Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog (German: [ˈvɛɐ̯nɐ ˈhɛɐ̯tsoːk]; born 5 September 1942) is a German film director, screenwriter, author, actor, and opera director, regarded as a pioneer of New German Cinema. His films often feature ambitious protagonists with impossible dreams, people with unique talents in obscure fields, or individuals in conflict with nature. He is known for his unique filmmaking process, such as disregarding storyboards, emphasizing improvisation, and placing the cast and crew into similar situations as characters in his films. Herzog started work on his first film Herakles in 1961, when he was nineteen. Since then he has produced, written, and directed more than sixty feature films and documentaries, such as Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972), The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974), Heart of Glass (1976), Stroszek (1977), Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979), Fitzcarraldo (1982), Cobra Verde (1987), Lessons of Darkness (1992), Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1997), My Best Fiend (1999), Invincible (2000), Grizzly Man (2005), Encounters at the End of the World (2007), Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009), and Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010). He has published more than a dozen books of prose, and directed as many operas. French filmmaker François Truffaut once called Herzog "the most important film director alive." American film critic Roger Ebert said that Herzog "has never created a single film that is compromised, shameful, made for pragmatic reasons, or uninteresting. ...

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Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)

A few decades after the destruction of the Inca Empire, a Spanish expedition led by the infamous Aguirre leaves the mountains of Peru and goes down the Amazon River in search of the lost city of El Dorado. When great difficulties arise, Aguirre’s men start to ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Klaus Kinski  •  Helena Rojo  •  Del Negro  •  Ruy Guerra

A few decades after the destruction of the Inca Empire, a Spanish expedition led by the infamous Aguirre leaves the mountains of Peru and goes down the Amazon River in search of the lost city of El Dorado. When great difficulties arise, Aguirre’s men start to ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Klaus Kinski  •  Helena Rojo  •  Del Negro  •  Ruy Guerra

Burden of Dreams (1982)

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The Amazon rain forest, 1979. The crew of Fitzcarraldo (1982), a film directed by German director Werner Herzog, soon finds itself with problems related to casting, tribal struggles and accidents, among many other setbacks; but nothing compared to dragging a huge ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Les Blank
CAST:  Werner Herzog  •  Candace Laughlin  •  Klaus Kinski  •  Claudia Cardinale

The Amazon rain forest, 1979. The crew of Fitzcarraldo (1982), a film directed by German director Werner Herzog, soon finds itself with problems related to casting, tribal struggles and accidents, among many other setbacks; but nothing compared to dragging a huge ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Les Blank
CAST:  Werner Herzog  •  Candace Laughlin  •  Klaus Kinski  •  Claudia Cardinale

Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970)

The inhabitants of an institution in a remote country rebel against their keepers. Their acts of rebellion are by turns humorous, boring and alarming. An allegory on the problematic nature of fully liberating the human spirit, as both commendable and disturbing ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Helmut Döring  •  Paul Glauer  •  Gisela Hertwig  •  Hertel Minkner

The inhabitants of an institution in a remote country rebel against their keepers. Their acts of rebellion are by turns humorous, boring and alarming. An allegory on the problematic nature of fully liberating the human spirit, as both commendable and disturbing ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Helmut Döring  •  Paul Glauer  •  Gisela Hertwig  •  Hertel Minkner

Fata Morgana (1971)

Shot under extreme conditions and inspired by Mayan creation theory, the film contemplates the illusion of reality and the possibility of capturing for the camera something which is not there. It is about the mirages of nature—and the nature of mirage.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Wolfgang Bächler  •  Manfred Eigendorf  •  Lotte Eisner  •  Günther W. Welpert

Shot under extreme conditions and inspired by Mayan creation theory, the film contemplates the illusion of reality and the possibility of capturing for the camera something which is not there. It is about the mirages of nature—and the nature of mirage.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Wolfgang Bächler  •  Manfred Eigendorf  •  Lotte Eisner  •  Günther W. Welpert

Fitzcarraldo (1982)

Fitzcarraldo is a dreamer who plans to build an opera house in Iquitos, in the Peruvian Amazon, so, in order to finance his project, he embarks on an epic adventure to collect rubber, a very profitable product, in a remote and unexplored region of the rainforest.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Klaus Kinski  •  José Lewgoy  •  Miguel Ángel Fuentes  •  Paul Hittscher

Fitzcarraldo is a dreamer who plans to build an opera house in Iquitos, in the Peruvian Amazon, so, in order to finance his project, he embarks on an epic adventure to collect rubber, a very profitable product, in a remote and unexplored region of the rainforest.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Klaus Kinski  •  José Lewgoy  •  Miguel Ángel Fuentes  •  Paul Hittscher

Grizzly Man (2005)

