- 0:00:01 Prologue
- After the conquest and plundering of the Inca empire by Spain, the Indians invented the legend of El Dorado, a land of gold, located in the swamps of the Amazon headwaters. A large expedition of Spanish adventurers, led by Gonzalo Pizzaro, set off from the Peruvian highlands in late 1560. The only document to survive from this lost expedition is the diary of the monk Gaspar de Carvajal.
- 0:00:50 The legendary jungle
- Caravajal (voice over): On Christmas day 1560, we reached the last pass of the Andes and for the first time looked down on the legendary jungle. In the morning I read Mass, then we descended through the clouds.
- 0:05:20 Going under
- Aguirre: No one can get down that river alive!
Pizarro: I tell you we can do it! From here it will be easier!
Aguirre: No. We're all going to go under.
- 0:07:10 Jungle conditions (1)
- Caravajal (voice over): Our Indian slaves are useless. The changing climate kills them off like flies . . . most of them die of colds. We don't even have time to give them a Christian burial.
- 0:07:54 Jungle conditions (2)
- Guzman: Come on, move it!
Aguirre: Move you pigs! Come on! Let's go!
Random: Keep moving, we don't want to get stuck in the mud!
Guzman: Son of a bitch!
Aguirre: You idiots! The sedan-chair will get stuck!
Guzman: This way! Damned mud!
Random: Watch it, you idiots!
Random: Keep the barrel out of the water!
- 0:09:35 Jungle conditions (3)
- Caravajal (voice over): By the last day of the year we were exhausted. We camped near the river.
- 0:09:48 Pizarro's plan
- Pizarro: It can't go on like this, men. The rations are almost finished. The terrain is so difficult, we're almost at a standstill. We cannot hope to reach a populated area for some time. In view of the situation we're in, I have changed my plans, as follows: rafts will be built an manned by forty men. These men will have the task to get food and information about hostile Indians and the location of El Dorado. We have every reason to believe that both are near. The expedition must return within one week, by water or by land. If it doesn't, we have to assume it is lost, and we have to march back the same way in the hope of reaching an area inhabited by Christians. We hope, of course, that this will not happen as long as the Virgin Mary is with us.
- 0:13:27 New beginning
- Caravajal (voice over): Four days later, on January fourth, we set out. May God be with us.
- 0:17:25 Trapped in the eddy
- Caravajal (voice over): January 6th. We finally reached shore and set up camp. On the other side of the river, one of our rafts ran into an eddy. We could not hear what they were yelling, and could not help.
- 0:17:48 Is that so
- Aguirre: How many are on the raft?
Ursua: Seven and two Indians. We must try to help the poor devils, Aguirre.
Aguirre: You are crazy! We will not help them!
Ursua: I'm still giving the orders.
Aguirre (aside to a companion): Is that so.
- 0:22:56 The rusty cannon
- Ursua: A prayer from here is not enough, Brother Caravajal. I want to take these men back for a Christian burial.
Caravajal: You are right, my son, their souls will rest much better in consecrated ground. It's the least we can do for these poor guys who died so bravely.
Aguirre (after they have passed): Perucho! Perucho, don't you think the cannon is getting a bit rusty?
- 0:24:52 This isn't Castile
- Inez: You know very well who is responsible. If Aguirre gets away with this, who knows what he will do next.
Ursua: Don't worry about that. We really have other problems. There are Indians everywhere. The whole area is full of them. And no one wants to die like the men on the raft.
Inez: If only we were out of this trouble.
Ursua: We can't hope for that yet. Don't be afraid. Aguirre would never dare to rebel against the Spanish crown.
Inez: We are not in Castile here.
- 0:25:38 The sloth
- Aguirre (to Flora): Look what I've found for you. This animal sleeps its whole life away. It's never really awake.
- 0:27:55 Who gave the orders (1)
- Ursua: What's going on?
Soldier: We're making nails.
Ursua: What for?
Soldier: We need as many nails as possible.
Ursua: What are you doing with this log?
Okello: Well, I'm carrying it from where I found it back to the camp.
Ursua: Who gave that order?
Okello: Everyone here is collecting wood and iron.
- 0:28:46 Who gave the orders (2)
- Ursua: What's going on here?
Guzman: I have no idea.
Ursua: Who gave the order to build rafts?
- 0:29:27 Ursua's plan
- Ursua: Gentleman, as your commander, I have decided, to return to our main troop.
Random (sotto voce): It's not my habit to retreat.
Ursua: We have to march back, of course, because the current is too strong. We need to get back within the time Pizarro ordered.
Guzman: But that would be suicide because of the Indians.
