Fitzcarraldo (1982)

PG  |   |  Adventure, Biography, Drama  |  10 October 1982 (USA)
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The story of Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, an extremely determined man who intends to build an opera house in the middle of a jungle.



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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Miguel Ángel Fuentes ...
Paul Hittscher ...
Captain (Orinoco Paul)
Huerequeque Enrique Bohorquez ...
Huerequeque (The Cook) (as Huerequeque Enrique Bohórquez)
Grande Otelo ...
Station master (as Grande Othelo)
Peter Berling ...
Opera Manager
David Pérez Espinosa ...
Chief of Campa Indians
Milton Nascimento ...
Black Man At Opera House
Ruy Polanah ...
Rubber Baron
Salvador Godínez ...
Old Missionary
Dieter Milz ...
Young Missionary
William Rose ...
Notary (as Bill Rose)
Leoncio Bueno


Fitzcarraldo is an obsessed opera lover who wants to build an opera in the jungle. To accomplish this he first has to make a fortune in the rubber business, and his cunning plan involves hauling an enormous river boat across a small mountain with aid from the local Indians. Written by Rune Sandnes <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






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Release Date:

10 October 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fickaraldo  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


SEK 1,793,870 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Werner Herzog fatuously claimed that the Indians were lucky that he had a doctor on set, failing to realize (or at least to admit) the fact that his policy of relocating diverse tribal groups in alien territory was bound to create inter-ethnic friction. The Indian extras, almost 1,000 in total, were housed in barrack room conditions. The food was appalling and medical supplies limited. There were not enough women to produce the Indians' staple, a drink made from manioc. The only diversion possible was soccer until the ball burst. One native died of malaria, sparking off a period of heightened tension. Some extras worked on the film for six months, their official rate of pay being around two dollars a day. The majority of them had been relocated hundreds of miles from their homes, families, and most importantly, their gardens. When the extras agreed to work on the film, they were unaware of two facts. First, that the project would take twice as long as Herzog had promised them. And second, that for most of this time the extras would work as laborers, clearing forest slopes and trying to haul a 365 ton ship up a 40-degree incline - a ship that was ten times larger than the original. See more »


During one of the boat drifting scenes, crew members can be seen at the top of the boat, including a man wearing jeans who tries to avoid being spotted by the camera. See more »


Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald - 'Fitzcarraldo': This church remains closed until this town has its opera house. I want the opera house.
[shouting and ringing the church bells]
Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald - 'Fitzcarraldo': I want my opera house! I want the opera house! This church remains closed until this town has its opera house. I want my opera house! I want my opera house! I want my opera house!
See more »


Referenced in An Opera of Violence (2003) See more »


Opera on board
from "I Puritani" by Vincenzo Bellini
Orquesta Sinfonica del Repertorio, Lima
Conducted by Maestro Manuel Cuadros Barr
Chorus Camerata Vocale "Orfeo"
Soli: Dona Elvira: Isabel Jiminez de Cisneros
Arturo: Liberio Simonella
Giorgio: Jesus Goiri
Walton: Christiam Mantilla
Music: Popul Vuh
Original recordings Enrico Caruso (1902/06) by RCA Victor
Richard Strauss from "Tod und Verklaerung"
See more »

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User Reviews

Herzog's films are deeply personal, visually exciting and uncompromising…

His films are perfect examples of the European tradition of the 'auteur' film, in which the director is seen as the originating and creative force behind the work… But there is also a sense that Herzog's visionary monomaniacs function as the director's alter ego, embodying the heroic status of the auteur, always struggling against recalcitrant reality to fulfill his dream…

This seems especially true of "Fitzcarraldo," which, sets a hundred years ago, begins with an Irish colonist who had a passion for opera rowing 1,200 miles down a South American river, accompanied by the madam of a brothel, in order to hear the great Caruso perform…

Inspired by this experience, Fitzcarraldo embarks on a grandiose plan to open up the Amazonian jungle to river transport, providing access to new rubber plantations and thereby making enough money to build an opera house…

Herzog's favorite actor, Klaus Kinski, is as appropriately manic as Fitzcarraldo, eyes glittering madly as he pursues his vision… In the central sequence he organizes a tribe of Indians to help him pull a steamboat across a mountain in order to by-pass dangerous rapids…

"Fitcarraldo" seems by turns admiring of its hero's megalomania and mocking of his hubris, with no illusions about the cynical exploitation of the region's riches by the rubber barons whom Fitzcarraldo tries to defeat by cleverness… Ultimately though, it is the sheer spectacle which we remember…

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US blu ray release January 2015 notvertigo
What's the advantage of getting the boat into the other river system? Stryke01
Am I the only one... shoobe01-1
Subtitles messed up in R4 release Gorgasm
Fitzcarraldo NOT in the Top 250? Absurd! niktemadur
language? thomasiversen
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