9. “Aguirre, The Wrath of God”, Werner Herzog (1972)

Part of The 100 Greatest Movies I’ve Ever Seen list

Aguirre the Wrath of God

Aguirre, the Wrath of God aka Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes

dir. Werner Herzog scr. Werner Herzog cin. Thomas Mauch with Klaus Kinski, Helena Rojo, Ruy Guerra, Del Negro

In 100 words: The definitive portrait of madness and hubris, Aguirre is an extraordinary film that accumulates power from the increasingly desperate scenarios that its crew of would-be conquerors are forced to face. Herzog’s legendary combustible working relationship with Klaus Kinski pays dividends, as his star’s inimitable manic energy and imposing figure terrorizes his compatriots and magnify the fear that the wild and unruly jungle have wreaked. The film’s camera and the tremendous sound mix always places the audience within the brutal setting. As their numbers dwindle, the film gets increasingly surreal and sensational, a waking nightmare that culminates with a jawdropping image.

Other Movies for Context: The only other Herzog movie I’ve seen is his 2005 documentary Grizzly Man, a fascinating and sometimes funny look at a man who was famous for living with grizzly bears, and getting eaten by one. Herzog’s movie inspired Apocalypse Now.

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