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Encounters at the End of the World (2007)

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Film-maker Werner Herzog travels to the McMurdo Station in Antarctica, looking to capture the continent's beauty and investigate the characters living there.



Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Scott Rowland ...
Himself - Transportation Dept.
Stefan Pashov ...
Himself - Philosopher, Forklift Driver
Doug MacAyeal ...
Himself - Glaciologist (as Douglas MacAyeal)
Ryan Andrew Evans ...
Himself - Filmmaker, Cook (as Ryan A. Evans)
Kevin Emery ...
Himself - Survival School Instructor
Olav T. Oftedal ...
Himself - Nutritional Ecologist
Regina Eisert ...
Herself - Physiologist
David R. Pacheco Jr. ...
Himself - Journeyman Plumber
Samuel S. Bowser ...
Himself - Cell Biologist
Jan Pawlowski ...
Himself - Zoologist
William Jirsa ...
Himself - Linguist, Computer Expert
Karen Joyce ...
Herself - Traveler, Computer Expert
Libor Zicha ...
Himself - Utility Mechanic
Ashrita Furman ...
Himself - Multiple World Record Holder


'Werner Herzog' takes his camera to Antarctica where we meet the odd men and women who have dedicated their lives to furthering the cause of science in treacherous conditions. A scientist studies neutrinos, which are everywhere, yet elusive; he likens them to spirits. A researcher's nighttime performance art includes contorting her body into a luggage bag. A survival guide teaches his students to survive white-out conditions by wearing cartoon-face buckets over their heads. Animal researchers milk mother seals as part of their study. Volcanologists offer advice on what to do when a volcano erupts. A pipefitter shows us the anomaly in his hands that he says are a sign he descended from Atzec royalty. A former Colorado banker drives what he has christened Ivan the Terra Bus. An underwater diver shows his colleagues DVDs of apocalyptic sci-fi films like Them! (1954). And -- though Herzog declares he's not "making another film about penguins" -- we meet a penguin researcher who answers ... Written by J. Spurlin

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Official Sites:




Release Date:

18 July 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rencontres au bout du monde  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$17,730 (USA) (13 June 2008)


$943,934 (USA) (31 October 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Werner Herzog dedicated the film to Roger Ebert, who he calls a true "warrior of cinema". Due to the dedication Ebert could not review the film, but he wrote a complimentary letter to Herzog and later published it. See more »


Doug MacAyeal: Unlike Scott and Shackleton, who viewed the ice as this sort of static monster that had to be crossed to get to the South Pole, we scientists now are able to see the ice as a dynamic living entity that is sort of producing change, like the icebergs that I study. For me it's been a wild wide. First of all I found out that the iceberg that I came down to study not only was larger than the iceberg that sank the Titanic, it was not only larger than the Titanic itself, but it was larger than the ...
See more »


References March of the Penguins (2005) See more »


Il Est Digne en Verite
from Basso Profundo
See more »

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User Reviews

A truly beautiful look at Antarctica and the fascinating people who work there
5 September 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I had a chance to see Werner Herzog's latest documentary at the Telluride Film Festival, where it received great buzz and very high praise upon its debut. Herzog informed the audience that he was shown some footage taken by a photographer in Antarctica while doing post-production on Grizzly Man and he was immediately entranced by what he saw. From this he was compelled to visit the continent and shoot some footage of his own, which became Encounters at the End of the World.

The film perfectly balances both gorgeous footage of the continent as well as fascinating interviews and anecdotes of the many researchers and workers of the McMurdo research station. There are many humorous moments, such as a scene in which visitors must go through a follow-the-leader type exercise before being allowed to venture out into the wild. Participants in the exercise must wear buckets adorned with ridiculous caricatures over their heads in order to simulate a whiteout. They must then try to follow each other as a group and find a researcher a distance away. Herzog simply observes as the participants fail over and over to find the researcher, which left the audience laughing for minutes on end. Another excellent scene has Herzog interviewing an expert on penguins, who goes into some of their more bizarre behavior, such when penguins go insane. In both cases, Herzog features striking footage and amusing interviews and narration.

The film fits in well with Herzog's already substantial canon. It is a beautiful look at a beautiful continent populated by a forklift driver with a PhD, a woman who once traveled to South America in a sewage pipe on the back of a truck, researchers who play electric guitars on top of research station to celebrate discovering three new species of aquatic life in one day, and many more. Their stories converge where all the lines on the map meet at the end of the world. Herzog shot the film with a crew of just himself and the camera operator, and the result is a film with some of the most beautiful footage I've ever seen. Do not miss this when it receives general release!

79 of 90 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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A Rambling movie without direction in need of editing, wait for DVD pezzhull
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Dedicated to Roger Ebert? romanticnihilist
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