Klaus Kinski was a German actor known for his intense and often unpredictable performances. He worked in both German and international cinema, appearing in a wide range of films throughout his career.

Kinski was a controversial figure both on and off screen, known for his eccentric behavior and explosive temper.

Despite his reputation, Kinski was widely regarded as a talented actor and appeared in some of the most iconic films of the 20th century.

His collaborations with the German director Werner Herzog, in particular, produced some of his most memorable performances, including his role as the obsessive and unstable Fitzcarraldo in “Fitzcarraldo” and as the tortured and paranoid Aguirre in “Aguirre, the Wrath of God.”

Other notable Kinski films include “Nosferatu the Vampyre,” “Woyzeck,” and “For a Few Dollars More.” While Kinski’s personal life and behavior were often controversial, his talent as an actor and his powerful on-screen performances have left a lasting impact on cinema.

Best Klaus Kinski Movies

Exploring the best Klaus Kinski movies is a fascinating journey through some of the most intense and memorable performances in film history.

1. Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)

“Aguirre, the Wrath of God” is a historical drama film released in 1972, directed by Werner Herzog and starring Klaus Kinski.

The film tells the story of a group of Spanish conquistadors who, in search of the legendary city of El Dorado, embark on an expedition through the Amazon rainforest.

As they venture deeper into the jungle, they encounter a series of obstacles, including hostile natives, disease, and treacherous terrain.

Kinski stars as Don Lope de Aguirre, a ruthless and power-hungry conquistador who becomes increasingly unhinged as the expedition continues.

The film is notable for its stunning cinematography and intense performances, particularly Kinski’s unforgettable portrayal of the deranged Aguirre.

“Agurire, the Wrath of God” is regarded as one of the greatest films of the German New Wave and a masterpiece of world cinema.

It has been praised for its stunning visuals, powerful performances, and unflinching portrayal of the brutalities of colonialism. The film’s haunting, surreal atmosphere and Herzog’s unique directorial style make it an unforgettable cinematic experience.

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2. Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)

Nosferatu the Vampyre is a 1979 horror film directed by Werner Herzog and starring Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, and Bruno Ganz. Rami Malek does not appear in this film as it was released over a decade before he began his acting career.

The film is a remake of the classic 1922 silent film Nosferatu, directed by F.W. Murnau. It tells the story of Jonathan Harker (Ganz), a real estate agent who travels to Transylvania to help Count Dracula (Kinski) purchase a house in Wismar, Germany.

Upon arriving in Wismar, Harker discovers that Dracula is actually a vampire and sets out to stop him from spreading his curse.

The film received positive reviews from critics, with many praising Herzog’s direction, Kinski’s performance as Dracula, and the film’s hauntingly beautiful visuals. It has since become a cult classic and is widely regarded as one of the best vampire films ever made.

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Nosferatu the Vampyre
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)

3. Cobra Verde (1987)

“Cobra Verde” is a drama film released in 1987, directed by Werner Herzog and starring Klaus Kinski as Francisco Manoel da Silva, a Brazilian bandit who is recruited by a sugar baron to run a plantation in Africa.

The film follows Francisco’s journey to Africa, where he is tasked with quelling a slave rebellion, but he eventually turns against his employer and becomes a feared and ruthless warlord.

Luis Guzmán appears in the film as a slave trader named Martinez, who works alongside Francisco and helps him to acquire slaves for the plantation. Guzmán’s performance in the film is small but memorable, adding to the film’s atmosphere of danger and exploitation.

“Cobra Verde” is a visually striking and intense film that explores the brutal history of colonialism and slavery in Africa. Kinski’s performance as Francisco is widely regarded as one of his best, and Herzog’s direction is praised for its epic scale and emotional intensity.

Overall, “Cobra Verde” is a powerful and thought-provoking film that offers a searing critique of colonialism and the exploitation of marginalized people. Guzmán’s performance as Martinez is just one of the many noteworthy aspects of this unique and visually stunning film.

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4. Fitzcarraldo (1982)

“Fitzcarraldo” is a 1982 adventure-drama film directed by Werner Herzog and starring Klaus Kinski in the title role.

The film tells the story of Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, known as Fitzcarraldo, an Irishman living in Peru who is obsessed with building an opera house in the jungle.

