The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle)(Every Man for Himself and God Against All)

Critics Consensus

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser marks a powerfully humane entry in writer-director Werner Herzog's acclaimed oeuvre, further bolstered by tremendous work by star Bruno S.



Reviews Counted: 21

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,765


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Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
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Average Rating: 4.1/5

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Movie Info

This film is based on the famous story of mysterious 19th-century child genius Kasper Hauser. Hauser shows up unannounced in the middle of a village square. He cannot talk, nor is there any indication of his parentage. When he develops the power of speech, he reveals a highly advanced intelligence.

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Bruno S.
as Kaspar Hauser
Gloria Doer
as Frau Hiltel
Michael Kroecher
as Lord Stanhope

Critic Reviews for The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle)(Every Man for Himself and God Against All)

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (5)

Audience Reviews for The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle)(Every Man for Himself and God Against All)

This is an astounding film that truly brings you into the world of this unique character, who was indeed a real person. You can easily wiki Kaspar Hauser to read the different articles for yourself, but the story goes that a teenage boy was abandoned to a soldier with a note stating that he had been kept inside since infancy and taught some basic things, but now could no longer be cared for and that he should be made a soldier or hanged. Werner Herzog takes some great liberties with the story, as most films do, to acheive a higher resonance of theme. In reality, Hauser was believed by many who took on his case to be a fraud, liar, manipulative, and general hustler. In this Herzog version, he is the innocent, he is the man-babe that has never seen fire, and it is fascinating. The cinematography is consistent and beautiful; it could be watched for its images alone. This is a fantastic outsider film that examines some greater philosophical queries along the lines of "blank slate". Why are so many people marking "Not Interested" for this film? Is it Herzog bias? Is it Cannes scorn? (this did win Palm D'Or in three categories)

_kelly .King
_kelly .King

Super Reviewer


A slow methodical look at the story of this mysterious "foundling" of German folk lore. A man (I believe the real Kaspar was only 17?) who having been raised entirely in a small cell with no outside contact, is "released" into society, only to find society to be far more constrictive and detrimental then the most solitary of confinement. As usual Herzog tells his verson of this story in a seemingly simple format and style, that (below the surface) is FULL of deep introspection, passion, pain and heartache. And he does so by filling the screen with actors and locales that make you feel as if you are watching a documentary and not a scripted film. Herzog's work may not be for everyone, but for those who enjoy taking a thought provoking journey via the mind (and eyes) of an often unconventional journeyman...ENJOY!

Robert C
Robert C

Super Reviewer

The stars alone are for Bruno S and his extraodinary performance as Kaspar Hauser. A man raised in a prison, just to be released to the big prison that is society. Herzog watches this man not with pity, but with admiration.

Tsubaki Sanjuro
Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer

I am officially a Herzog junkie. That said, here's my totally elated review of The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser. The story here told is true, and that alone makes for a fascinating film. Herzog's characteristic contemplative-documentary style of narration, especially evident in 'Aguirre', allows the story to be told as objectively and precisely as possible despite some random, lingering takes -a WH signature. I've never understood what he uses these for, but they work. They highlight the beauty of what he films. And KH is a very beautiful movie. The dialogue is appropriately scarce, and the cinematography is appropriately ethereal as usual, a sort of mystic fog settled over the town. The reason of this movie's existence, I believe, is the amount of questions that it poses. We are told the story of a man isolated from the world until quite late into his 20s or 30s. He is uncorrupted, unprejudiced, and overall uneducated. His life is a mystery. You have no idea how many times I felt the urge to just pause and think throughout the movie. Werner Herzog wrote hardly any words for the characters to speak, and yet the questions that he aks jump towards your face unexpectedly. Faith, instinct, fear, thought, death, what is the root of it all. Or, what's even better, when Kaspar says that life in his cave was better than life outside. Is it? And yet, even though it's such a deeply philosphical movie, it never falls into pretentiousness or self-importance. Finally, nobody, I believe, could've played Kaspar as well as Bruno S., a street musician that Herzog saw in a documentary. There's an amazing purity to his expression, and in accordance to the narrative style, he seems as though he could've simply been the real Kaspar. Not my favorite of Herzog's movies I've seen, but a fascinating one nevertheless. If you like Herzog, don't miss it. If you don't, approach it with nothing but interest on the story and it won't disappoint.

Elvira B
Elvira B

Super Reviewer

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