] Anthropology professor Karl Taube criticized the film's apparent depiction of widespread slavery, saying, "We have no evidence of large numbers of slaves."[47] Another disputed scene, when Jaguar Paw and the rest of captives are used as target practice, was acknowledged by the filmmakers to be invented as a plot device for igniting the chase sequence.[11] Some anthropologists objected to the presence of a huge pit filled with rotting corpses near their fields of the Maya.[10] Richard D. Hansen acknowledges that this is "conjecture", saying that "all [Gibson was] trying to do there is express the horror of it".[11]

The Washington Post reported that the famous Bonampak murals were digitally altered to show a warrior holding a dripping human heart, which is not present in the original.[49]

Arrival of the Spaniards

According to the DVD commentary track by Mel Gibson and Farhad Safinia, the ending of the film was meant to depict the first contact between the Spaniards and Mayas that took place in 1502 during the fourth voyage of Christopher Columbus.[50]

The thematic meaning of the arrival of the Europeans is a subject of disagreement. Traci Ardren wrote that the Spanish arrivals were Christian missionaries and that the film had a "blatantly colonial message that the Mayas needed saving because they were "rotten at the core". According to Ardren, the Gibson film "replays, in glorious big-budget technicolor, an offensive and racist notion that Maya people were brutal to one another long before the arrival of Europeans and thus they deserved, in fact they needed, rescue. This same idea was used for 500 years to justify the subjugation of Maya people".[42] On the other hand, David van Biema questions whether the Spaniards are portrayed as saviors of the Mayas, since they are depicted ominously and Jaguar Paw decides to return to the woods.[51] This view is supported by the reference of the Oracle Girl to those who would "Scratch out the earth. Scratch you out. And end your world."[52] However, recalling the opening quote to the film ("A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within"), professors David Stuart and Stephen Houston have written the implication is that the Maya are so evil that they were "a civilization...that deserves to die."[53]


  1. ^ a b c Nicole Sperling (December 15, 2006). "With help from a friend, Mel cut to the chase". The Washington Post. 
  2. ^ Tim Padgett (March 27, 2006). "Apocalypto Now". Time Magazine.,9171,1174684,00.html. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Apocalypto First Look". WildAboutMovies. 
  4. ^ "Official Apocalypto DVD Website". 
  5. ^ "Prophets-Apoc". 
  6. ^ Tim Padgett (March 9, 2006). "Mel Gibson's Casting Call". Time Magazine.,8599,1171771,00.html. 
  7. ^ Fred Schruers. "Q&A: Mel Gibson". Premiere Magazine. 
  8. ^ a b c "Mel Gibson's Maya". Archaeology 60 (1). January/February 2007"". 
  9. ^ Susan King (December 7, 2006). "Apocalypto's look mixes fact and fiction". Los Angeles Times. 
  10. ^ a b c Mark McGuire (December 12, 2006). "Apocalypto a pack of inaccuracies". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 2006-12-12. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Global Heritage Fund". Retrieved 2007-12-04. "About 25 members of the Maya community in Los Angeles were invited to an advance screening of Gibson's film last week. Two of those who attended came away impressed, but added that they too wished Gibson had shown more of the Maya civilization. "It was a great action film that kept me on the edge of my seat," said Sara Zapata Mijares, president and founder of Federacion de Clubes Yucatecos-USA. "I think it should have had a little bit more of the culture", such as the pyramids. "It could have shown a little more why these buildings were built." 
  12. ^ a b "Dion Beebe, Dean Semler, Tom Sigel, and others on Digital Cinematography". June 16, 2006. 
  13. ^ "spydercam: Info - Work History". 
  14. ^ "The First Tapir Movie Star?". 
  15. ^ Caryn James (December 22, 2005). "Suddenly, Next Summer". New York Times. 
  16. ^ "Gibson takes 'Apocalypto' to Oklahoma". Associated Press. 2006-09-23.;_ylt=At.UMCekCL7XVfunzQLqJiqs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3YXYwNDRrBHNlYwM3NjI-. Retrieved 2006-09-24. 
  17. ^ "Mel campaigns for new movie, against war in Iraq". Reuters. September 24, 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-25. 
  18. ^ a b Robert W. Welkos (November 13, 2006). "Gibson dives in". Los Angeles Times. 
  19. ^ Robert W. Welkos (December 9, 2006). "In Apocalypto, fact and fiction play hide and seek". Los Angeles Times. 
  20. ^ Reed Johnson (Octobe 29, 2005). "Mel Gibson's latest passion: Maya culture". Los Angeles Times. 
  21. ^ "Movie Poster Awards Archive: November 2006". 
  22. ^ "Sunshine, Pirates, Borat top Key Art noms". 
  23. ^ "MCN Press Release: THR Key Arts Awards". 
  24. ^ Michael D. Coe, The Maya 7th ed, Thames & Hudson, 2005, pg 161.
  25. ^ Michael D. Coe "The MAYA" 7th ed, pg 162-63
  26. ^ "Production Notes: The Heart of Apocalypto". 
  27. ^ "Mel Gibson criticizes Iraq war at film fest - Troubled filmmaker draws parallels to collapsing Mayan civilization". Associated Press. September 25, 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-12. 
  28. ^ "Gibson film angers Mayan groups". December 8, 2006. Retrieved 2007-06-29. 
  29. ^ a b "Lost Kingdom: Mel Gibson's Apocalypto". ABC Primetime. November 22, 2006. 
  30. ^ "Making Yucatec Maya "cool again"". Language Log. November 7, 2005. Retrieved 2007-06-29. 
  31. ^ Ebert & Roeper air date December 10, 2006
  32. ^ Apocalypto review by Michael Medved (Microsoft Word document)
  33. ^ "Apocalypto" at Retrieved January 11, 2008.
  34. ^ a b "Califican con 7.6 a Apocalypto". Reforma. January 30, 2007. 
  35. ^ "Robert Duvall interview". Premiere. March 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  36. ^ David Carr (February 12, 2007). "Apocalypto's Biggest Fan". Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  37. ^ Interview with Quentin Tarantino, FILMINK Magazine, August 2007.
  38. ^ "Gibson honored by Latino business group". 
  39. ^ " - Events". 
  40. ^ Culture Shocker, Washington Post, December 9, 2006
  41. ^ "Gibson film angers Mayan groups". BBC. December 8, 2006. 
  42. ^ a b "Is "Apocalypto" Pornography?". Archaeology Magazine. December 5, 2006. 
  43. ^ Chris Garcia (December 6, 2006). "Apocalypto is an insult to Maya culture, one expert says". American-Statesman. 
  44. ^ "Nacionalismo de piel delgada". Reforma. February 4, 2007.. "Translation from the original in Spanish: "La mala noticia es que esta interpretación histórica tiene alguna dosis de realidad […]. Los personajes de Mel Gibson se parecen más a los mayas de los murales de Bonampak que a los que aparecen en los libros de la SEP"". 
  45. ^
  46. ^ Culture Shocker, Washington Post, December 9, 2006
  47. ^ a b c William Booth (December 9, 2006). "Culture Shocker". Washington Post. 
  48. ^ "Maya Civilization". Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2008. Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. 
  49. ^ Culture Shocker, Washington Post, December 9, 2009
  50. ^ "The Fourth Voyage of Christopher Columbus (1502)". Athena Review 2 (1). Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  51. ^ David van Biema (2006-12-14). "What Has Mel Gibson Got Against the Church?". Time Magazine.,8599,1570108,00.html. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  52. ^ "Memorable quotes from Apocalypto". Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  53. ^ Culture Shocker, Washington Post, December 9, 2006

