Directed by Werner Herzog, Germany 1982
157 mins. German, Spanish and Asháninka dialogue with English sub-titles
German filmmaker Werner Herzog has never done anything by halves. When he tackled this story of an obsessed impresario Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald - Fitzcarraldo as the natives called him (Klaus Kinski) - whose foremost desire in life is to bring both Enrico Caruso and an opera house to the deepest jungles of South America, the director boldly embarked on the same journey, disdaining studios, process shots, and special effects throughout. The highlight of the story is Fizcarraldo's Herculean effort to haul a 300-plus ton steamship over the mountains. No trickery was used in filming this grueling sequence, and stories still persist of disgruntled South American film technicians awaiting the opportunity to strangle Herzog if he ever set foot on their land again. In the end, Herzog proved to be as driven and single-purposed as his protagonist, and it is the audience's knowledge of this that adds to the excitement of 'Fitzcarraldo'. Co-starring Claudia Cardinale.
What the Critics say:
"As a document of a quest and a dream, and as the record of man's audacity and foolish, visionary heroism, there has never been another movie like it."  (Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times)