Aguirre, the Wrath of God (Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes) (1972) - Rotten Tomatoes

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes)1972

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes) (1972)



Critic Consensus: A haunting journey of natural wonder and tangible danger, Aguirre transcends epic genre trappings and becomes mythological by its own right.

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes) Photos

Movie Info

The most famed and well-regarded collaboration between New German Cinema director Werner Herzog and his frequent leading man, Klaus Kinski, this epic historical drama was legendary for the arduousness of its on-location filming and the convincing zealous obsession employed by Kinski in playing the title role. Exhausted and near to admitting failure in its quest for riches, the 1560-61 expedition of Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Pizarro (Alejandro Repulles) bogs down in the 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. Nature and Aguirre's own unquenchable thirst for glory ultimately render him insane, in charge of nothing but a raft of corpses and chattering monkeys. Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes (1973) was based on the real-life journals of a priest, Brother Gaspar de Carvajal (played in the film by Del Negro), who accompanied Pizarro on his ill-fated mission.

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Klaus Kinski
as Don Lope de Aguirre
Ruy Guerra
as Don Pedro de Ursua
Del Negro
as Brother Gaspar de Carvajal
Peter Berling
as Don Fernando de Guzman
Alejandro Repulles
as Gonzalez Pizarro
Dan Ades
as Perucho
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Critic Reviews for Aguirre, the Wrath of God (Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes)

All Critics (50) | Top Critics (11)

Aguirre is a compelling piece of historical fiction that lingers in the memory largely because of its lush, claustrophobic atmosphere and the towering presence of Kinski.

September 30, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

The whole movie merges landscapes and character with such force that, once seen, you never forget it.

June 7, 2013 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

It looks more magnificent and mad than ever, one of the great folies de grandeur of 1970s cinema, an expeditionary Conradian nightmare like Coppola's Apocalypse Now.

June 6, 2013 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

A journey down river to the mouth of Hell, but also so much more.

June 6, 2013 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Made for buttons, it's an awesome feat of filmmaking.

June 4, 2013 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The acting is properly larger than life, especially Klaus Kinski as the title character, a lean, driven but imposing man who has heads lopped off when in any way interfered with in his task of destruction and exploration.

September 29, 2008 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Aguirre, the Wrath of God (Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes)

Wonderful!!!! *****

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer


The documentary "My best fiend" stunningly portrayed the love/hate relationship between director Werner Herzog and his star Klaus Kinski, this is one of their collaborations showing that both were willing to go to lengths to realize a project. One of the film's biggest assets, but also one of the greatest obstacles in the making, is the filming on location in the South African jungle. The impressive opening shot alone makes you appreciate the effort. With the river and the jungle almost becoming hostile characters of their own, Aguirre's expedition faces constant threats both from the outside and within, unable to escape their fate. Despite of the impressive landscapes, the film almost feels like an intimate play. Some of the acting feels a tad amateurish, but it actually gives the result an even more realistic touch. As the expedition has nothing left to do than kill time and miraculously hope for food while sitting on their raft, the movie suffers a little under its own slowness. Still, a memorable and impressive historical drama.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer

Deep in South American jungle there's something afoot. A splinter group from Pizzaro's expedition is sent to find El Dorado, the legendary city of gold. This group is steeped in Christianity as they spread it throughout the new land and the natives that inhabit it. It's like a trade in a way: We'll give you Christ if you give us the gold. As the film progresses and the group heads further into the jungle everything begins to fall apart as the natives become more and more restless and Aguirre (Klaus Kinski) develops the obsession of being the next Cortez. Aguirre lends itself to so many films that came after it, particularly Apocalypse Now. The basic premise between the two films is the same. A mission on a boat slowly falls into total chaos. Just like the characters on screen, we have no idea what's around the bend in the river ahead. With Aguirre, there are two things that make it such a great movie. The first is Werner Herzog's direction. All great directors use the environment and the background as another character in their film. Herzog accomplishes this by making shots seem so beautiful and so sinister at the same time. What lies in the trees over there? Herzog gets into the soul of the jungle right along with the souls of the characters. Of course when we talk about characters we have to discuss the second part of the Aguirre equation and that is Klaus Kinski. He is that desire, that rage, that cut throat individual that will advance to his goal no matter what the cost. He surveys the land like a god looking over his domain. He will start is own empire, even when things are at their darkest. In a way Aguirre and Kinski are bound by their identities. They're the same person in the end. Aguirre is one of those films that people stumble upon. A story that doesn't sound like much on the surface becomes an imaginative journey into the unknown. A story that is universal in nature, Aguirre is a great piece of German cinema.

Chris Garman
Chris Garman

Super Reviewer

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