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Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)
"Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes" (original title)

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In the 16th century, the ruthless and insane Don Lope de Aguirre leads a Spanish expedition in search of El Dorado.

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Title: Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Helena Rojo ...
Del Negro ...
Ruy Guerra ...
Peter Berling ...
Cecilia Rivera ...
Daniel Ades ...
Edward Roland ...
Alejandro Chavez
Armando Polanah ...
Daniel Farfán
Julio E. Martínez ...
(as Julio Martinez)
Alejandro Repullés ...
Indianern der Kooperative Lauramarca
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Storyline

A few decades after the destruction of the Inca empire, a Spanish expedition leaves the mountains of Peru and goes down the Amazon river in search of gold and wealth. Soon, they come across great difficulties and Don Aguirres, a ruthless man who cares only about riches, becomes their leader. But will his quest lead them to "the golden city", or to certain destruction? Written by Chris Makrozahopoulos <makzax@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

spanish | river | expedition | spain | power | See more »

Taglines:

A breathtaking journey into the heart of darkness. See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

3 April 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aguirre, the Wrath of God  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$370,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Near the end of the shooting, Werner Herzog thought he had lost all the negatives that the film was shot on. He later discovered that the shipping agency at the Lima airport had completed all paperwork that accompanied the transportation of the film cans, but had not actually shipped them. The cans were thought lost for several weeks before the oversight was revealed. See more »

Goofs

One of the main characters in the first part of the film, Gonzalo Pizarro, actually died in 1548 - twelve years before the film is set (1560). See more »

Quotes

Don Lope de Aguirre: I am the wrath of God.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Wings of Hope (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Aguirre, Der Zorn Gottes (Lacrime Di Re)
Written by Florian Fricke
Performed by Popol Vuh
Published by Edition Intro Meisel
Courtesy of Gammarock Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Incredibly intense film
23 October 2006 | by (The Dutch Mountains) – See all my reviews

AGUIRRE: THE WRATH OF GOD (Werner Herzog - West Germany 1972).

Herzog's daring and unconventional approach in film-making is something very few filmmakers can match. Due to the incredible hardships while filming on location in the Amazonian jungle, the myth surrounding AGUIRRE has almost outgrown the virtues of the film itself and over the years it has become an almost integral part when (re)viewing this film, even more so since Herzog's documentary MY BEST FIEND (1999) was released about his relationship with "best enemy" and star in many of his films, Klaus Kinski.

A mesmerizing exploration of human obsession based on the diaries of Gaspar de Varvajal, a monk who accompanied Gonzalez Pizarro (half-brother of the brutal conqueror of the Incas) and died during the expedition, the film chronicles Pizarro's 1560 Peruvian expedition in search of the legendary city of gold, El Dorado. When the expedition is faltering by the difficult terrain, Pizarro decides to send a small party ahead to determine if exploration should continue. Though Don Pedro de Ursua (Ruy Guerra) is put in charge, he is soon challenged by the ambitious fanatical Aguirre (Klaus Kinski), who against all odds wants the journey to continue, with catastrophic consequences.

One of the key elements in Herzog's work is the use of landscape and the natural surroundings. The Amazonian jungle is a key third dimension in the film and really is a green hell, threatening and unforgiven. There's no romanticism in Herzog's view of nature. The continuing sounds of the running water and the birds are just as important for the story and the despair of Aguirre's men as the ambient electronic soundtrack by the German ensemble Popol Vuh, the ultimate modern and very German pioneers in electronic music, mixing choral chants with electronic samples and organ music. To me it is simply astonishing Herzog decided to use their in a film about 16th century Spanish explorers shot on location in the Amazon and somehow it works wonderfully, a perfect blend of image and sound. Hard to identify a very important element of the "natural soundtrack": what's the name of the bird that produces this whistling shriek, that is heard almost continuously in the background and is one of the most recognizable sounds of Neo-tropical rain forests? A Quetzal?

Klaus Kinski's performance is a perfect match for Aguirre's descent into madness, eerily resemblant to Kinski's own Mad Kraut persona and well-published rampant behavior on the set and his misconduct in general actually. Watching the film for the first time with audio commentary by Herzog and he revealed many things I never heard before. One of the strangest anecdotes is not really about the film itself but is, well..truly one of the most bizarre things I ever heard.

Before the shooting started, Herzog and his crew were boarding for the plane that would bring them from Lima to Cuzco when the airplane had some technical problems. Since the airline company in question already had two or three serious accidents not long before, they decided to wait and take the next plane. Repaired or not, the plane left off anyway and crashed in the Amazonian jungle with the only survivor a young German woman, Juliane Koepcke. After weeks she finally reached a remote Indian village, malnourished, an almost fatal larval infection, close to death. Later Herzog would make a documentary about this, JULIANES STURZ IN DEN DSCHUNGEL (English title: Wings of Hope) (2000). Besides the already astonishing, many times near-fatal accidents and Kinski's impossible madman behavior, this film seemed doomed from the start, like an old curse from the Incas.

For those less familiar with Herzog's work, FITZCARRALDO (1982), also by Herzog and shot under equally horrendous conditions in the Peruvian jungle, would make a good companion piece. For Herzog's relationship with Kinski there is the interesting documentary MEIN LIEBSTER FEIND (My best fiend) (1999).

Camera Obscura --- 10/10


40 of 47 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Didn't hurt as much... lonelybirthday
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