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Scene from "Aguirre, the Wrath of God" (photo: Werner Herzog Film)

Peru 1560. Spanish Conquistadores take off in search of the legendary El Dorado, the land of gold. A small group of soldiers led by the nobleman Ursúa is sent ahead. Ursúa decides to return to the main camp after losing many men in a journey down the river fraught with danger. However, the non-commissioned officer Lope de Aguirre, who calls himself "God's Vengeance" and "The Great Traitor", incites the men to mutiny. He declares that the Spanish king has been deposed and appoints the Don Fernando de Guzman as "Emperor of El Dorado". Obsessed by the idea of becoming a second Cortez, Aguirre continues his journey downstream in search of El Dorado, accompanied by his small band of armed men. The expedition is constantly watched and threatened from the banks of the river, although the hostile Indians never actually show themselves. Their food supplies run low and only Guzman insists on eating like an Emperor. He is murdered by the men when he orders that the horse on the raft be thrown into the river. Decimated by the Indians' poison arrows, the band of exhausted, feverish men suffer from hallucinations. Aguirre is the only one constantly to proclaim his vision of a new world empire. He is ultimately the sole survivor. Surrounded by corpses, he stands on the raft as it drifts in circles, dreaming of the immense wealth, power and fame, as well as of the dynasty that he will found with his daughter.
Genre History, Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 1972
Director Werner Herzog
Screenplay Werner Herzog
Cinematography Thomas Mauch
Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus
Popol Vuh
Cast Armando Polanha, Edward Roland, Daniel Ades, Cecilia Rivera, Ruy Guerra, Peter Berling, Del Negro, Helena Rojo, Klaus Kinski
Producers Lucki Stipetic, Werner Herzog
Production Company Werner Herzog Film/Vienna, in co-production with HR/Frankfurt
Runtime 93 min
Format 35 mm, color
Dubbed Versions English, French, Italian, Spanish
Subtitled Versions English, French, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean
Sound Technology Optical
Festivals Cannes 1973, Singapore 2004, Viareggio 2008, Kerala 2010, Sheffield Doc Fest 2013, Ghent 2014, Zlín 2015, Reykjavik 2017, Hong Kong 2018, Ankara 2018, Kolkata 2019, among others
Awards German Film Award 1973 for Best Cinematography, Best Foreign Film 1976 from the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics, NSFC Award 1977

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