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Apocalypto is a 2006 film, set in the declining period of the Maya civilization, depicting the journey of a Mesoamerican tribesman who must escape human sacrifice and rescue his family after the capture and destruction of his village.

Directed by Mel Gibson. Written by Mel Gibson and Farhad Safinia.
When the end comes, not everyone is ready to go. taglines


Jaguar Paw

  • I am Jaguar Paw. This is my forest. And I am not afraid.
  • I am Jaguar Paw, son of Flint Sky. My Father hunted this forest before me. My name is Jaguar Paw. I am a hunter. This is my forest. And my sons will hunt it with their sons after I am gone.
  • Resting fathers, fly me your strength.

Zero Wolf

  • [about Jaguar Paw] When I catch him, I will peel his skin and have him watch me wear it.

Snake Ink

  • The omen was foretold, and now we have a fear more grave. Today I saw the day become like night. I saw a man run with the jaguar. We must not let this man make feet from us.

Oracle Girl

  • You fear me? So you should. All you who are vile. Would you like to know how you will die? The sacred time is near. Beware the blackness of day. Beware the man who brings the jaguar. Behold him reborn from mud and earth. For the one he takes you to will cancel the sky, and scratch out the earth. Scratch you out. And end your world. He's with us now. Day will be like night. And the man jaguar will lead you to your end.

High Priest

  • [performing a sacrifice] O warrior, unafraid and willing, with your blood you renew the world! From age to age! Thanks be to you.

Old Story Teller

  • And a Man sat alone, drenched deep in sadness. And all the animals drew near to him and said, "We do not like to see you so sad. Ask us for whatever you wish and you shall have it." The Man said, "I want to have good sight." The vulture replied, "You shall have mine." The Man said, "I want to be strong." The jaguar said, "You shall be strong like me." Then the Man said, "I long to know the secrets of the earth." The serpent replied, "I will show them to you." And so it went with all the animals. And when the Man had all the gifts that they could give, he left. Then the owl said to the other animals, "Now the Man knows much, he'll be able to do many things. Suddenly I am afraid." The deer said, "The Man has all that he needs. Now his sadness will stop." But the owl replied, "No. I saw a hole in the Man, deep like a hunger he will never fill. It is what makes him sad and what makes him want. He will go on taking and taking, until one day the World will say, 'I am no more and I have nothing left to give.'"


Jaguar Paw: The heart... for Smoke Frog.
Smoke Frog: Thank you.
Jaguar Paw: This liver for Curl Nose.
Curl Nose: Thank you.
Jaguar Paw: Cocoa Leaf... the ears.
Cocoa Leaf: Thank you.
Jaguar Paw: And for you Blunted... the balls.
Blunted: Not this again.

[Blunted is given the potion to rub on himself]
Blunted: If this works... she won't bother me.
Flint Sky: Your wife?
Blunted: No, her mother. The old hag wants grandchildren.

Flint Sky: Those people in the forest, what did you see on them?
Jaguar Paw: I do not understand.
Flint Sky: Fear. Deep rotting fear. They were infected by it. Did you see? Fear is a sickness. It will crawl into the soul of anyone who engages it. It has tainted your peace already. I did not raise you to see you live with fear. Strike it from your heart. Do not bring it into our village.

Seven: What are they?
Jaguar Paw: They bring men.
Seven: Should we go to them?
Jaguar Paw: We must go to the forest. To seek a new beginning. Come, Turtles Run...


  • When the end comes, not everyone is ready to go.
  • No one can outrun their destiny.
  • Takes out the fear residing deep inside our hearts.


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