Remembering Chespirito’s Often Overlooked Film Career

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Acclaimed Mexican comedian Roberto Gomez Bolaños, known as “Chespirito,” died on Friday at the age of 85 in Cancun. Even though he’s mostly known and celebrated for the characters he created for television — including El Chavo del Ocho and El Chapulín Colorado — Chespirito also had considerable success in cinema having acted in several films, writing various screenplays, and directing a handful of feature films.

As a screenwriter, Gómez Bolaños worked on numerous comedy films between 1959 and 1970. His first incursion into film as an actor was in 1960 in the comedy film Dos locos en escena directed by Agustín P. Delgado and starring popular comedians Viruta and Capulina. He also appeared in several other films including Dos criados malcriados (Agustín P. Delgado, 1960), El mundo loco de los jóvenes (José María Fernández Unsaín, 1967), Operación Carambola (Alfredo Zacarías, 1967), and El Zángano (Agustín P. Delgado, 1968).

In 1979, based on the success of his television shows, he wrote and starred in the film El Chanfle which was directed by Enrique Segoviano. The film follows the adventures of a a water boy for a Mexican club soccer team who sees thwarted the dream of having a child after 10 years of marriage. The film was a huge success at the box office in Mexico and other countries in Latin America. Based on the popularity of the film, Chespirito himself wrote and directed the sequel El Chanfle II in 1982.

He went on to direct three other feature films starring the same actors from his popular TV shows: Don Ratón y Don Ratero (1983), Charrito (1994), and Música de viento (1988).

In 1996 he was appointed director of Televicine, the film arm of the Mexican media conglomerate Televisa. In his tenure as director of Televicine the company produced La última llamada (Carlos García Agraz, 1996), Elisa antes del fin del mundo (Juan Antonio de la Riva, 1997), and La primera noche (Alejandro Gamboa, 1998).

This article originally appeared on Cinema Tropical’s blog TropicalFRONT and was re-posted with permission.

Dos locos en escena

This film, starring comedians Marco Antonio Campos “Viruta” and Gaspar Henaine “Capulina” along with Flor Silvestre and Marina Camacho, marked Chespirito’s film acting debut.

Director: Agustín P. Delgado
Year: 1960

Dos criados malcriados

Don Antonio wants one of his two daughters to marry a count in another one starring Viruta and Capulina but soon they discover the count is not what they expected.

Director: Agustín P. Delgado
Year: 1960

El mundo loco de los jóvenes

An undercover spy uses a rock band as a cover for his operation.

Director: José María Fernández Unsaín
Year: 1967

Operación Carambola

Two clumsy and absent-minded spies (Capulina and Chespirito) are hired to save the world from a nuclear attack.

Director: Alfredo Zacarías
Year: 1967

El Zángano

Capulina travels to Mexico City in search of his millionaire uncle, who eventually offers him a job at his rather large company. When things start to go wrong, Capulina visits a psychologist (played by Chespirito).

Director: Agustín P. Delgado
Year: 1968

El chanfle / El chanfle 2

Enrique Segoviano, Roberto Gómez Bolaños

The two films chronicle the misadventures of the ever-hapless El Chanfle, water boy for the Club America soccer team, whose constant daydreaming, schemes, financial misfortunes, and marital woes are a source of endless laughter. Both films were enormously successful in Latin America and remain enduringly popular.

Synopsis By: Gary Terracino

Don Ratón y Don Ratero

In Mexico City, two rival groups of robbers declare war against each other.

Director: Roberto Gomez Bolaños
Year: 1983


Chespirito reaches beyond his normal fun-loving characters and plays a villain in this comedic Western.

Director: Roberto Gomez Bolaños
Year: 1994

Música de viento

Chespirito stars as Quevedo who works Public Relations at a company that is involved in some shady business deals.

Director: Roberto Gomez Bolaños
Year: 1988