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Fitzcarraldo (1982)

8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 17,840 users  
Reviews: 77 user | 76 critic

The story of Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, an extremely determined man who intends to build an opera house in the middle of a jungle.

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Title: Fitzcarraldo (1982)

Fitzcarraldo (1982) on IMDb 8.1/10

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Miguel Ángel Fuentes ...
Paul Hittscher ...
Captain (Orinoco Paul)
Huerequeque Enrique Bohorquez ...
Huerequeque (The Cook) (as Huerequeque Enrique Bohórquez)
Grande Otelo ...
Station master (as Grande Othelo)
Peter Berling ...
Opera Manager
David Pérez Espinosa ...
Chief of Campa Indians
Milton Nascimento ...
Blackman At Opera House
Ruy Polanah ...
Rubber Baron
Salvador Godínez ...
Old Missionary
Dieter Milz ...
Young Missionary
William Rose ...
Notary (as Bill Rose)
Leoncio Bueno
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Storyline

Fitzcarraldo is an obsessed opera lover who wants to build an opera in the jungle. To accomplish this he first has to make a fortune in the rubber business, and his cunning plan involves hauling an enormous river boat across a small mountain with aid from the local Indians. Written by Rune Sandnes <rune@nvg.unit.no>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

10 October 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fickaraldo  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

SEK 1,793,870 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Klaus Kinski was a major source of tension on set, as he fought virulently with the crew and raged over trivial matters. The natives where very upset about his behavior. Herzog has claimed that it went so far that one of the chieftains offered, in all seriousness, to murder Kinski for Herzog. See more »

Goofs

During one of the boat drifting scenes, crew members can be seen at the top of the boat, including a man wearing jeans who tries to avoid being spotted by the camera. See more »

Quotes

Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald - 'Fitzcarraldo': How can anyone learn patriotism from a school book?
Young Missionary: The Government requires it.
Old Missionary: The natives get used to it. Like vaccination.
Young Missionary: The children already feel like little Peruvians. The other day I asked them, "Are you Indians?" "No," they said, "not we, the ones up the river, they are Indians." And then I asked. "What are Indians?" "They said to me "Indians are people who can't read and who don't know how to wash their clothes."
Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald - 'Fitzcarraldo': And what about the older people?
Old Missionary: Well, we can't seem to cure them of the...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in The South Bank Show: Werner Herzog (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Opera on board
from "I Puritani" by Vincenzo Bellini
Orquesta Sinfonica del Repertorio, Lima
Conducted by Maestro Manuel Cuadros Barr
Chorus Camerata Vocale "Orfeo"
Soli: Dona Elvira: Isabel Jiminez de Cisneros
Arturo: Liberio Simonella
Giorgio: Jesus Goiri
Walton: Christiam Mantilla
Music: Popul Vuh
Original recordings Enrico Caruso (1902/06) by RCA Victor
Richard Strauss from "Tod und Verklaerung"
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Audacious and imperfect, unique and disappointing
22 December 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Fitzcarraldo (1982)

The plot, and the necessary parallel in making the movie, is audacious, and the end is a quiet, satisfying thrill. That, and the intense performance by the lead, Klaus Kinski, is what keeps people watching this movie, which is utterly unique.

But Fitzcarraldo is not especially lyrical, original, well-written, or well-acted. It has not worn well. I first saw it sometime in the 1980s and it was somehow mesmerizing, if imperfect. The whole exotic flavor of Peru and these foreigners acting exceedingly foreign was based on a dreamy idea that high culture (opera) can and should rise above all else. It was a triumph of the spirit of the individual. Twenty years later that is tempered by the absolute imperialism, bombast, blindness, and idiocy of it all. No longer swayed by the aura of the plot, the flaws in the way the film was made jump out.

For starters, the language. To have some native Spanish speakers talking in German and others, with haphazardness, speaking Spanish or some indigenous language, is inconsistent. Not that they should speak English, no way, but either have them seem to be natives with a knowledge of German, or just use subtitles. Further worrisome are the stereotypes, the "types" of people cast as the cook, his lovers, the captain, the natives, and so on, many of whom do not really act so much as play out their cardboard expectations.

The camera-work is interesting because it is not notable--and maybe this is intentional, because too much lyricism would distract from the facts. But the facts, you notice, are not really convincing. We have a fictional movie no matter how painstaking the famous scenes with the boat toward the end. It falters too often into cliché and, actually, mediocrity (I see this even in the last scene, the crowd on the shore, there they are, nothing more is said).

Maybe I take it to literally, and I should blur out the details. Because as a metaphor of possibility, and of the huge price you have to pay to succeed, or to fail beautifully, it still holds up. In some weird way, because it dared to be different, the movie is still remarkable. But something different than I once thought.


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