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Grizzly Man (2005)



Average Rating: 8/10
Reviews Counted: 135
Fresh: 126 | Rotten: 9

Whatever opinion you come to have of the obsessive Treadwell, Herzog has once again found a fascinating subject.


Average Rating: 8.2/10
Critic Reviews: 40
Fresh: 39 | Rotten: 1

Whatever opinion you come to have of the obsessive Treadwell, Herzog has once again found a fascinating subject.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 52,386

My Rating

Movie Info

Filmmaker Werner Herzog adds another real-life character to his growing pantheon of people who walk a fine line between visionary genius and madness in this documentary. Timothy Treadwell was a self-styled authority on bears who, starting in 1990, would spend as much time as possible each year in Alaska, camping out near a grizzly bear habitat. While Treadwell claimed to love the bears and felt as one with them, he had no formal training in their behavior, and while familiarizing himself with



Dec 26, 2005


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All Critics (139) | Top Critics (42) | Fresh (126) | Rotten (9) | DVD (14)

Like so much of Herzog's work, both narrative and documentary, this is an engrossing look at obsessive behavior gone terribly awry.

April 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Treadwell, a failed TV actor, is presented as someone desperate to give and receive love. That he went to such extremes is tragic, but also, in Herzog's sympathetic eyes, deeply human.

August 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Fascinating as both nature documentary and as a portrait of a narcissistic monomaniac, utterly in keeping with Herzogian type.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An alternately gripping and funny-charming nature film and psychological study.

October 7, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Treadwell] left behind 100 hours of some of the most astonishing nature footage ever captured by camera.

September 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Compelling, disturbing documentary.

September 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Herzog's stirring, thought-provoking documentary meditates with exceeding insight into the mind that drove the man.

December 11, 2013 Full Review Source:

Werner Herzog forgoes judging Timothy Treadwell's disputed methods or questionable mental state - letting viewers decide based on footage that suggests Treadwell essentially sought some sort of transmutation from flesh to fur.

September 25, 2010 Full Review Source:

Remarkable beauty and wonder

September 5, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

As a character critique it is hardly a mauling, for Herzog is too sophisticated a thinker, too respectful towards his subject, and altogether too humane to tear Treadwell apart for a second time.

July 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

An amazing, provocative and ultimately creepy film.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International


August 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Cinema Writer
Cinema Writer

Uma das maiores obras-primas da carreira de um cineasta que vem conquistando, ao longo dos últimos 44 anos, um lugar mais do que merecido entre os ícones da Sétima Arte.

June 5, 2006
Cinema em Cena

After having gorged on nonfiction films that tell us what to think, Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man is an improbable palate cleanser, allowing us to not know what to think and encouraging us to admit as much.

May 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Part punk wildlife doc, part diary of a twisted soul, part cautionary tale, Grizzly Man is a complex, unique and engrossing journey into the murky recesses of an unhinged mind.

April 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine | Comments (3)
Empire Magazine

Makes us feel like kids at a Punch and Judy show wanting to shout out "Behind you!"

March 1, 2006 Full Review

Not really a nature film (unless maybe human nature?). I just couldn't help but feel it was more opportunistic than inspired. I left feeling somewhat manipulated.

February 28, 2006 Full Review Source: Hollywood Report Card | Comments (5)
Hollywood Report Card

A tremendous achievement, despite its niggling flaws.

February 19, 2006 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

At turns fascinating and banal… a film that dances around vital questions about the human condition that it is barely able to articulate, let alone address.

February 11, 2006 Full Review Source: Decent Films Guide
Decent Films Guide

He was enough of an amateur to be relaxed and unselfconscious, yet enough of a professional to generate all this outstanding footage, and quite rightly Herzog declines to patronise or make fun of him.

February 4, 2006 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

Poignant, powerful and unforgettable.

February 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

Fascinating documentary about obsession, insanity and, well, bears, this is by turns moving, disturbing and laugh-out-loud funny.

February 2, 2006 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

Bear ambition

January 10, 2006 Full Review Source: JWR | Comment (1)

Audience Reviews for Grizzly Man

The hypocritical execution made this documentary come off as rather unauthentic. A better reenactment/acting (specifically the scenes involving Jewel Palovak were executed horribly. The pretentiousness was quite apparent, at least to me. The scene where Herzog suggests her to destroy the tape was pathetic than sympathetic.) might have helped here. Apart from that flaw, the movie was passable. And passable isn't too bad these days around. 4.5/10.
October 16, 2012

Super Reviewer

This well-crafted, insightful documentary reveals a damaged, narcissistic and complacent man who found solace in the wilds of Alaska. Contrary to what I anticipated, 'Grizzly Man' is first and foremost a character study; the man is discussed far more than the beasts he surrounded himself with. From the onset, I was surprised by Timothy Treadwell's eccentric demeanour; I was even more surprised by how quixotic and naive he was. Treadwell had been both an alcoholic and drug user prior to his Alaskan adventures, and it seemed as if he was still hitting the bottle during his rambling, gushing monologues about his love for the animals and the immense passion he had for his mission of 'protecting the bears'.

