Werner Herzog's movies ranked in order of liking

by tobias_681 | created - 06 Mar 2014 | updated - 07 Jan 2018 | Public
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1. Fitzcarraldo (1982)

PG | 158 min | Adventure, Drama

The story of Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, an extremely determined man who intends to build an opera house in the middle of a jungle.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale, José Lewgoy, Miguel Ángel Fuentes

Votes: 28,736

Klaus Kinski stars in both of my top picks. In my opinion he is a great actor. He might have been mad but that did certainly not hurt his acting. It rather improved it (but it seems he was hard to work with). I have never seen a madman performance that lives up to his.

2. Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)

Not Rated | 95 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

In the 16th century, the ruthless and insane Don Lope de Aguirre leads a Spanish expedition in search of El Dorado.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Klaus Kinski, Ruy Guerra, Helena Rojo, Del Negro

Votes: 48,522

Herzog actually stole the monkeys for the last take. It improved the movie since the monkeys were awfully cute.

3. Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)

PG | 107 min | Drama, Horror

79 Metascore

Count Dracula moves from Transylvania to Wismar, spreading the Black Plague across the land. Only a woman pure of heart can bring an end to his reign of horror.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz, Roland Topor

Votes: 30,018

I love the original and while this is not as good it's certainly one of the few remakes that actually does justice to it's surce material.

4. Lessons of Darkness (1992)

Not Rated | 54 min | Documentary, War

This film shows the disaster of the Kuwaitian oil fields in flames, with few interviews and no explanatory narration. Hell itself is presented in such beautiful sights and music that one has to be fascinated by it.

Director: Werner Herzog | Star: Werner Herzog

Votes: 4,928

Pure Poetry

5. The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974)

Not Rated | 110 min | Biography, Drama, History

A young man named Kaspar Hauser suddenly appears in Nuremberg in 1828, barely able to talk or walk, and bearing a strange note.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Bruno S., Walter Ladengast, Brigitte Mira, Willy Semmelrogge

Votes: 15,439

The lead actor was actually retarded. It was a great choice from Herzog to star him. He did a great job here.

6. Encounters at the End of the World (2007)

G | 99 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

Film-maker Werner Herzog travels to the McMurdo Station in Antarctica, looking to capture the continent's beauty and investigate the characters living there.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Werner Herzog, Scott Rowland, Stefan Pashov, Doug MacAyeal

Votes: 16,490 | Gross: $0.94M

Usually this is not ranked among Herzog's greatest movies. But in my opinion it is. I loved his take on life in this. The scene with the "mad" penguin is so extremely strong. It actually made me cry.

7. Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1997)

Not Rated | 80 min | Documentary, Biography, Drama

German-American Dieter Dengler discusses his service as a U.S. naval pilot in the Vietnam War. Dengler also revisits the sites of his capture and eventual escape from the hands of the Viet Cong, recreating many events for the camera.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Dieter Dengler, Werner Herzog, Eugene Deatrick

Votes: 5,412

8. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)

R | 122 min | Crime, Drama

69 Metascore

Terence McDonagh is a drug- and gambling-addled detective in post-Katrina New Orleans investigating the killing of five Senegalese immigrants.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Russell M. Haeuser, Val Kilmer

Votes: 72,047 | Gross: $1.70M

Herzog and Cage work brilliantly together.

9. Into the Abyss (2011)

PG-13 | 107 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

74 Metascore

Conversations with death row inmate Michael Perry and those affected by his crime serve as an examination of why people - and the state - kill.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Werner Herzog, Richard Lopez, Michael Perry, Damon Hall

Votes: 15,178 | Gross: $0.22M

I've never seen a stronger film on hate and love. I cried 5 times I think.

10. My Best Fiend (1999)

Not Rated | 95 min | Documentary, Biography

70 Metascore

In the 1950s, an adolescent Werner Herzog was transfixed by a film performance of the young Klaus Kinski. Years later, they would share an apartment where, in an unabated, forty-eight-hour ... See full summary »

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Werner Herzog, Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale, Justo González

Votes: 9,795 | Gross: $0.10M

This movie is incredibly interesting. Some say Herzog wanted to make himself look good. I don't think thats true. I don't think Herzog cares about looking good. He rather offers an insight in what madness is and our perception of it. In fact some may define Herzog himself as mad because of all the things he went through to make his movies (for example endangering his entire crew while making Aguirre). Some (most) people would not do this. He did because to him the movie was more important than other things. Was Kinski actually mad? I have still got no clue.

11. Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World (2016)

PG-13 | 98 min | Documentary

76 Metascore

Werner Herzog's exploration of the Internet and the connected world.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Elon Musk, Lawrence Krauss, Lucianne Walkowicz, Kevin Mitnick

Votes: 11,270 | Gross: $0.59M

12. Land of Silence and Darkness (1971)

Not Rated | 85 min | Documentary

Through examining Fini Straubinger, an old woman who has been deaf and blind since adolescence, and her work on behalf of other deaf and blind people, this film shows how the deaf and blind... See full summary »

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Fini Straubinger, M. Baaske, Elsa Fehrer, Heinrich Fleischmann

Votes: 2,318

This documentary really gets under your skin.

13. Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010)

G | 90 min | Documentary, History

86 Metascore

Werner Herzog gains exclusive access to film inside the Chauvet caves of Southern France and captures the oldest known pictorial creations of humanity.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Werner Herzog, Jean Clottes, Julien Monney, Jean-Michel Geneste

Votes: 14,359 | Gross: $5.23M

14. The Dark Glow of the Mountains (1985 TV Movie)

45 min | Documentary

Werner Herzog follows mountaineers Hans Kammerlander and Reinhold Messner during their expedition into climbing the Gasherbrum mountains, which has some of the most difficult peaks to be ... See full summary »

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Reinhold Messner, Hans Kammerlander, Werner Herzog

Votes: 735

15. The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner (1974)

45 min | Documentary, Biography, Sport

A study of the psychology of a champion ski-jumper, whose full-time occupation is carpentry.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Walter Steiner, Werner Herzog

Votes: 2,090

16. Grizzly Man (2005)

R | 103 min | Documentary, Biography

87 Metascore

A devastating and heart-rending take on grizzly bear activists Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard, who were killed in October of 2003 while living among grizzly bears in Alaska.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Timothy Treadwell, Amie Huguenard, Werner Herzog, Carol Dexter

Votes: 49,664 | Gross: $3.17M

17. Woyzeck (1979)

Not Rated | 82 min | Drama

Franz Woyzeck is a hapless, hopeless soldier, alone and powerless in society, assaulted from all sides by forces he can not control.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Klaus Kinski, Eva Mattes, Wolfgang Reichmann, Willy Semmelrogge

Votes: 8,301

18. Fata Morgana (1971)

Not Rated | 79 min | Documentary, Comedy, Drama

Footage shot in and around the Sahara Desert, accompanied only by a spoken creation myth and the songs of Leonard Cohen.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Lotte Eisner, Eugen Des Montagnes, James William Gledhill, Wolfgang von Ungern-Sternberg

Votes: 3,211

19. Cobra Verde (1987)

Not Rated | 111 min | Adventure, Drama

55 Metascore

During the 1800s, paroled Brazilian bandit Cobra Verde is sent to West Africa with a few troops to man an old Portuguese fort and to convince the local African ruler to resume the slave trade with Brazil.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Klaus Kinski, King Ampaw, José Lewgoy, Salvatore Basile

Votes: 6,636

20. Into the Inferno (2016)

104 min | Documentary

76 Metascore

An exploration of active volcanoes around the world.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Werner Herzog, Clive Oppenheimer, Maurice Krafft, Katia Krafft

Votes: 6,118

21. La Soufrière (1977)

30 min | Documentary, Short, Biography

Herzog takes a film crew to the island of Guadeloupe when he hears that the volcano on the island is going to erupt. Everyone has left, except for one old man who refuses to leave. Herzog ... See full summary »

Director: Werner Herzog | Star: Werner Herzog

Votes: 1,753

22. The White Diamond (2004)

Not Rated | 88 min | Documentary

83 Metascore

About the daring adventure of exploring rain forest canopy with a novel flying device-the Jungle Airship. Airship engineer Dr. Graham Dorrington embarks on a trip to the giant Kaieteur ... See full summary »

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Werner Herzog, Graham Dorrington, Dieter Plage, Adrian de Schryver

Votes: 4,137

23. Signs of Life (1968)

91 min | Drama

A wounded German paratrooper named Stroszek is sent to the quiet island of Kos with his wife Nora, a Greek nurse, and two other soldiers recovering from minor wounds. Billeted in a decaying... See full summary »

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Peter Brogle, Wolfgang Reichmann, Athina Zacharopoulou, Wolfgang von Ungern-Sternberg

Votes: 1,798

24. Invincible (2001)

PG-13 | 133 min | Drama, War

55 Metascore

A Jewish strongman performs in Berlin as the blond Aryan hero Siegfried.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Jouko Ahola, Tim Roth, Anna Gourari, Max Raabe

Votes: 3,909 | Gross: $0.08M

25. Stroszek (1977)

Not Rated | 115 min | Comedy, Drama

In Berlin, an alcoholic man, recently released from prison, joins his elderly friend and a prostitute in a determined dream to leave Germany and seek a better life in Wisconsin.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Bruno S., Eva Mattes, Clemens Scheitz, Wilhelm von Homburg

Votes: 12,114

26. Where the Green Ants Dream (1984)

R | 100 min | Drama

A geologist employed by an Australian mining company finds himself disputing the rights of some aborigines who believe their land to be sacred.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Bruce Spence, Wandjuk Marika, Roy Marika, Ray Barrett

Votes: 1,907

27. Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary

74 Metascore

A documentary depicting the life and work of the trappers of Bakhtia, a village in the heart of the Siberian Taiga, where daily life has changed little in over a century.

