35 user 58 critic

Woyzeck (1979)

Not Rated | | Drama | 24 August 1979 (USA)
Franz Woyzeck is a hapless, hopeless soldier, alone and powerless in society, assaulted from all sides by forces he can not control.



3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Cobra Verde (1987)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

During the 1800s, paroled Brazilian bandit Cobra Verde is sent to West Africa with a few troops to man an old Portuguese fort and to convince the local African ruler to resume the slave trade with Brazil.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Klaus Kinski, King Ampaw, José Lewgoy
Stroszek (1977)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

In Berlin, an alcoholic man, recently released from prison, joins his elderly friend and a prostitute in a determined dream to leave Germany and seek a better life in Wisconsin.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Bruno S., Eva Mattes, Clemens Scheitz
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The foreman of a small village glassworks dies without revealing the secret to the famous "Ruby Glass".

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Josef Bierbichler, Stefan Güttler, Clemens Scheitz
Fitzcarraldo (1982)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The story of Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, an extremely determined man who intends to build an opera house in the middle of a jungle.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale, José Lewgoy
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In the 1950s, an adolescent Werner Herzog was transfixed by a film performance of the young Klaus Kinski. Years later, they would share an apartment where, in an unabated, forty-eight-hour ... See full summary »

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Werner Herzog, Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Herzog's film is based upon the true and mysterious story of Kaspar Hauser, a young man who suddenly appeared in Nuremberg in 1828, barely able to talk or walk, and bearing a strange note.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Bruno S., Walter Ladengast, Brigitte Mira
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Jonathan and Lucy live in Wismar and the Count wants a house there. Varna is a port on the Black Sea, close to Dracula's castle.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

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

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Klaus Kinski, Ruy Guerra, Helena Rojo
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The inhabitants of an institution in a remote country rebel against their keepers. Their acts of rebellion are by turns humorous, boring and alarming. An allegory on the problematic nature ... See full summary »

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Helmut Döring, Paul Glauer, Gisela Hertwig
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A geologist employed by an Australian mining company finds himself disputing the rights of some aborigines who believe their land to be sacred.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Bruce Spence, Wandjuk Marika, Roy Marika
Documentary | Biography | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A study of the psychology of a champion ski-jumper, whose full-time occupation is carpentry.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Walter Steiner, Werner Herzog
Lebenszeichen (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A wounded German paratrooper named Stroszek is sent to the quiet island of Kos with his wife Nora, a Greek nurse, and two other soldiers recovering from minor wounds. Billeted in a decaying... See full summary »

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Peter Brogle, Wolfgang Reichmann, Athina Zacharopoulou


Complete credited cast:
Eva Mattes ...
Wolfgang Reichmann ...
Willy Semmelrogge ...
Josef Bierbichler ...
Drum Major
Paul Burian ...
Handwerksbursche (as Volker Prechtl)
Dieter Augustin ...
Wolfgang Bächler ...
Rosemarie Heinikel ...
Käthe (as Rosy-Rosy Heinikel)
Thomas Mettke
Maria Mettke


Everything in town appears calm, placid, lovely. But Woyzeck, a rifleman assigned as an orderly, hears voices -- the times are out of joint, at least in his cosmos. To his captain, Woyzeck is a comic marvel: ignorant but courageous, full of energy to little purpose. To a local doctor, Woyzeck is a curiosity, the object of cruel study. Woyzeck, 40, has a young wife, Marie, and a small child. He dotes on them, but Marie, even though she has periods of guilt and remorse, carries on affairs and flirtations. When the captain lets drop broad hints of Woyzeck's being a cuckold, his inner demons and the voices of the spheres take over. Will madness bring action? Of what sort? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 August 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Werner Herzog's Woyzeck  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The entire 80-minute film was shot with only 27 cuts. See more »


As a barber, Woyzeck smears some foam on the Captain's forehead, but when the camera changes, the foam's gone. See more »


Marie: [to her man during a fight] I'd rather have a knife in my body than your hand on me.
See more »


Version of Woyzeck (1976) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

7 June 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The picture on the film's IMDb page spoils a major plot point, so make of that what you will. Unfortunately, I saw it before I watched the film.

After loving nearly every minute of the previous Herzog-Kinski collaborations, I was excited to dig my teeth into this one since I had the DVD laying around.

Unfortunately, it turned out to be a step down in nearly every category.

It's based on a stage play, so naturally, it feels more staged than its predecessors, and thus, it felt visually lacking for the most part. Don't get me wrong, though, I admired the use of lighting and shadows in certain shots, and thought the general framing was quite good. But there was rarely a shot that caught my attention and made me go, "Wow, that's great", like in Nosferatu, where there are several amazing images - I revisited that film for the first time last night. I almost feel bad for revisiting Nosferatu in such close approximation as watching Woyzeck for the first time, because it only served to illuminate just how much worse the latter is.

Kinski's presence in Aguirre and Nosferatu was extremely powerful; unforgettable, dare I say. I couldn't take my eyes off him in those films. Here, he plays a character who may have sounded interesting on paper, but turned out to be, I don't want to say bland, as Kinski did a very good job playing Woyzeck, but it's just not a character I cared to witness in action for nearly an hour and a half. He's the type of character who's psychologically damaged and gets driven insane by everything he's witnessed in society, and most likely when he was in war, which we don't get to witness. We just know he's a soldier with severe mental problems, and we get to see how he goes about his day and behaves, which is in a very unusual way. He also has to deal with getting abused at his job, by his superiors, and having to deal with his wife having apparent sexual relations with other men.

Back to the ending. Although I knew it was coming, I still found it to be an affecting sequence, as the terrific combination of Kinski's facial expressions, slow-mo, music, and the sheer brutality of the act made it a sequence I won't soon forget. Even more impressive is the fact it was all done in one take. Kinski was completely in the moment, not once seeming to be distracted. In the moments after that, he continues to be great, as he acknowledges that his wife was a necessary sacrifice for him to be free. And we notice in the dancing scene that his wife's death took a huge load off of him. That doesn't last for long, though, as people notice the blood on him and start to become suspicious that he killed someone. Woyzeck goes back to the murder scene to try and wash the blood of his wife off of him, but realizing that such a cruel act could never simply be "erased" from memory, and that murder is truly in his nature, he seemingly hallucinates and then drowns in the pond right by his wife's dead body. The final shot is of his dead wife covered up and about to be put into a coffin, with apparently some words from the play up on the screen.

This has went on for too long, so I'm going to end this by saying that although this has become my least favorite feature length Herzog film, it had enough strengths for me to consider it above average, which says a lot about how much I admire Herzog as a director. Since I own it, it'll be easy for me to revisit the film when I feel like giving it a second chance, too.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: