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Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)

aka Aguirre, the Wrath of God

"On this river, God never finished his creation."

Directed By: 
Written By: 
Details: 93 mins · English, Deutsch, German


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Small Don Lope de Aguirre
No_movie_poster Inez
No_movie_poster Gaspar de Carvajal
No_movie_poster Don Pedro de Ursua
No_movie_poster Don Fernando de Guzman
No_movie_poster Flores
No_movie_poster Okello
No_movie_poster Perucho
No_movie_poster Armando
No_movie_poster Gonzalo Pizarro


Small Werner Herzog Director
No_movie_poster Popol Vuh Original Music Composer
No_movie_poster Thomas Mauch Director of Photography
No_movie_poster Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus Editor
No_movie_poster Herbert Prasch Sound Designer
Small Werner Herzog Production
Small Werner Herzog Writer
No_movie_poster Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus Editing


"On this river, God never finished his creation."

"A breathtaking journey into the heart of darkness."


In 1560, a thousand Spanish conquistadors, and a score of captured Indians, march down from Quito in the Andes mountains into the jungle below. Under the command of Gonzalo Pizarro (Alejandro Repullés), the party's mission is to find El Dorado. The men, clad in half armor, pull cannons through narrow mountainous paths and hot, thickly humid jungle. After much difficulty, on New Year's Eve, Pizarro orders a small expeditionary group of forty men to continue ahead by rafting down a river in search of El Dorado. If they do not return to the main party within one week with news of what lies beyond, they will be considered lost. Pizarro chooses Don Pedro de Ursúa (Ruy Guerra) as the commander of the expedition, Don Lope de Aguirre (Klaus Kinski) as his second-in-command, fat nobleman Don Fernando de Guzmán (Peter Berling) representing The Royal House of Spain and brother Gaspar de Carvajal (Del Negro) as a chronicler. Also accompanying the expedition, against Pizarro's better judgment, are Ursúa's mistress, Doña Inéz (Helena Rojo) and Aguirre's young daughter, Florés (Cecilia Rivera, in her only film role).

One of the four rafts becomes separated from the others and gets caught in a whirlpool. A rescue team is unable to approach them. Gunfire erupts on the raft that night, and in the morning all of the men on board are dead. Ursúa wants the bodies to be brought back to camp for proper burial. Knowing this would slow down the expedition, Aguirre orders Perucho (Daniel Ades) to fire a cannon at the raft, which sinks, and the corpses are lost in the river.

During the night, the remaining rafts are swept away by the rising river. Since supplies start to run out and things get progressively worse, Ursúa decides that their mission is hopeless and orders them to return to the main group. Wanting power, Aguirre takes the opportunity to lead a rebellion against Ursúa, telling the men that untold riches await them ahead. Ursúa and a soldier loyal to him are shot. Ursúa's mistress, Inéz (Helena Rojo), cares for them. Aguirre coerces the soldiers to elect the fat, lazy Don Fernando de Guzman as the new leader of the expedition. Aguirre proclaims Fernando Emperor in the New World, declares Philip II dethroned. A farcical trial of Ursúa results in his being sentenced to death, but Fernando surprises Aguirre by granting Ursúa clemency.

Aguirre proves to be an oppressive leader, so terrifying that few protest his leadership. Those who complain are killed. Only Inez has the courage to speak out against him. Knowing that some of the soldiers are still loyal to Ursúa, Aguirre simply ignores her.

The expedition continues on a single, newly built, large raft. An Indian couple approaching with a canoe is captured by the explorers, but when the man expresses confusion at the sight of a Bible, Brother Gaspar de Carvajal (Del Negro) has the man and his wife killed for blasphemy. Fernando dines on the low food supplies while the men are starving, and has the expedition's only horse pushed off the raft because it annoys him. Soon after, he is found strangled near the raft's outhouse. After Fernando's death, Aguirre proclaims himself leader. Ursúa is then taken ashore and hanged in the jungle. The group attacks an Indian village, where many of the soldiers are killed by spears. The distraught Inez walks into the jungle and disappears.

Aguirre is now the ruler of a group of slowly starving, hallucinating men. The group gapes in awe at a wooden ship perched in the highest branches of one of the tall trees. In a final Indian attack, all remaining survivors including Aguirre’s daughter are killed by arrows. Aguirre remains alone on the slowly drifting raft. The raft becomes overrun by monkeys. The crazed Aguirre tells them: "I, the Wrath of God, will marry my own daughter and with her I will found the purest dynasty the world has ever seen. Together, we shall rule this entire continent. We shall endure. I am the Wrath of God!"

Release Dates:

DVD : 2000-10-24