Directors: Werner Herzog, Dmitry Vasyukov | Stars: Werner Herzog, Nikolay Nikiforovitch Siniaev, Gennady Soloviev, Anatoly Tarkovsky

Votes: 7,307 | Gross: $0.34M

28. Heart of Glass (1976)

Not Rated | 94 min | Drama

The foreman of a small village glassworks dies without revealing the secret to the famous "Ruby Glass".

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Josef Bierbichler, Stefan Güttler, Clemens Scheitz, Volker Prechtel

Votes: 5,065

The ending might still be the best scene he ever filmed.

29. Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970)

Not Rated | 96 min | Comedy, Drama

A group of dwarfs at a correctional facility erupt in anarchy.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Helmut Döring, Paul Glauer, Gisela Hertwig, Hertel Minkner

Votes: 5,098

30. Portrait Werner Herzog (1986)

28 min | Documentary, Short

A self portrait documentary by Werner Herzog.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Werner Herzog, Reinhold Messner, Lotte Eisner, Paul Hittscher

Votes: 293

31. Wings of Hope (2000 TV Movie)

65 min | Documentary, Adventure, Biography

Werner Herzog returns to the South American jungle with Juliane Koepcke, the German woman who was the sole survivor of a plane crash there in 1971. They find the remains of the plane and recreate her journey out of the jungle.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Werner Herzog, Juliane Koepcke, Juan Zaplana Ramirez

Votes: 921

32. Gesualdo: Death for Five Voices (1995 TV Movie)

59 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

Works, legend and murders of Carlo Gesualdo, a notorious Italian composer and murderer from the 16th century.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Pasquale D'Onofrio, Salvatore Catorano, Angelo Carrabs, Milva

Votes: 639

33. Rescue Dawn (2006)

PG-13 | 120 min | Action, Biography, Drama

77 Metascore

A U.S. fighter pilot's epic struggle of survival after being shot down on a mission over Laos during the Vietnam War.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Christian Bale, Steve Zahn, Jeremy Davies, Zach Grenier

Votes: 97,125 | Gross: $5.49M

34. My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (2009)

R | 91 min | Drama, Thriller

59 Metascore

Inspired by a true crime, a man begins to experience mystifying events that lead him to slay his mother with a sword.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Michael Shannon, Willem Dafoe, Chloë Sevigny, Udo Kier

Votes: 9,114

35. Herdsmen of the Sun (1989 TV Movie)

52 min | Documentary

Herzog's documentary of the Wodaabe people of the Sahara/Sahel region. Particular attention is given to the tribe's spectacular courtship rituals and 'beauty pageants', where eligible young... See full summary »

Director: Werner Herzog | Star: Werner Herzog

Votes: 622

36. Queen of the Desert (2015)

PG-13 | 128 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

39 Metascore

A chronicle of Gertrude Bell's life, a traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the twentieth century.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Nicole Kidman, James Franco, Robert Pattinson, Damian Lewis

Votes: 9,111

37. From One Second to the Next (2013)

34 min | Documentary, Short

Stories of serious traffic accidents caused by texting and driving are told by the perpetrators and surviving victims.

Director: Werner Herzog

Votes: 1,088

38. Bells from the Deep (1993)

60 min | Documentary

What is faith and religion to Russians after the fall of communism? We get the insight into the Russian Orthodox church as well as different folk and shamanic beliefs.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Werner Herzog, Anna Hitch, Vissarion, Yuri Yurievich Yurieff

Votes: 758

39. Wheel of Time (2003)

Not Rated | 80 min | Documentary

65 Metascore

Wheel of Time is Werner Herzog's photographed look at the largest Buddhist ritual in Bodh Gaya, India.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: The Dalai Lama, Lama Lhundup Woeser, Takna Jigme Sangpo, Matthieu Ricard

Votes: 2,066

41. Precautions Against Fanatics (1969)

12 min | Short, Drama

The film features several horse trainers and other track workers talking about their roles at the track, always eventually interrupted by an older man who claims to be the true authority, ... See full summary »

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Petar Radenkovic, Mario Adorf, Hans Tiedemann, Herbert Hisel

Votes: 661

42. Pilgrimage (2001)

18 min | Documentary, Short

Add a Plot

Director: Werner Herzog

Votes: 251

43. The Unprecedented Defence of the Fortress Deutschkreuz (1967)

15 min | Short

Four guys break into an old castle and find uniforms and military equipment. They then prepare to defend it from an imaginary enemy.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Peter Brumm, Georg Eska, Karl-Heinz Steffel, Wolfgang von Ungern-Sternberg

Votes: 645

44. La Bohème (II) (2009)

4 min | Documentary, Short, Music

Part of a series of opera shorts by different directors. Herzog combines O Soave Fanciulla ("Oh you vision of beauty" from Puccini's La Boheme) with images of harsh life in Africa.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Peter Auty, Mary Plazas

Votes: 180

45. Last Words (1968)

13 min | Short

The story of a solitary man who refuses to leave a Greek island (at one time a leper colony) is told by a strange variety of characters who don't have much to say except to repeat their ... See full summary »

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Lefteris Daskalakis, Antonis Papadakis

Votes: 724

46. The French as Seen by... (1988– )
Episode: Les Gaulois (1988)

12 min | Comedy, Drama