Directed by Werner Herzog

Directed by Werner Herzog

17 Episodes

A renegade visionary every bit as uncompromising, fearless, and eccentric as the outsiders, oddballs, and obsessives he makes films about, Werner Herzog is a larger-than-life legend who has risked death, hypnotized an entire cast, moved a steamship over a mountain, and eaten his own shoe, all in the name of cinema. Emerging from the New German Cinema movement, he has devoted himself to chronicling the quests of dreamers, holy fools, and madmen in feverish, almost mystical narrative works like AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD (the first of his brilliant and often turbulent collaborations with frequent star Klaus Kinski), STROSZEK, THE ENIGMA OF KASPAR HAUSER, and FITZCARRALDO, a film as famous for its hallucinatory images as for its notoriously dangerous production. Also a prolific documentarian, Herzog finds idiosyncratic existential truths in extreme landscapes (FATA MORGANA, LESSONS OF DARKNESS) and in incredible stories of human endurance (LAND OF SILENCE AND DARKNESS, LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY). The only director audacious enough to end a movie with a dancing chicken and make it unforgettable, Herzog and his films are testaments to the madness and wonder of unwavering personal vision.

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Directed by Werner Herzog
  • To the End of the World . . . and Then a Little Bit Further

    Episode 1

    Shot in 1989, this profile finds Werner Herzog reflecting on his inability to separate his work from his life, the ethereal and metaphysical qualities of his films, and the adventures he’s experienced on difficult, geographically remote productions.

  • Even Dwarfs Started Small

    Episode 2

    Directed by Werner Herzog • 1970 • West Germany
    Starring Helmut Döring, Paul Glauer, Gisela Hertwig

    With his brilliantly anarchic second feature, Werner Herzog took his place as the enfant terrible of the New German Cinema. Cast entirely with dwarf actors, the film follows the chaos that erupts ...

  • Land of Silence and Darkness

    Episode 3

    Directed by Werner Herzog • 1971 • West Germany

    Werner Herzog’s first feature-length documentary follows Fini Straubinger, a woman who has lost her hearing and sight, as she travels to visit others without the use of those two senses. Through her interactions and the incredible stories of the pe...

  • Fata Morgana

    Episode 4

    Directed by Werner Herzog • 1971 • West Germany

    Considered by many to be the quintessential masterpiece among Werner Herzog’s early works, FATA MORGANA can be described as an expressionist documentary. Consisting of three parts, the film is an absorbing collection of images shot in an around the...

  • Aguirre, the Wrath of God

    Episode 5

    Directed by Werner Herzog • 1972 • West Germany, Mexico, Peru
    Starring Klaus Kinski, Ruy Guerra, Helena Roho

    The first of Werner Herzog’s legendary—and notoriously tempestuous—collaborations with actor Klaus Kinski is a feverish account of sixteenth-century Spanish conquistador Lope de Aguirre’s...

  • The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

    Episode 6

    Directed by Werner Herzog • 1974 • West Germany
    Starring Bruno S., Walter Ladengast, Brgitte Mira

    Based on real events, THE ENIGMA OF KASPAR HAUSER tells the story of a young man imprisoned in a basement dungeon for the first seventeen years of his life, devoid of human contact, until his captor...

  • Heart of Glass

    Episode 7

    Directed by Werner Herzog • 1976 • West Germany
    Starring Josef Bierbichler, Stefan Güttler, Clemens Scheitz

    In the late eighteenth century, a Bavarian village succumbs to madness as the townsfolk search for the secret to creating the unique ruby glass that is their lifeblood, lost to them whe...

  • Stroszek

    Episode 8

    Directed by Werner Herzog • 1977 • West Germany
    Starring Bruno S., Eva Mattes, Clemens Scheitz

    Werner Herzog’s tragically absurd tour through 1970s America stars the singular Bruno S. as an ostracized, alcoholic Berlin street musician who, joined by a prostitute (Eva Mattes) and his eccentric el...

  • Woyzeck
    Episode 9


    Episode 9

    Directed by Werner Herzog • 1979 • West Germany
    Starring Klaus Kinski, Eva Mattes, Wolfgang Reichmann

    Werner Herzog ventured into the dark depths of madness once again with this adaptation of the unfinished stage play by Georg Buchner, the story of a real-life nineteenth-century barber turned...

  • Nosferatu the Vampyre

    Episode 10

    Directed by Werner Herzog • 1979 • West Germany
    Starring Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz

    It is 1850 in the beautiful, perfectly-kept town of Wismar. Jonathan Harker (Bruno Ganz) is about to leave on a long journey over the Carpathian Mountains to finalize real-estate arrangements with ...

  • Fitzcarraldo

    Episode 11

    Directed by Werner Herzog • 1982 • West Germany
    Starring Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale

    Werner Herzog’s infamously arduous productions were already legendary when he outdid himself with FITZCARRALDO, a feat as utterly quixotic and improbable as its protagonist. Klaus Kinski stars as the wild-ey...

  • Where the Green Ants Dream

    Episode 12

    Directed by Werner Herzog • 1984 • West Germany, Australia
    Starring Bruce Spence, Wandjuk Marika, Roy Marika

    Werner Herzog heads to the Australian outback for this typically idiosyncratic variation on one of his pet themes: the uneasy relationship between modern man and nature. When an Austra...

  • Ballad of the Little Soldier

    Episode 13

    Directed by Werner Herzog • 1984 • West Germany

    Focusing on a group of Nicaraguan Miskito Indians embroiled in a civil war against the Sandinistas they once called allies, BALLAD OF THE LITTLE SOLDIER takes an intimate look at the conflict from the perspective of the children being used by the M...

  • Cobra Verde

    Episode 14

    Directed by Werner Herzog • 1987 • West Germany
    Starring Klaus Kinski, King Ampaw, José Lewgoy

    This final collaboration between best fiends Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski plumbs the horrors of colonialism in a delirious cinematic nightmare. COBRA VERDE tells the story of a Brazilian rancher turn...

  • Lessons of Darkness

    Episode 15

    Directed by Werner Herzog • 1992 • Germany

    “The collapse of the stellar universe will occur–like creation–in grandiose splendor,” announces the quote (attributed to Blaise Pascal, but actually invented by the director) that begins Werner Herzog’s terrifyingly beautiful rumination on the ravaged ...

  • Little Dieter Needs to Fly

    Episode 16

    Directed by Werner Herzog • 1997 • Germany

    Dieter Dengler, a German-American Navy pilot who was shot down over Vietnam in 1966, recounts his experiences as a POW in a Vietnamese prison, tortured and starved until fear and desperation compelled him to make daring escape. Travelling to Laos and Th...

  • My Best Fiend

    Episode 17

    Directed by Werner Herzog • 1999 • Germany

    An engrossing look at one of cinema’s most intriguing partnerships, MY BEST FIEND chronicles Werner Herzog’s legendarily volatile friendship with actor Klaus Kinski. As Herzog delves into his history with Kinski in colorful detail—from the flat Kinski o...