Produced in Germany by Werner Herzog Filmproduktion and Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF) and released in the U.S. in 1982 by New World Pictures Corp., color 35mm negative, 1.85:1 screen ratio, mono sound, 185 mins., Laserdisc released 1995, DVD released 1999.
Production Design by Ulrich Bergfelder, Henning von Gierke
Costume Design by Gisela Storch
Sound Editing by Zeze D'Alice
Special Effects by Miguel Vázquez
technical advisor Eglington Ayarza Boulloza
Klaus Kinski as Fitzcarraldo
Jose Lewgoy as Don Aquilino
Miguel Angel Fuentes as Cholo
Paul Hittscher as Captain
David Perez Espinosa as Chief of Campa Indians
Rui Polanah as Rubber Baron
Salvador Godinez as Old Missionary
Dieter Milz as Young Missionary
Claudia Cardinale as Molly
The film is based on the rubber boom of 1880-1914 in the South American rain forest of the Amazon. The Aguaruna Indians were the local tribe. Fitzcarraldo has failed to build a trans-Andean railway, to make ice, lives in the slum of Iquitos with a pet pig and a phonograph to play Caruso records, and a whorehouse madam girlfriend Molly, played by Claudia Cardinale. His dream is to build an opera house in the jungle with the financial backing of the rubber barons. He lays claim to untapped rubber trees above the remote Pongo das Mortes rapids of the Ucayali River. He repairs on old steamer, sails up the Pachitea River, hauls the steamer overland to the Ucayali with the help of Indians. But the Indians cut the line. The steamer is salvaged and sold and the proceeds pay for an opera performance of Bellini's "I Puritani" in Iquitos.