Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes to the Germans, is an independent 1972 German film written and directed by Werner Herzog. Klaus Kinski stars in the title role. The soundtrack was composed and performed by German progressive/Krautrock band Popol Vuh. The fame of Aguirre has continued to grow since its release. Its visual style and narrative elements had a strong influence on Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 film Apocalypse Now.
Several critics have declared the film a masterpiece.
Aguirre belongs to the genre of adventure but more closer in spirit to Greed than to Kurasowa’s Seven Samurai.
Framed The 1650-51 expedition of Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Pizarro (Alejandro Repulles) comes stuck in the thick, impenetrable jungles of Peru. As a last-ditch effort to locate treasure, Pizarro orders a party to scout ahead for signs of El Dorado, the fabled seven cities of gold. In command are a trio of nobles, Pedro de Ursua (Ruy Guerra), Fernando de Guzman (Peter Berling), and Lope de Aguirre (Kinski). Traveling by river raft, the explorers are besieged by hostile natives, disease, starvation and treacherous waters. Crazed with greed and mad with power, Aguirre takes over the enterprise, slaughtering any that oppose him. If Greed had Death valley and thirst to drive the last nail on the greed of McTague and Marcus, in Aguirre we have Nature and Aguirre’s own nature: his unquenchable thirst for glory. Using a minimalist story and dialogue, the film creates a vision of madness and folly, played out in the heart of a lush but unforgiving Amazonian jungle.
Don Lope de Aguirre: I, the wrath of God, will marry my own daughter and with her I’ll found the purest dynasty the earth has ever seen. Who but a madman will speak this while we see him in charge of nothing but a raft of corpses and chattering monkeys.
(ack: Karl Williams-all movie)
Herzog’s films are personal in his manner of myth making: use of a striking imagery which connects at different points in the film gives his visual narrative certain unity. For example the valley in Crete with its hundreds of rotating windmills in Signs of Life (1967) or the camera tracking the lonely Aguirre on his raft in the backwaters of the Amazon jungle. That brings me to his landscape which becomes a kind of reference point, a moral coda to the inner workings of man as in Aguirre. Landscape and the mindscape are brought together and the ethereal score of Popol Vuh sustains the mood.
Don Lope de Aguirre: That man is a head taller than me. That may change.
Don Lope de Aguirre: Perucho, don’t you think the cannon might be a little bit rusty?
Perucho: It might.
Don Lope de Aguirre: I am the great traitor. There must be no other. Anyone who even thinks about deserting this mission will be cut up into 198 pieces. Those pieces will be stamped on until what is left can be used only to paint walls. Whoever takes one grain of corn or one drop of water… more than his ration, will be locked up for 155 years. If I, Aguirre, want the birds to drop dead from the trees… then the birds will drop dead from the trees. I am the wrath of god. The earth I pass will see me and tremble. But whoever follows me and the river, will win untold riches. But whoever deserts…
Don Lope de Aguirre: I am the wrath of God. Who else is with me?
Don Lope de Aguirre: I am the wrath of God.
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.
Directed by Werner Herzog
Produced by Werner Herzog
Written by Werner Herzog
Music by Popol Vuh
Cinematography Thomas Mauch
Editing by Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus
Release date(s) December 29, 1972
Running time 100 min
Country West Germany
Fitzcarraldo (1982, Werner Herzog)
Apocalypse Now (1979, Francis Ford Coppola)
The Mosquito Coast (1986, Peter Weir)
El Dorado (1988, Carlos Saura)
Cobra Verde (1988, Werner Herzog)
The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage (1996, Paul Seydor)
Apocalypse Now Redux (2001, Francis Ford Coppola)
Last of the Dogmen (1995, Tab Murphy)
1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992, Ridley Scott)
The Desert Within (2008, Rodrigo Plá)
Movies with the Same Personnel
Fitzcarraldo (1982, Werner Herzog)
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1975, Werner Herzog)
Wo Die Grünen Ameisen Träumen (1984, Werner Herzog)
Signs of Life (1968, Werner Herzog)
Burden of Dreams (1982, Les Blank)
Woyzeck (1978, Werner Herzog)
Stroszek (1977, Werner Herzog)
Heart of Glass (1976, Werner Herzog)
Other Related Movies
is related to: Woyzeck (1978, Werner Herzog)
My Best Fiend (1999, Werner Herzog)
Reverse Shot: Rebellion of the Filmmakers (2007, Laurens Straub, Dominik Wessely)
Q’ero: In Search of the Last Incas (1993, Zadoc Nava)
* Although the opening titles claim the film was based on “the diary of the monk Gaspar de Carvajal”, director Werner Herzog has stated that there is no historical basis for the story and that the monk’s diary was invented to lend it more credence. However, a diary of Carvajal does in fact exist, but Carvajal was not part of any expedition with Aguirre, but rather part of one 20 years earlier to the interior.
* Near the end of the shooting, Werner Herzog thought he had lost all the negatives that the film was shot on. He later discovered that the shipping agency at the Lima airport had completed all paperwork that accompanied the transportation of the film cans, but had not actually shipped them. The cans were thought lost for several weeks before the oversight was revealed.
* Many of the scenes depicted in the film were unrehearsed and unstaged. Herzog did not storyboard a single frame of the film. All of it was shot and framed spontaneously.
* Werner Herzog claims to have written the screenplay in two and a half days.
* During one scene set in a native village, Klaus Kinski hits one of the crewmen over the head with his sword. The blow nearly killed the man, and only his helmet saved his life.
* Klaus Kinski claimed at one time that while filming the final scene, he was actually bitten by some of the monkeys.
* Ranked #46 on Entertainment Weekly’s “Top 50 Cult Films of All-Time”
* This was the first Werner Herzog film with Klaus Kinski. It was the start of an extremely stormy, and sometimes violent, professional relationship that lasted 15 years,
* The complete crew comprised only eight people.
* Klaus Kinski …. Lope de Aguirre
* Helena Rojo …. Inez de Atienza
* Ruy Guerra …. Don Pedro de Ursúa
* Del Negro …. Brother Gaspar de Carvajal
* Peter Berling …. Don Fernando de Guzman
* Cecilia Rivera …. Florés de Aguirre
* Daniel Ades …. Perucho
* Edward Roland …. Okello
* Armando Polanah …. Armando
* Alejandro Repullés …. Gonzalo Pizarro
* Justo González …. González
(ack:all movie,imdb.wikipedia, Ingo Petzke)
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