Death and the Compass (1992)


Alex Cox (REPO MAN) directed this stylized adaptation of Jorge Luis Borges labyrinthine detective story about a totalitarian city of the future plagued by a rash of bizarre crimes. Peter Boyle stars as Lonnrot, a decidedly even headed detective prone to philosophizing and Christopher Eccleston is his nemesis, Red Scarlach, whom Lonnrot believes could be behind these ritualistic crimes. Set in a surreal landscape that provokes Lonnrot’s philosophical musings and leads him through mystical cabals and conspiracies within conspiracies, DEATH AND THE COMPASS is a remarkable adaptation of Borges’ story, and a fascinating, often exhilarating film.

Director: Alex Cox.
Writers: Jorge Luis Borges (story), Alex Cox.
Stars: Peter Boyle, Miguel Sandoval, Christopher Eccleston, Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez, Karl Braun, Pedro Armendáriz Jr., Alonso Echánove, Eduardo López Rojas, Alex Cox, Gabriela Gurrola, Ariane Pellicer, Rene Pereyra, Mario Iván Martínez, Roberto Sosa, Bruno Bichir, María Fernanda García, Abel Woolrich, Martin LaSalle, Luis de Icaza, Claudio Brook, Leticia Alvarado, Cecilia Montiel, Manuela Loaeza, Regina Reyes, Sandrine Lacon, Cassandra, Marco Rosado, Jesús Hernández, Carlos Millet, Gerardo Moscoso.


Note: The original 55-minute version conceived for the BBC/Spanish TV can be downloaded from here or here (low quality, Spanish audio, no subtitles). I’m guessing an English language version of the TV cut also exists since it was made for the BBC, sadly this version can’t be found anywhere on the internet.

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  1. Jonathan Shapiro
    March 6, 2022

    Amazing film from the perennially underrated Alex Cox.

  2. March 15, 2022

    I have the original BBC version of Death And The Compass, though I can’t vouch for its quality after all these years. I recorded the original broadcast in 1992 on the oldest VHS cassette I own, which itself dates back to perhaps as long ago as 1979.

    • Jon W.
      March 15, 2022

      Hey Barton, that’s a great find, I’ll be definitely interested in seeing the original version, do you have a way to digitize it by any chance? If not let me know maybe we can figure a way to do it, I know someone in the UK who can digitize it and won’t charge anything, he’s reliable, just let me know, feel free to drop me an email if you want.
      Thank you,

  3. Dan
    June 11, 2022

    I have a DVD rip that used to be in the old torrent sources years ago, it is SD but the quality is decent enough if that helps. It is in English.

    • Jon W.
      June 11, 2022

      Hey Dan,
      Could you email me a link for it? It’s the shorter BBC version right? My email is, we can talk about more about it there 🙂

      Thank you!

  4. April 18, 2023

    I have a noticeably better quality version, of the full length film, than what’s here. I emailed RareFilmms to see if they want it. Hopefully they can replace this one.

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