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


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

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 46


Audience Score

User Ratings: 24,268
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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 (46) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (45) | Rotten (1)

  • 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.

    Sep 30, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The whole movie merges landscapes and character with such force that, once seen, you never forget it.

    Jun 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.

    Jun 6, 2013 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • A journey down river to the mouth of Hell, but also so much more.

    Jun 6, 2013 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • Made for buttons, it's an awesome feat of filmmaking.

    Jun 4, 2013 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

    Cath Clarke

    Time Out
    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.

    Sep 29, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic

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

  • Oct 14, 2017
    Klaus Kinski turns in a fantastic performance in this film, and his helmet and piercing blue eyes combine for an iconic image. He plays a power-hungry 16th century rebel who is hell-bent on finding the golden city of El Dorado to achieve riches and fame. I love how director Werner Herzog filmed on a location and really 'took us there', not only to the Amazon, but to a doomed feeling of hopelessness as the raft the Spaniards are on drifts downriver on a fool's errand. On the other hand, it's a bleak tale, and one in which little episodes such as natives approaching in a canoe and the Spaniards burning one of their villages are stitched together somewhat weakly, with jumps forward in time. The screenplay and editing seem disorganized, and while that may add to an overall dreamlike (or nightmarish), chaotic feeling, which was perhaps the point, it also made it a little less enjoyable for me. There are certainly some great images in the film, bookended by a caravan traveling through the mountains at the beginning, to Aguirre raving delusions of grandeur on a raft overrun with monkeys at the end. For me it's a good film, but not a great one.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 25, 2013
    Notable for its troubled production and distribution history and massive influence on modern filmmaking, "Aguirre, the Wrath of God" is one of the quintessential tales of greed and madness. Werner Herzog's natural, almost documentary-like direction and Klaus Kinski's terrifying performance as the titular villain are two of the main reasons to give it a watch aside from the fact that it's one of the most well-regarded films of its time.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Nov 18, 2012
    Rating: 2.5 stars Arthouse Rating: 4 stars Watching Aguirre, Wrath of God was more like watching a really well made play than a movie. The costumes, screenplay, and setting just felt more like you're at a theater with a green screen behind the characters. This is a movie you can just sit back and relax through, no twists, turns, or a complex plot. This had a large con to it though, this really had me zoning out. I was in Tellitubby land for more than a third of the movie. This is what caused the large gap between my rating and the arthouse rating. The abuse of the horse did piss me off, it's the only thing that set off a reaction from me. Most people will enjoy this, and everyone will appreciated the work put into it, but it just wasn't my movie.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Sep 03, 2012
    Haunting and fascinating.
    Hugo S Super Reviewer

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