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Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)

Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes (original title)
Not Rated | | Adventure, Biography, Drama | 3 April 1977 (USA)
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In the 16th century, the ruthless and insane Don Lope de Aguirre leads a Spanish expedition in search of El Dorado.

Director:

Werner Herzog

Writer:

Werner Herzog
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4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Klaus Kinski ... Don Lope de Aguirre
Helena Rojo ... Inez
Del Negro Del Negro ... Brother Gaspar de Carvajal
Ruy Guerra ... Don Pedro de Ursua
Peter Berling ... Don Fernando de Guzman
Cecilia Rivera ... Flores
Daniel Ades Daniel Ades ... Perucho
Edward Roland Edward Roland ... Okello
Alexandra Cheves Alexandra Cheves ... (as Alejandro Chavez)
Armando Polanah Armando Polanah ... Armando
Daniel Farfán Daniel Farfán
Julio E. Martínez Julio E. Martínez ... (as Julio Martinez)
Alejandro Repullés Alejandro Repullés ... Gonzalo Pizarro
Indianern der Kooperative Lauramarca Indianern der Kooperative Lauramarca
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Storyline

A few decades after the destruction of the Inca empire, a Spanish expedition leaves the mountains of Peru and goes down the Amazon river in search of gold and wealth. Soon, they come across great difficulties and Don Aguirres, a ruthless man who cares only about riches, becomes their leader. But will his quest lead them to "the golden city", or to certain destruction? Written by Chris Makrozahopoulos <makzax@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A breathtaking journey into the heart of darkness. See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

West Germany | Peru | Mexico

Language:

English | Quechua | Spanish | German

Release Date:

3 April 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Aguirre, the Wrath of God See more »

Filming Locations:

Huayna Picchu, Peru See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$370,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Klaus Kinski's crazed performance bore similarities to the real Aguirre, a "true homicidal megalomaniac". Many of his fellow soldiers considered his actions to be that of a madman. Kinski's use of a limp reflected one that Aguirre actually had, the result of a battle injury. Aguirre's frequent short but impassioned speeches to his men in the film were accurately based on the man's noted "simple but effective rhetorical ability." See more »

Goofs

The raft caught in the whirlpool was circling all the time during the first day, but in the second day it stands still. See more »

Quotes

Okello: [Hallucinating] That is no ship. That is no forest.
[Arrow hits him]
Okello: That is no arrow. We just imagine the arrows because we fear them.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original released version is spoken in German. The actors spoke a variety of languages on set (including English), and the lines had to be re-recorded in post-production in the final language. Because of this, the dubbed English version is preferred by some. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Black Death (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Aguirre, Der Zorn Gottes (Lacrime Di Re)
Written by Florian Fricke
Performed by Popol Vuh
Published by Edition Intro Meisel
Courtesy of Gammarock Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant, beautiful and desperately disturbing
12 September 2005 | by mstomasoSee all my reviews

Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski's masterful achievement - Aguirre: The Wrath of God (Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes) is a rich and powerful film set deep in the the South American rain forest. Ostensibly a piece of historical fiction based on fragmentary evidence concerning one of the many ill-fated attempts to find and conquer the mythic El Dorado (a city of gold rumored to be anywhere from southern Canada to Patagonia), Aguirre operates on so many levels and reflects so many aspects of its story that it is difficult to convey precisely what the film is really about. It is too fictionalized (yet plausible) to fit comfortably in the "historical fiction" shoebox; the dialog is as much a presentistic bit of reflexive thinking as it is fitting for the historical context of the film; and the setting is so breathtaking that without a plot and without the brilliant concept and fantastic acting, the film would still be breathtaking and painful.

The opening scene, which very slowly depicts a caravan of Spanish soldiers, African and South American Indian slaves, burros, horses, cannons, and provisions making their way down a steep mountain path surrounded by miles of rain forest, is breathtaking and ominous, and sets not just the tone, but the pace of the film. Many people will find the pace a little too slow to handle. After a few minutes of struggle, the nobleman leader of the expedition throws in, and appoints a small number of participants to go forward into the jungle. Of these, only Lope Del Aguirre, a career soldier with vast ruthless ambition, and Ursua, a more gentle nobleman, are really leadership material. As the party floats down-river on rafts, it rapidly becomes clear by whose will the party continues on, and who will emerge as its sole leader in the end.

Herzog develops some of his usual themes in this film, and does so with poignancy and cinematography nothing short of beauty. The film is about power, madness, religion, oppression, nature, and culture, but certainly does not stop there. This is film as high art. Brilliantly executed, multi-faceted, moving, and as ambiguous as real life so often is.

This is also one of the great actor Klaus Kinski's most profound and appealing roles. Though Kinski was later typecast in mad, or at least eccentric, roles, as Aguirre he is able to show his range very effectively - because the character varies from a cold, brooding, Machiavellian rationalism to an obsessive sociopathic suicidalism. The rest of the cast rises to the challenge and acts right at Kinski's level, making this film one of the best actors/production team collaborations I have ever seen.

This film is definitely not for everybody, it is a long, slow sip of delicious and yet bitter wine which the typical movie-goer will only appreciate when 'in the mood' for something which requires thought and energy to watch. It is also one of my favorite films of all time.


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