Ursua: Whatever the cost, we have to march back. We must get back to Pizarro!
Aguirre: Shit on Pizarro!
Ursua: I say we can't accomplish our task this way.
Aguirre: And I say we can conquer without Pizarro. . . . Do you remember Hernando Cortes? Bound for Mexico, he was ordered to return, but he just went on!
Ursua: Silence, Aguirre!
Aguirre: He ignored the orders and conquered Mexico!
Ursua: Silence, everyone!
Aguirre: That's how he became rich and famous.
Ursua: Be quiet!
Aguirre: Because he disobeyed!
Ursua: Put him in chains!
[Aguirre shoots Ursua]
. . . .
Soldier: Who cares as long as we get to El Dorado.
- 0:34:13 The side of the strong
- Inez: You are the only one who can help us? I know he will kill Ursua and Armando. He will finish what he has started. You are my last hope.
Caravajal: Thou lettest man flow on like a river, and thy years know no end. As for men, his days are like grass, as a flower on the field, so he blossoms. For when the wind passeth over it, and it is gone, and the place thereof shall know it no more. You know, my child, for the good of our Lord the Church was always on the side of the strong.
- 0:36:07 A leader
- Aguirre: Well, gentleman, we've gotten rid of the troublemakers. Now we need a leader. For me, the choice is clear. We should elect the biggest and strongest nobleman we have.
- 0:37:40 No escape
- Balthasar: Plagues have come over my people, earthquakes and floods, but what the Spanish did to us is much, much worse. They gave me the name Balthasar, but my real name is Runo Rimac.
Flora: What does that mean?
Balthasar: Runo Rimac. It means: he who speaks. I was a prince in this land. No one was allowed to look directly into my eyes. But now I'm in chains, like my people, and I must bow my head. Almost everything was taken from us. I can't do anything, I'm powerless. But I am also sorry for you because I know there is no escape from this jungle.
- 0:39:45 Aguirre's letter
- Caravajal (reading from Aguirre's letter): Caesarian King, by the grace of God through our Holy Mother, the Roman Catholic Church, Philip the Second of Castile. We, the undersigned, have until yesterday, the seventh day of 1561, regarded ourselves as your servants and subjects. We are now more than 200 miles from your servant Gonzalo Pizarro. Fate, God's help and the work of our hands have carried us down a river. A river, the natives call Hullaga, in search of a new land of gold. We have decided to put an end to the quirks of fate. We are forging history, and no fruits of this earth shall henceforth be shared. We rebel until death. Our hands shall perish and our tongues dry up if this is not so. The House of Habsburg is overthrown. And you, Philip the Second, are dethroned. By dint of this declaration, be you annihilated. In your place we proclaim the nobleman from Sevilla, Don Fernando de Guzman as Emperor of El Dorado. Flee from hence, O King! And may God bless your soul.
Aguirre: Fortune smiles on the brave and spits on the coward. Let's sever our ties with Spain and crown Don Fernando de Guzman Emperor of El Dorado.
Guzman: Do you call this a throne?
Aguirre: What is a throne but a plank red with velvet, Your Majesty?
- 0:43:26 Escape
- Caravajal (voice over): January 10th. Armando escaped from his prison. The man who went on guard at 3 o'clock was murdered.
- 0:44:07 The rule of law
- Guzman: While I'm Emperor, law will prevail. No killings without a trial.
Aguirre: Then try him . . . and then kill him!
Guzman: But it must be a public trial.
- 0:45:28 The black man
- Okello (giving testimony at the trial): I was Pizarro's slave. Then he gave me away for this expedition, because he thought, if the Indians are scared of a horse they'd be terrified of a black man.
- 0:47:27 Clemency
- Guzman: I confirm the verdict, but since it is the anniversary of the last Moor leaving Spain, I will grant clemency.
- 0:51:04 Cannibals
- Caravajal (voice over): The discovery of cannibals around us was so disturbing that we hastily left this dreadful place.
- 0:51:31 Slowing down
- Caravajal (voice over): January 20th. The mountains are now behind us and the land is flat. The roof Aguirre had us build, protects us against the scorching sun. The river is sluggish and we're slowly coming to a halt.
- 0:59:22 The unfinished creation
- Caravajal (voice over): January 24th. For the first time, we saw two of the savages. They seemed to be trusting.
. . . .
Balthasar (translating): He says he's from the Yagua tribe. He knows from his ancestors that one day, the Sons of the Sun would arrive from afar, through great perils. The strangers would come with thunder from tubes. They've waited a long time for the coming of the Sons of the Sun. For here on this river, God never finished his creation.
