Fitzcarraldo (1982)

PG  |   |  Adventure, Biography, Drama  |  10 October 1982 (USA)
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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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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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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 ...
Black Man At Opera House
Ruy Polanah ...
Rubber Baron
Salvador Godínez ...
Old Missionary
Dieter Milz ...
Young Missionary
William Rose ...
Notary (as Bill Rose)
Leoncio Bueno


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






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Release Date:

10 October 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fickaraldo  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


SEK 1,793,870 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to Werner Herzog, a Catholic priest urged him to include prostitutes as part of the movie's production crew or the men would go crazy in the jungle. See more »


When the two crew members fight with each other, the shadow of the camera is visible on the left one. See more »


Don Aquilino: Ladies and gentlemen, don't worry. This gentleman is harmless. He's just had a, a soul-stirring experience.
Rubber Baron: Sir. My servants will conduct you to the kitchen. My dogs' cook will prepare you a meal. Thank you very much, sir. You were superb.
Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald - 'Fitzcarraldo': To your dogs' cook.
[downs champagne glass]
Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald - 'Fitzcarraldo': To Verdi.
[downs champagne glass]
Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald - 'Fitzcarraldo': To Rossini.
[downs champagne glass]
Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald - 'Fitzcarraldo': To Caruso.
[downs champagne glass]
See more »


Featured in Auge in Auge - Eine deutsche Filmgeschichte (2008) See more »


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User Reviews

post-war Germany's great romantic
6 May 2001 | by See all my reviews

Like Fitzcarraldo, Herzog has a well-known passion for opera--he's been known to conduct on occasion and refers to music as the territory of "ecstatic truth." Film, too, has that potential, if it's released from the literal and the director concentrates on the importance of "great images." It's no surprise, then, that Herzog made Fitzcarraldo without a well-defined narrative goal. He just wanted to see if he could do it.

Filmmaking is a personal and social process for him, not a finished product. It's an extreme version of method acting. Like Fitzcarraldo's lifting of the boat, grand gestures go far for Herzog, if only to show the world that you're great and visionary enough to try. Most of his characters are done in by their obsessive drive (Fitzcarraldo's boat crashing into the rapids, Aguirre madly pacing about on his raft), but leave behind something beautiful. Like a boat being dragged up a mountain in Peru with ropes and pulleys or a gun depot going up like the 4th of July.

You can't give Herzog too much credit--he's been more careful not to be done in by his hubris than any of his characters were. In fact, he's capitalized on it, much the same way Cappola did after Apocalypse Now or Hopper did after Easy Rider. No doubt, the tales of his misadventures contribute as much to his films' popularity as the stories and images themselves, and he's been quick to market his persona with books, talks, and films about himself, the mad director.

But still, Herzog is a great romantic that was born of a time and place (Munich, 1942) with few romantics, which is its own great feat. See Fitzcarraldo for a little bit of that.

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