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Fitzcarraldo (1982)

The story of Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, an extremely determined man who intends to build an opera house in the middle of a jungle.

Director:

Werner Herzog

Writer:

Werner Herzog
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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:
Klaus Kinski ... Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald - 'Fitzcarraldo'
Claudia Cardinale ... Molly
José Lewgoy ... Don Aquilino
Miguel Ángel Fuentes ... Cholo
Paul Hittscher Paul Hittscher ... Captain (Orinoco Paul)
Huerequeque Enrique Bohorquez Huerequeque Enrique Bohorquez ... Huerequeque (The Cook) (as Huerequeque Enrique Bohórquez)
Grande Otelo Grande Otelo ... Station master (as Grande Othelo)
Peter Berling ... Opera Manager
David Pérez Espinosa David Pérez Espinosa ... Chief of Campa Indians
Milton Nascimento ... Black Man At Opera House
Ruy Polanah Ruy Polanah ... Rubber Baron
Salvador Godínez Salvador Godínez ... Old Missionary
Dieter Milz Dieter Milz ... Young Missionary
William Rose William Rose ... Notary (as Bill Rose)
Leoncio Bueno 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

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

West Germany | Peru

Language:

German | Spanish | Italian

Release Date:

10 October 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fickaraldo See more »

Filming Locations:

Brazil See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

Right after Molly christens the boat, they hug, and as they are hugging, actor Krause Kinski glances up at the camera, not once, but twice. 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 Discovering 'Evil Dead' (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Daphnis et Chloë
by Maurice Ravel
See more »

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User Reviews

Of Opera And Headhunters
23 August 2009 | by LechuguillaSee all my reviews

One of the strangest films I have seen in some time tells the story of a South American rubber baron named Brian Fitzgerald, better known as Fitzcarraldo (Klaus Kinski), a man who dreams of building an opera house in the jungles of the Amazon.

With his white coat, white hat, and his bleached blonde hair, Fitz is quite an eccentric. In a social context, he's an outsider. But he has a bold vision. His romantic sidekick is a woman named Molly (Claudia Cardinale). As a compliment to Fitz, she speaks the film's theme: "It's only the dreamers who move mountains".

After some preparation early in the film, Fitz and crew set sail up the Amazon on a huge boat, to stake out a claim for their business that will bring in the money to advance Fitzcarraldo's dream. The boat is equipped with all the necessities, which include, naturally, a gramophone to play the operatic music of Enrico Caruso. And the best sequences of the film are those set in the remote jungle, as the boat moves through a large tributary of the Amazon, into headhunter territory. With the gramophone blaring out opera amid the sound of Indian war drums, it's the unusual contrast between the primitive and the cultural that makes this film interesting.

Filmed entirely in South America, the story is set in the early years of the twentieth century, long before the advent of television or automobiles.

Color cinematography is quite good. This is a very physical story. Most scenes take place outdoors. And the remoteness of the setting conveys a sense of doom, a sense of unknown terror and foreboding.

While the visuals are stunning, some aspects of the story I'm just not sure about. I never did figure out the significance of the ice. Is that a reward for Indian cooperation? If so, how can ice be preserved in a land without electricity? And without electricity, isn't the whole idea of an opera house in the wilderness a tad ludicrous? Maybe these questions are all answered and I just missed them. Even so, these issues could have been better addressed in the script.

Not as deeply thematic as "Aguirre: The Wrath Of God" (1972), Werner Herzog's "Fitzcarraldo" nevertheless is an unusual film, one that is worth watching for its stunning visuals and thematic contrasts, its physicality, and the eccentric character of Fitzcarraldo, the dreamer who can move mountains.


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