(1988) Produced in Germany by Werner Herzog Filmproduktion and Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF) and released in the U.S. in 1982 by New World Pictures Corp., color 35mm negative, 1.85:1 screen ratio, mono sound, 185 mins., Laserdisc released 1995, DVD released 1999.

poster from IMDb
Klaus Kinski from Anchor Bay
Werner Herzog from Uli Heller




The film is based on the rubber boom of 1880-1914 in the South American rain forest of the Amazon. The Aguaruna Indians were the local tribe. Fitzcarraldo has failed to build a trans-Andean railway, to make ice, lives in the slum of Iquitos with a pet pig and a phonograph to play Caruso records, and a whorehouse madam girlfriend Molly, played by Claudia Cardinale. His dream is to build an opera house in the jungle with the financial backing of the rubber barons. He lays claim to untapped rubber trees above the remote Pongo das Mortes rapids of the Ucayali River. He repairs on old steamer, sails up the Pachitea River, hauls the steamer overland to the Ucayali with the help of Indians. But the Indians cut the line. The steamer is salvaged and sold and the proceeds pay for an opera performance of Bellini's "I Puritani" in Iquitos.


revised 11/10/01 by Schoenherr | Filmnotes