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Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1980)

A short documentary in which directors Werner Herzog and Errol Morris make a bet which results in Herzog being forced to eat his own shoe.


Les Blank


Werner Herzog




Credited cast:
Werner Herzog ... Self
Tom Luddy ... Master of Ceremonies
Michael Goodwin Michael Goodwin ... Driver / Interviewer
Alice Waters ... Assistant Cook
Chris Strachwitz Chris Strachwitz ... Dwarf Voice (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Phil Harberts Phil Harberts ... Self


A passionate cook, acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog stuffs some culinary aromatics into his shoe and uses the laces to truss it like a chicken, before he sticks it into a pot with water and duck fat to stew it. It is so that he can bring the stewed shoe to one of the first screenings of Errol Morris' debut film Gates of Heaven (1978) to eat it. This act will fulfill his loss of a bet to Morris, who he met as a student filmmaker, that he would never be able to make a movie. The bet was not Herzog's attempt of a jab against Morris, but rather to support a struggling but gifted Morris in his quest to do whatever was required to finance a movie project. In the process of eating the shoe, Herzog wants to encourage other aspiring filmmakers, and to set an agenda of increasing what he calls adequate images as a true reflection of the world. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Short

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Herzog has something of a track record with this type of bet. When making "Even Dwarves Started Small" he promised his actors that if they all survived the shoot he would jump into a cactus patch for their amusement. They did, so did he, and he claims to still have some spines in his body as a result. See more »


[first lines]
Werner Herzog: If we speak of television it's just... ridiculous and destructive. It kills us. And talk-shows will kill us. They kill our language. So we have to declare holy war against what we see every single day on television, commercials and... I think there should be real war against commercials, real war against talk-shows, real war against Bonanza, Rawhide or these things.
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References Rawhide (1959) See more »


Old Whisky Shoes
Played by Walt Solek Band
Courtesy of Starr Records
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User Reviews

Very funny and even a little profound
23 September 2012 | by runamokprodsSee all my reviews

Entertaining, funny, and oddly thought provoking 20 minute short, in which, quite literally, director Werner Herzog eats his shoe.

He does it in response to a bet he made with then budding, but procrastinating film-maker Errol Morris. He told Morris that if he ever finally got a feature finished, he'd eat his shoe. And so he does, after cooking it, in front of a live audience before the local premiere of Morris' great first feature 'Gates of Heaven'.

As enjoyably silly as it all is, Herzog also makes some real points about needing to be willing to do foolish things to encourage art and artists, and that only by risking being absurd can we have the hope of transcending.

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Release Date:

October 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Flower Films See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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