The main problem with Treadwell was that his objective was irrelevant and aimless; the bears weren't really under any threat. Indeed, an interviewee spoke about bear culls, an activity which I admittedly didn't see any purpose in, but these culls didn't affect the stability of the population. Overall, Treadwell's apparent love for bears was a self-serving endeavour; he was never going to improve the bears' quality of life, but the bears certainly improved his.

The problem with the film is Timothy Treadwell, it's hard to resonate with the man due to his foolishness and juvenile manner. Treadwell became increasingly conceited throughout his footage. His complacency reached its zenith in an almost comically ironic segment recorded hours before his death where he proudly stated how he had reached a point of untouchability with the bears. Though this is another of Werner Herzog's accomplished documentaries, it is Treadwell's flawed, rather unlikeable personality that makes this one I won't watch again.
October 6, 2012
Jack Hawkins
Jack Hawkins

Super Reviewer

Whether it is in his documentaries or his fiction films, Werner Herzog has a knack for creating often sublime works on subjects that walk a fine line between genius and madness. This documentary on Timothy Treadwell definitely fits into this world nicely.

Treadwell loved grizzly bears so much, and went as far as to calling himself an expert on them that, starting in 1990, would spend as much time as possible in Alaska camping near them, and trying to become one with them. He recorded over 100 hours of his exploits, and due to having no real formal training about them, his passion eventually failed him when, in 2003, both he and his girlfriend were attacked and killed by a bear while out on one of his many trips to the wild.

Incorporating a great deal of Treadwell's footage, Herzog uses this documentary as a chance to explore the life, work and death of Treadwell, examining what it is that made him tick. Yes, the man may have been misguided, but there's a nobility to what it is he tried to do, despite how obvious it might seem that he was off his rocker.

That's the thing I love about Herzog. While he does pass some kind of judgment, he is very balanced and nuanced about it. He shows multiple sides of things, and doesn't blatantly come out and say what many people would think, namely, just how foolish or dumb Treadwell may have been.

This is some fantastic stuff, and very mesmerizing. The cinematography is wonderful, the subject and the subject matter are fascinating, and since it's Herzog, even if this one is somewhat more mainstream, it's still offbeat and done in that unique way that makes all of his work special.

Give it a go.
September 3, 2012
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Timothy Treadwell: I want rain. I want, if there's a God, to kick some ass down here. Let's have some water! Jesus boy! Let's have some water! Christ man or Allah or Hindu floaty thing! Let's have some fucking water for these animals! 

"In Nature, There Are Boundaries."

Grizzly Man is another beautiful documentary from one of the greats, Werner Herzog. The story is all about a man named Timothy Treadwell, who devoted his life to the study and protection of bears. He lived with them every summer for thirteen years, right up to his and his girlfriends ultimate death at the bears hand. Herzog dives deep into the man who was this whimsical, eccentric, and crazy appearing guy who walked up into the face of bears that could tear him apart. Another filmmaker may have made judgements on Timothy, but Herzog does not. People who he interviews do, but he does not. 

The film offers us a lot of footage taken by Treadwell on many of his expeditions. At times, it's awe inspiring how fearless this guy is with his beliefs. He puts himself in harms way so many times, walking up to dangerous, wild bears and, even at times, pets them and talks to them like their a child's dog. The question is, was he nuts? Obviously, he was. Listening to him talk to them; that's the only real conclusion we could draw. He isn't mentally handicapped though. We all are crazy for the things we love and are passionate about. Is a guy who goes shirtless, all painted up to a football game in 20 degree with crazy? Yeah, because he's passionate. Treadwell's passion is just one few people can understand because it is so different; and what people don't understand, they don't condone. 

Treadwell says, countless times during his expeditions, that he would die for the animals. He says, that dying there is what he wants. He wouldn't want to go any other way. If it didn't happen when it did, it would have only happened the next day, or the next week, or the next year. That's something Treadwell understood and embraced. He didn't care. He was happy there.

Herzog may be the best documentary filmmaker ever and Grizzly Man is just another example of how well he can present a subject. Whether it be a cave, the poles of the world, or a man who wants to live with bears; he knows how to present it in a very touching and human way. The sound of Herzog's voice just resonates humanity. The guy is a visionary and he's able to see the story behind the story, that many others wouldn't be able to.
August 11, 2012
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

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