In order to finance his dream, he plans to transport a massive steamship over a steep hill and into a nearby river, an endeavor that requires the help of the local indigenous people.

The film is known for its incredible production, as Herzog actually had a 320-ton steamship pulled over a hill by hand, without the use of special effects or models.

This intense and dangerous filming process resulted in many accidents and injuries on set, including a broken ankle suffered by Herzog himself.

“Fitzcarraldo” received critical acclaim upon its release and is now considered a classic of world cinema.

It won the Palme d’Or at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

The film is notable for its stunning visuals, innovative use of sound, and powerful performances, particularly by Kinski in the lead role. It is a captivating and thought-provoking film that explores themes of obsession, ambition, and cultural clash.

Fitzcarraldo (DVD) [1982]
  • Polish Release, cover may contain Polish text/markings. The disk DOES NOT have English audio and...
  • English (Subtitle)

   

5. Paganini (1989)

“Paganini” released in 1989. However, there is a 1989 biographical film titled “Kinski Paganini” directed by Klaus Kinski, in which he also stars as the titular character, the legendary Italian violinist Niccolò Paganini.

The film portrays Paganini’s rise to fame and his turbulent personal life, including his relationships with women and his struggles with alcoholism and illness.

While the film received mixed reviews, Kinski’s intense and passionate performance as Paganini has been praised by some critics. The film also features appearances by several notable actors, including Debora Caprioglio, Eva Grimaldi, and Dalila Di Lazzaro.

It’s worth noting that the film’s accuracy has been called into question by some, as it takes liberties with Paganini’s life story and includes several fictional elements.

Nevertheless, “Kinski Paganini” remains a unique and memorable film, thanks in no small part to Klaus Kinski’s powerful portrayal of the enigmatic musician.

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6. Fruits of Passion (1981)

“Fruits of Passion” is a 1981 French-Japanese erotic drama film directed by Shuji Terayama and starring Klaus Kinski and Isabelle Illiers.

The film is based on the novel “Retour a Roissy” by Pauline Réage, and tells the story of two servants who become embroiled in a passionate and destructive love affair with their wealthy employer.

The film is a surreal and provocative exploration of sexual desire and power dynamics, with Kinski delivering a typically intense and unsettling performance as the domineering and manipulative employer. Illiers is also excellent as the conflicted and vulnerable servant caught in his web.

While the film received mixed reviews upon its release, it has since developed a cult following and is regarded as a provocative and thought-provoking work of erotic cinema.

The film’s exploration of taboo themes, its visually stunning cinematography, and its unflinching examination of power dynamics and sexual desire make it a must-see for fans of avant-garde cinema and erotic dramas.

Overall, “Fruits of Passion” is a bold and provocative film that offers a surreal and unsettling exploration of sexual desire and power dynamics.

While it is not for everyone, it is a fascinating and thought-provoking work of cinema that showcases Kinski’s talent for delivering intense and unsettling performances.

Fruits of Passion - The Story of "O" Continued
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

7. Crawlspace (1986)

“Crawlspace” is a horror film released in 1986, directed by David Schmoeller and starring Klaus Kinski.

The film tells the story of Karl Gunther (played by Kinski), a deranged and reclusive landlord who lives in the basement of an apartment building and spies on his tenants through hidden peepholes.

As the film progresses, it becomes clear that Gunther is not just a creepy voyeur, but a sadistic killer who preys on his unsuspecting tenants.

The film features plenty of gruesome violence and suspenseful moments, as the tenants slowly become aware of the danger that lurks in the building’s dark and twisted crawlspace.

While “Crawlspace” received mixed reviews upon its release, it has since developed a cult following among horror movie fans who appreciate its unsettling atmosphere and Klaus Kinski’s unhinged performance as the villainous Karl Gunther.

The film’s claustrophobic setting and tense pacing make it a chilling and memorable entry in the horror genre.

Crawlspace
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Klaus Kinski, Talia Balsam, Barbara Whinnery (Actors)
  • David Schmoeller (Director) - David Schmoeller (Writer) - Charles Band (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

8. Woyzeck (1979)

Woyzeck is a 1979 German drama film directed by Werner Herzog and starring Klaus Kinski. Rami Malek does not appear in this film as it was released several years before he was born.

