What It’s About: In sixteenth century Peru, conquistadors travel down the Amazon looking for El Dorado, the city of gold. As members of the expedition fall prey to disease, hostile natives, and the elements, the mad Aguirre (Klaus Kinski) takes control of the expedition, murdering those who stand in his way, and drives it on into oblivion.
Why Watch it Today?: The real Aguirre died today in 1561, executed by the Spanish authorities for his crimes. Werner Herzog’s Aguirre takes license with his story, creating a film that is one of the greatest descents into madness ever filmed, surpassing the more famous Apocalypse Now as a trip to the Heart of Darkness. The shoot of Aguirre was troubled, mainly due to conflict driven by Herzog and Kinski’s famously explosive working relationship.
Where to Get It: Libraries or Netflix (rental)