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Werner Herzog's documentary film about the "Grizzly Man" Timothy Treadwell and what the thirteen summers in a National Park in Alaska were like in one man's attempt to protect the grizzly bears. The film is full of unique images and a look into the spirit of a man ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Timothy Treadwell  •  Kathleen Parker  •  Warren Queeney  •  Willy Fulton

Werner Herzog's documentary film about the "Grizzly Man" Timothy Treadwell and what the thirteen summers in a National Park in Alaska were like in one man's attempt to protect the grizzly bears. The film is full of unique images and a look into the spirit of a man ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Timothy Treadwell  •  Kathleen Parker  •  Warren Queeney  •  Willy Fulton

Incident at Loch Ness (2004)

When renowned director Werner Herzog and fellow filmmaker Zak Penn set off to explore the legend of Scotland's Loch Ness monster, they uncover much more than they bargained for. Unexplained sightings of the creature and chaos among the crew create an uneasy feeling ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Zak Penn
CAST:  Werner Herzog  •  Kitana Baker  •  Gabriel Beristain  •  Russell Williams II

When renowned director Werner Herzog and fellow filmmaker Zak Penn set off to explore the legend of Scotland's Loch Ness monster, they uncover much more than they bargained for. Unexplained sightings of the creature and chaos among the crew create an uneasy feeling ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Zak Penn
CAST:  Werner Herzog  •  Kitana Baker  •  Gabriel Beristain  •  Russell Williams II

La Soufrière (1977)

Werner Herzog takes a film crew to the island of Guadeloupe when he hears that the volcano on the island is going to erupt. Everyone has left, except for one old man who refuses to leave.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Werner Herzog  •  Edward Lachman  •  Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein

Werner Herzog takes a film crew to the island of Guadeloupe when he hears that the volcano on the island is going to erupt. Everyone has left, except for one old man who refuses to leave.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Werner Herzog  •  Edward Lachman  •  Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein

Land of Silence and Darkness (1971)

Through examining Fini Straubinger, an old woman who has been deaf and blind since her teens, and her work on behalf of other deaf-blind people, this film shows how the deaf-blind struggle to understand and accept a world from which they are almost wholly isolated.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Fini Straubinger  •  Heinrich Fleischmann  •  Vladimir Kokol  •  M. Baaske

Through examining Fini Straubinger, an old woman who has been deaf and blind since her teens, and her work on behalf of other deaf-blind people, this film shows how the deaf-blind struggle to understand and accept a world from which they are almost wholly isolated.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Fini Straubinger  •  Heinrich Fleischmann  •  Vladimir Kokol  •  M. Baaske

Lessons of Darkness (1992)

This film shows the disaster of the Kuwaitian oil fields in flames. In contrast to the common documentary film there are no comments and few interviews. What must have been the hell itself is presented to the viewer in such beautiful sights and beautiful music that ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Werner Herzog

This film shows the disaster of the Kuwaitian oil fields in flames. In contrast to the common documentary film there are no comments and few interviews. What must have been the hell itself is presented to the viewer in such beautiful sights and beautiful music that ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Werner Herzog

Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)

Jonathan Harker, a real estate agent, goes to Transylvania to visit the mysterious Count Dracula and formalize the purchase of a property in Wismar. Once Jonathan is caught under his evil spell, Dracula travels to Wismar where he meets the beautiful Lucy, ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Klaus Kinski  •  Isabelle Adjani  •  Bruno Ganz  •  Roland Topor

Jonathan Harker, a real estate agent, goes to Transylvania to visit the mysterious Count Dracula and formalize the purchase of a property in Wismar. Once Jonathan is caught under his evil spell, Dracula travels to Wismar where he meets the beautiful Lucy, ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Klaus Kinski  •  Isabelle Adjani  •  Bruno Ganz  •  Roland Topor

Rescue Dawn (2006)

A US Fighter pilot's epic struggle of survival after being shot down on a mission over Laos during the Vietnam War.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Christian Bale  •  Steve Zahn  •  Marshall Bell  •  Toby Huss

A US Fighter pilot's epic struggle of survival after being shot down on a mission over Laos during the Vietnam War.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Christian Bale  •  Steve Zahn  •  Marshall Bell  •  Toby Huss

Stroszek (1977)

Bruno Stroszek is released from prison and warned to stop drinking. He has few skills and fewer expectations: with a glockenspiel and an accordion, he ekes out a living as a street musician. He befriends Eva, a prostitute down on her luck and they join his neighbor ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Bruno S.  •  Eva Mattes  •  Clemens Scheitz  •  Wilhelm von Homburg

