Best of… Series – 1982 – Fitzcarraldo

As a way to mix some of my old reviews in with my new reviews, I’m doing a Best of… Series. In this series, I will review my favorite movie of each year.

Fitzcarraldo (Werner Herzog, 1982)

I think to have a true appreciation for this film, you have to understand a little about Klaus Kinski. Kinski plays the lead role in Fitzcarraldo, and is a Werner Herzog regular. To be frank, the man is insane. He’s wild, vulgar, and crazy, and most of the roles I’ve seen him play match his personality perfectly. In Fitzcarraldo, though, he plays a calm, mostly kind man and he nails it. As strange a premise as the film has (Fitzcarraldo wants to build an opera house in the jungle and attempts to pull a big boat over a mountain), you can’t help but share his obsession by film’s end. I think it’s because everyone wants to do the impossible, but no one really pursues it.


My favorite aspect of the film, though, is the beautiful visuals. This was filmed in a way that few have the eye for. Herzog is definitely one of the best outdoor directors of all time. Both the calm and ferocious nature of the jungle are captured and the river they travel down becomes a character itself. I tend to have a soft spot for movies filmed in the jungle, or on the river. They are fascinating to me, for some reason. Anyway, this might not be what you typically think of when you think of movies from the 80’s, but it’s one of the best.  9.75/10


4 Responses to “Best of… Series – 1982 – Fitzcarraldo”

  1. I liked this movie, but enjoyed the documentary about the filming more. I’m glad that I watched the movie after the documentary. The movie is really good by itself but knowing teh backstory made it that much of a richer viewing experience.

    • chrisfilm Says:

      Yeah, the documentary definitely sheds some light on the film that made me appreciate it even more, but knowing the antics of Herzog, none of it really surprised me. =)

  2. “Burden of Dreams” is the name of the documentary….and yes, it really is an amazing companion piece to the film.

    Agree with your review 100% as well. Fitzcarraldo is a truly exceptional film from beginning to end. Herzog has a huge body of work in many different genres, but this very well may be his finest hour.

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