Guzman: Look, gold! where did you get that? Gold!
Caravajal: Gold! Ask him where he got it from. Ask him where El Dorado is.
- 1:01:25 The word of God
- Caravajal: Has this savage ever heard of our savior Jesus Christ and of our mission and the True Word of God? This is the Bible. It contains the Word of God that we preach to bring light into the darkness of their world. Does he understand at all, that this book contains the Word of God? Take it in your hand, my son.
Balthasar: He says, it doesn't talk.
Random: Kill him for this blasphemy!
Caravajal (voice over): It is a tough business. These savages are hard to convert.
- 1:02:39 Golden bullets and a golden cross
- Guzman: It won't be much longer. El Dorado might only be a few days away. No more rust on the cannon. We will shoot our enemies with golden bullets. And you, Okello, will serve my food on golden platters.
Okello: And all of us will gain something. Governorships . . . provinces . . . and women . . . and perhaps I'll even be free.
Caravajal: Let's not forget the most important part of our mission, to spread the word of God to the savages.
Guzman: I'm sure you'd like a golden cross studded with jewels, Caravajal, instead of the silver one you lost.
- 1:04:18 Taking possession
- Guzman: All the land to our left and all the land to our right now belongs to us. I solemnly and formally take possession of all this land. Our country is already six times larger than Spain, and everyday we drift makes it bigger.
Aguirre: Have you seen any solid ground that would support your weight?
- 1:08:29 The damned horse
- Guzman: Damn! get that horse away from me! Get rid of it! Throw that damned beast off the raft!
- 1:11:24 The fate of Ursua
- Caravajal (voice over): After our Emperor's death, the fate of Ursua was sealed. Next morning a few soldiers took him away and he never came back.
- 1:14:40 Floating meat
- Aguirre: What are they shouting?
Balthasar: They're shouting, "Meat is Floating by."
- 1:18:40 The wrath of God
- Aguirre: I am the great traitor. There can be no greater! Whoever even thinks about deserting will be cut into 198 pieces! And then trampled upon until you can paint the walls with him. Whoever eats one grain too many or drinks one drop of water too much will be locked up for 155 years! If I, Aguirre, want the birds to drop dead from the trees, the birds will drop dead from the trees. I am the Wrath of God! The earth I walk upon sees me and quakes! But whoever follows me and the river, will win untold riches. But whoever deserts . . .
- 1:23:20 Mexico was no illusion
- Caravajal (voice over): February 1st. The men's morale is at a low point. I spoke with Aguirre.
Caravajal: Things are not turning out as we expected. We see nothing but hunger and death. We lose men, but we never see the enemy. Even El Dorado hasn't been more than an illusion.
Aguirre: Mexico was no illusion! If we turn back now others will come, and they will succeed! And we'll remain a failure! Even if this land only consists of trees and water, we will conquer it! And it'll be milked dry by those who follow us. My men measure riches in gold. It is more. It is power and fame. I despise them for it.
- 1:24:38 The path to destruction
- Caravajal (voice over): I am sure, Aguirre is leading us into destruction. I almost feel, he does it deliberately. We can't even get ashore, since the river flooded the jungle for miles.
- 1:24:55 Drifitng in circles
- Caravajal (voice over): February 22nd. The suffering is dreadful. Most men have fever and hallucinations. Hardly anyone can stand upright. The soldier Justo Gonzalez drank my ink, thinking it was medicine. I can no longer write. We are drifting in circles.
- 1:26:42 The imaginary ship
- Okello: I see a ship with sails in a tall tree and from the stern hangs a canoe.
Caravajal: The ship is in your imagination. . . .
Aguirre: Shut up, Monk! We'll get that ship! It is real! We'll sail to the Atlantic with it.
Caravajal: No, Lope de Aguirre, I won't go with you. We are weak and hungry.
- 1:28:13 This is not rain
- Caravajal: This arrow can't harm me. This is not rain.
Aguirre: Monk, do not forget to pray, lest God's end will be uncomely.
- 1:29:49 Great treachery
- Aguirre (to himself): When we reach the sea, we will build a bigger ship, sail north and take Trinidad from the Spanish crown. From there we'll sail on and take Mexico from Cortes. What great treachery this will be! Then, all of New Spain will be in our hands and we'll stage history like others stage plays.
- 1:31:34 Who is with me
- Aguirre (to himself): I, the Wrath of God, will marry my own daughter and with her I will found the purest dynasty the earth has ever seen. Together we shall rule this entire continent. We will endure.
Aguirre (aloud): I am the Wrath of God! Who else is with me?