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Cast: Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale, Jose Lewgoy (German with English subtitles, color, 35m)

The most controversial film of Herzog's career, this film was beset by calamity over the four years it took to make: the original slate of stars dropped out one by one, the shoot in the Amazon jungle was predictably strenuous, the set was burned down by an Indian tribe, and the ensuing political controversy fed media reports for many months.

Klaus Kinski plays an Irish entrepreneur whose latest crackpot scheme involves building a lavish opera house in the middle of the Amazon jungle in order to welcome his idol, Enrico Caruso. To make the necessary money, he buys an old steamer and attempts to get it through the most impenetrable jungle to haul rubber trees back for processing. Firzcarraldo's folie de grandeur was matched by Herzog's own: he, too, had a ship dragged up an Amazon mountain in the service of authenticity. The film is full of mad set pieces, flights of Nietzchean metaphor and Wagnerian opera, and Kinski's histrionics.

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