Bruno Stroszek is released from prison and warned to stop drinking. He has few skills and fewer expectations: with a glockenspiel and an accordion, he ekes out a living as a street musician. He befriends Eva, a prostitute down on her luck and they join his neighbor ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Bruno S.  •  Eva Mattes  •  Clemens Scheitz  •  Wilhelm von Homburg

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974)

The film follows Kaspar Hauser (Bruno S.), who lived the first seventeen years of his life chained in a tiny cellar with only a toy horse to occupy his time, devoid of all human contact except for a man who wears a black overcoat and top hat who feeds him.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Bruno S.  •  Walter Ladengast  •  Brigitte Mira  •  Willy Semmelrogge

The film follows Kaspar Hauser (Bruno S.), who lived the first seventeen years of his life chained in a tiny cellar with only a toy horse to occupy his time, devoid of all human contact except for a man who wears a black overcoat and top hat who feeds him.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Bruno S.  •  Walter Ladengast  •  Brigitte Mira  •  Willy Semmelrogge

The Wild Blue Yonder (2005)

An alien narrates the story of his dying planet, his and his people's visitations to Earth and Earth's self-made demise, while human astronauts in space are attempting to find an alternate planet for surviving humans to live on.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Brad Dourif  •  Donald Williams  •  Ellen Baker  •  Franklin Chang-Diaz

An alien narrates the story of his dying planet, his and his people's visitations to Earth and Earth's self-made demise, while human astronauts in space are attempting to find an alternate planet for surviving humans to live on.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Brad Dourif  •  Donald Williams  •  Ellen Baker  •  Franklin Chang-Diaz

Tokyo-Ga (1985)

German director Wim Wenders made this documentary in which he tries to explore the Tokyo that was depicted in the films of Yasujiro Ozu. When Wenders visits Tokyo for the first time, he finds a very different city, one with a booming fascination with technology ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Wim Wenders
CAST:  Yûharu Atsuta  •  Werner Herzog  •  Chishū Ryū  •  Chris Marker

German director Wim Wenders made this documentary in which he tries to explore the Tokyo that was depicted in the films of Yasujiro Ozu. When Wenders visits Tokyo for the first time, he finds a very different city, one with a booming fascination with technology ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Wim Wenders
CAST:  Yûharu Atsuta  •  Werner Herzog  •  Chishū Ryū  •  Chris Marker

Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1988)

A short documentary in which directors Werner Herzog and Errol Morris make a bet which results in Herzog being forced to eat his own shoe.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Les Blank
CAST:  Werner Herzog  •  Tom Luddy  •  Michael Goodwin  •  Chris Strachwitz

A short documentary in which directors Werner Herzog and Errol Morris make a bet which results in Herzog being forced to eat his own shoe.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Les Blank
CAST:  Werner Herzog  •  Tom Luddy  •  Michael Goodwin  •  Chris Strachwitz

What Dreams May Come (1998)

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Chris Neilson dies to find himself in a heaven more amazing than he could have ever dreamed of. There is one thing missing: his wife. After he dies, his wife, Annie killed herself and went to hell. Chris decides to risk eternity in hades for the small chance that ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Vincent Ward
CAST:  Robin Williams  •  Cuba Gooding Jr.  •  Annabella Sciorra  •  Max von Sydow

Chris Neilson dies to find himself in a heaven more amazing than he could have ever dreamed of. There is one thing missing: his wife. After he dies, his wife, Annie killed herself and went to hell. Chris decides to risk eternity in hades for the small chance that ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Vincent Ward
CAST:  Robin Williams  •  Cuba Gooding Jr.  •  Annabella Sciorra  •  Max von Sydow

God's Angry Man (1980)

The documentary follows Gene Scott, famous televangelist involved with constant fights against FCC, who tried to shut down his TV show during the 1970's and 1980's, and even argues with his viewers, complaining about their lack of support by not sending enough ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Gene Scott  •  Werner Herzog

The documentary follows Gene Scott, famous televangelist involved with constant fights against FCC, who tried to shut down his TV show during the 1970's and 1980's, and even argues with his viewers, complaining about their lack of support by not sending enough ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Werner Herzog
CAST:  Gene Scott  •  Werner Herzog

Julien Donkey-Boy (1999)

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Undiagnosed, untreated and generally untethered schizophrenic Julien lives with his pregnant younger sister Pearl, would-be wrestler brother Chris, sympathetic grandmother, and severely depressed German father.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Harmony Korine
CAST:  Ewen Bremner  •  Brian Fisk  •  Werner Herzog  •  Chloë Sevigny

Undiagnosed, untreated and generally untethered schizophrenic Julien lives with his pregnant younger sister Pearl, would-be wrestler brother Chris, sympathetic grandmother, and severely depressed German father.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Harmony Korine
CAST:  Ewen Bremner  •  Brian Fisk  •  Werner Herzog  •  Chloë Sevigny
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