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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Cast

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
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Storyline

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 <rune@nvg.unit.no>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

10 October 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fickaraldo  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

SEK 1,793,870 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cinematographer Thomas Mauch's hand was split open trying to film the climax. He underwent a 2½ hour operation to put his hand back together again - and no anaesthesia was available. As he screamed and thrashed in agony, one of the two camp prostitutes (!) calmed him by pressing his head between her breasts. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald - 'Fitzcarraldo': How can anyone learn patriotism from a school book?
Young Missionary: The Government requires it.
Old Missionary: The natives get used to it. Like vaccination.
Young Missionary: The children already feel like little Peruvians. The other day I asked them, "Are you Indians?" "No," they said, "not we, the ones up the river, they are Indians." And then I asked. "What are Indians?" "They said to me "Indians are people who can't read and who don't know how to wash their clothes."
Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald - 'Fitzcarraldo': And what about the older people?
Old Missionary: Well, we can't seem to cure them of the...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Hindsight: I Never... (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

La Bohème
Written by Giacomo Puccini
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad...
27 January 2007 | by (Brisbane, Australia) – See all my reviews

This is a work of fiction, although the idea for the story and the name came from a real person who actually lived at Iquitos, Peru, and who was a rubber (not robber) baron in the eighteen-nineties.

Arguably, Klaus Kinski (as Fitzcarraldo) was born to play the main role – although Werner Herzog considered taking up the role himself. But, no one can play an eccentric the way Kinski did in this film. It's not Nosferatu (1979), but the wide, staring eyes are looking at you, all the time, in the same spooky way.

And, only an eccentric of the most magnificent kind would dare to take a 340-ton ship up the Amazon and carry it over a mountain down to another river! Isn't that just one of the craziest things you've ever heard of? Well, the truth is Herzog actually did do that and simply used Kinski as his surrogate to prance around the mud and clay, with the local Indians, and generally taking the praise for a job well done. There were no special effects – the production team actually pushed and pulled that hulk up a slope of hundreds of meters and then down to another river.

So, who was really crazy: Herzog or Fitzcarraldo?

Never mind that: just see this movie for the lush, primeval jungles of South America; for the rich tones of various opera singers, including Caruso (on a phonograph); for the stunning photography aboard the ill-fated Molly; for the antics of Kinski, as he thrashes around, pushing himself and others to the limits; for the army of local Indians, pulling the ship over the mountain; for the haunting sound-track provided by Popul Vuh, Herzog's perennial musical team of choice; and, of course, for the lovely Claudia Cardinale – past her prime but still remarkable...

I love this movie and I hope you do also. And, when you have seen it, then see Burden of Dreams (1982), the film that tells the story of the making of Fitzcarraldo. It's maybe better than the fiction...


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