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My Best Fiend (1999)

Mein liebster Feind - Klaus Kinski (original title)
1:30 | Trailer
In the 1950s, an adolescent Werner Herzog was transfixed by a film performance of the young Klaus Kinski. Years later, they would share an apartment where, in an unabated, forty-eight-hour ... See full summary »


Werner Herzog
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Werner Herzog ... Self - Narrator / Interviewer
Claudia Cardinale ... Self
Eva Mattes ... Self
Beat Presser Beat Presser ... Self
Guillermo Ríos ... Self (archive footage)
Andrés Vicente Andrés Vicente ... Self (archive footage)
Justo González Justo González ... Self
Benino Moreno Placido Benino Moreno Placido ... Self
Baron van der Recke Baron van der Recke ... Self
José Koechlin von Stein José Koechlin von Stein ... Self
Bill Pence Bill Pence ... Self
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Paul Hittscher Paul Hittscher ... Self (archive footage)
Mick Jagger ... Self - Wilbur (archive footage)
Klaus Kinski ... Self (archive footage)
Tom Luddy ... Self (archive footage)
Learn more

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In the 1950s, an adolescent Werner Herzog was transfixed by a film performance of the young Klaus Kinski. Years later, they would share an apartment where, in an unabated, forty-eight-hour fit of rage, Kinski completely destroyed the bathroom. From this chaos, a violent, love-hate, profoundly creative partnership was born. In 1972, Herzog cast Kinski in Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972). Four more films would follow. In this personal documentary, Herzog traces the often violent ups and downs of their relationship, revisiting the various locations of their films and talking to the people they worked with. Written by L.H. Wong <lhw@sfs.org.sg>

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Did You Know?


In some footage of one of his notorious on-set flare-ups, Klaus Kinski yells at Werner Herzog that he's "a dwarf director!" This apparently random insult is a specific reference to Herzog's movie Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970). See more »


Beat Presser: [Herzog and Presser are looking at Presser's famous picture of Kinski trying to strangle Herzog] I truly like this very much. It happened because he must have sensed the presence of your camera.
Beat Presser: He also just wanted to let you have it, didn't he?
See more »


References Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) See more »

User Reviews

Mein liebster Feind - Klaus Kinski (1999) - Ist mein liebling Dokumentarfilm
2 March 2007 | by Galina_movie_fanSee all my reviews

Werner Herzog: Every grey hair on my head, I call Kinski.

The documentary made by Werner Herzog tells about the legendary love-hate relationship between the director who was ready to climb to Hell for his every movie and border-line insane genius actor Klaus Kinski who might have been one of the creatures from Hell that Herzog had to face. It is hard to imagine two people more different than Herzog and Kinski: "...stone and waves, the coldest ice and hottest flames have more in common, differ less" but they both were driven and obsessed artists. Famous for his wild and ferocious talent and temperament to match, Kinski was incredibly difficult to work with. He wrote about himself, "I am a wild animal born in captivity, in a zoo but where beast would have claws, I have talent".

Kinski's talent was fully realized in five films that he made with Werner Herzog over a fifteen-year working period, starting with astounding "Aguirre, the Wrath of God" (1973), and then following with "Fitzcarraldo," "Nosferatu" (1979), inspired by Murnau's silent vampire classic; "Woyzeck" (1979), about a 19th century army private who seems mad to others because he looks and acts so differently from them, and "Cobra Verde" (1988). It is impossible to imagine any other actor starring in these films and they are without doubt the best Kinski ever made (and he made hundreds of films). Thanks to the Herzog's documentary we are able to learn what exactly went on behind the stunning images and unforgettable performances. According to Herzog, "people like Marlon Brando are just kindergarden comparing to Kinski. He is mad and unpredictable." They liked each other, they hated each other, and they respected each other at the same time making plans to murder each other.

Kinski, who respected Herzog, and valued his friendship, confessed to the director that in his autobiography he would describe their relationship in not very flattering terms - otherwise, the crowd would not read it. Herzog recalls how they both would sit together at the bench after the shooting and discuss what Kinski would write in his book. I am curious if they discussed and agreed upon the following passage and if Herzog helped Kinski with some of the colorful metaphors: "I absolutely despise this murderous Herzog! Huge red ants should p**s into his lying eyes, gobble up his balls, penetrate his a**hole and eat his guts."

Even after watching the fascinating documentary, it is difficult to fully understand the relationship between two giants but as Herzog admits, the only thing that counts is what we see on the screen and what we see is amazing.

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Germany | UK | USA


German | English | Spanish

Release Date:

7 October 1999 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

My Best Fiend See more »

Filming Locations:

Peru See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,677, 7 November 1999

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR


Black and White (archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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