Los Golfos [which criticizes Spain's social structure] was obviously subjected to several cuts before being allowed out of Spain, and for this reason is difficult to judge as a complete work….
Saura handles his subject in a harsh but not unsympathetic way. He avoids most of the pitfalls into which most Western directors fall when dealing with delinquents who find robbery an attractive substitute for work. But his film does have two major failings: he gives little insight into the characters of the boys and the motivating circumstances which have led to their present existence (here again this may be due to censorship ties); and he lets his camera roam excessively in street and market sequences. But for all its shortcomings Los Golfos has the imprint of a director who has a natural flair for cinematic invention. Saura's use of background noise for dramatic effect is at times ingenious, and his pictorial images have a compelling effect. His comments, if at times cynical (it is the most likeable of the five who becomes the victim of mob vengeance), make their point.
It demands attention and a good deal of thought, in spite of the mutilation to which it has been subjected.
Robin Bean, "'The Hooligans'" (© copyright Robin Bean 1961; reprinted with permission), in Films and Filming, Vol. 8, No. 3, December, 1961, p. 31.