Woyzeck (1979)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  24 August 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 6,314 users  
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Franz Woyzeck is a hapless, hopeless soldier, alone and powerless in society, assaulted from all sides by forces he can not control.



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Complete credited cast:
Eva Mattes ...
Wolfgang Reichmann ...
Willy Semmelrogge ...
Josef Bierbichler ...
Drum Major
Paul Burian ...
Volker Prechtel ...
Handwerksbursche (as Volker Prechtl)
Dieter Augustin ...
Irm Hermann ...
Wolfgang Bächler ...
Rosemarie Heinikel ...
(as Rosy-Rosy Heinikel)
Herbert Fux ...
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

Plot Keywords:

soldier | coffin | dancing | blood | murder | See All (18) »




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 August 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Werner Herzog's Woyzeck  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Klaus Kinski began filming this after having only a week-long break after the completion of Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979), also directed by Werner Herzog. Kinski exploited his exhaustion for his character in this film. 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 (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

Left Elbow Index
6 November 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Left Elbow Index considers seven specific elements of a film on a scale of 10 to 1, with 10 being highest, to help in deciding if a film is worth watching: acting, sets, dialogue, plot, character, continuity, and artistry. The acting in this film is superb and thereby rates a 10. Klaus Kinski is exceptional, so much so that it unlikely anyone else could do nearly as well in this role. He is simply stunning. In this regard, it is beyond Shakespearian. Werner Herzog, in his well publicized love-hate relation with Kinski, claims people like Brando are just kintergarten compared to Kinski--no faint praise, indeed. The sets is this film seem carefully planned and constructed. They are appropriate and uncontrived, whether indoors or out, therefore a 9. Dialogue rates a 10 in that it is at times appropriately ironic, profound, or normal. It all cases one listens to every word. The film is replete with dozens of unforgettable lines, like: "Death should be cheap but it should not be free" (by the pawnbroker selling the knife) and "When she got to the moon she found it was made of rotted wood" (by Marie). The Index believes that the plot is an 8, mostly because there seems to be some misleading action. Perhaps this is related to Woyzeck's mental state. It seems unlikely that a sane person could follow his trail. Character development rates a 10, whether related to major or to minor characters. Continuity (an 8) results in a consistent view of the action. For example, the role of the military, morality for the poor, the idea that the poor will work in heaven, and other ideas never escape the intellectual frame of the film. Consistent costuming lends to this. Herzog's background in history and the humanities certainly provides an easy 10 rating for artistry. His use of light and dark rivals that of the THE POTATO EATERS, the kitchen scene with Marie reminds one of GIRL SITTING BY THE WINDOW, and there are other traditional allusions. Herzog says he made the film in just eighteen days, and edited the cuts in just four days. He claims that is how it should be, that it was perfect. Perfect, of course, is an imperfect word. I'm not certain I would claim this film is perfect: however, it is exceptional enough for me to put it on my "see often" list. The Index gives it a 9.3---a bonus for dealing with the absurdity of human existence pushes it closer to a 10. I strongly recommend this film.

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knife question (SPOLIER ALERT) pamela-71
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