• James Rutherford

'Aguirre, the Wrath of God': The Ferocious Tale of an Ill-Fated Expedition in Search of El Dorado


Movie poster for the 1072 film "Aguirre the Wrath of God"

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) is a ferocious historical drama starring Klaus Kinski as Don Lope de Aguirre, an Age of Discovery-era Spanish conquistador. Set in the year 1560, the film follows Aguirre and a battalion of soldiers and native slaves as they forage through the Amazon Basin in search of the mythical city of El Dorado.


The storyline begins with Pedro de Ursúa (Ruy Guerra) assigned commander of a scouting mission up the Amazon in search of the fabled metropolis, with Aguirre as his second-in-command. Calamitous in-fighting ultimately sees Aguirre instigating an all-out mutiny against Ursúa and seizing control of the expedition himself—maniacally intent upon domination. His blind ambition finds his remaining crew members increasingly desperate for survival, as growing dissonance, surging waters axnd hostile natives draw near.


Written and directed by legendary German filmmaker Werner Herzog (Fitzcarraldo, Nosferatu the Vampyre), Aguirre, the Wrath of God is a searing tale of maniacal ambition and unbridled yearning for domination. Kinski cements his reputation as an unrestrained yet undeniably talented performer—perfectly embodying the deranged Aguirre in every word and gesture. Infamous for its arduous production in the Ucayali region of Peru, it's a breathtaking, genre-defying spectacle—a bold, hypnotic tale of man versus nature taken to an absolute extreme.

 

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