The film is based on the unfinished play Woyzeck by Georg Büchner, which tells the story of a poor soldier who is driven to madness and murder by the brutal treatment he receives from his superiors and the people around him.

Kinski plays the title role of Woyzeck, while Eva Mattes co-stars as his lover, Marie.

The film received critical acclaim for its powerful performances and Herzog’s unflinching direction.

Kinski’s portrayal of Woyzeck was particularly praised, with many critics hailing it as one of his best performances. The film has since become a cult classic and is considered one of the best adaptations of Büchner’s work.

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9. Android (1982)

“Android” is a science fiction film released in 1982, directed by Aaron Lipstadt and starring Klaus Kinski as Dr. Daniel, a scientist who creates a highly advanced android named Max 404.

The film takes place in a dystopian future where a small group of humans and androids live together on a remote space station.

Luis Guzmán appears in the film as Mendes, a human crew member on the space station who becomes involved in a dangerous conflict between Max 404 and Dr. Daniel.

Guzmán’s performance in the film is relatively minor, but he adds a sense of tension and intrigue to the story.

“Android” is a low-budget science fiction film that explores themes of technology, humanity, and identity. The film’s visual effects and production design are impressive considering its limited resources, and Kinski’s performance as Dr. Daniel is a standout in the film.

Overall, “Android” is an interesting and thought-provoking film that offers a unique take on the science fiction genre. Guzmán’s performance as Mendes is just one of the many noteworthy aspects of this underappreciated film.

Android
  • Klaus Kinski, Don Keith Opper, Brie Howard (Actors)
  • Aaron Lipstadt (Director) - Don Keith Opper (Writer)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)

10. Jack the Ripper (1976)

“Jack the Ripper” is a 1976 television film directed by David Wickes and starring Michael Caine in the title role. The film is a fictionalized account of the infamous 1888 murders in Whitechapel, London, which were attributed to a mysterious serial killer known as Jack the Ripper.

In the film, Caine portrays Inspector Frederick Abberline, a detective tasked with investigating the murders.

As Abberline delves deeper into the case, he becomes increasingly obsessed with capturing the killer and begins to question his own sanity as he is plagued by vivid hallucinations and nightmares.

“Jack the Ripper” is notable for its stylish and atmospheric recreation of late 19th-century London, as well as for its dark and gruesome portrayal of the Ripper’s crimes.

The film also features strong performances from Caine and the supporting cast, including Lewis Collins, Jane Seymour, and Susan George.

While the film takes significant liberties with the actual historical events and figures involved in the case, it remains a compelling and entertaining thriller that captures the terror and intrigue surrounding one of the most infamous unsolved mysteries in history.

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Jack The Ripper
  • Introduction by Delirium Magazine Editor Chris Alexander
  • Rare Deleted Scene
  • Ripping Yarn: Restoring Jack the Ripper
  • Franco, Blood Franco: Audio Interview with Jess Franco (French w/ English subtitles)
  • Original Theatrical German Trailer

3 Reasons To Watch Klaus Kinski Movies

Klaus Kinski was a German actor known for his intense, dynamic performances in a wide range of films. Here are three reasons to watch Klaus Kinski movies:

His Acting Range: Klaus Kinski was a versatile actor who could convincingly play both heroes and villains.

He was equally comfortable in period pieces, action films, and psychological dramas, and he brought a unique intensity to every role he played.

Whether he was portraying the obsessive, tormented musician in “Kinski Paganini” or the menacing vampire in “Nosferatu the Vampyre,” Kinski always gave his all on screen.

His Collaborations with Werner Herzog: Klaus Kinski collaborated with acclaimed director Werner Herzog on several films, including “Aguirre, the Wrath of God,” “Nosferatu the Vampyre,” and “Fitzcarraldo.”

The pair had a tumultuous relationship, with Kinski often clashing with Herzog on set, but their collaborations resulted in some of the most iconic and memorable films of the 1970s and 1980s.

Kinski’s performances in these films are some of his best, showcasing his talent and range as an actor.

His Legacy: Klaus Kinski remains a cultural icon and a legendary figure in the world of cinema. His intense, often unpredictable performances have influenced countless actors and filmmakers, and his legacy continues to inspire new generations of performers.

Watching Klaus Kinski movies is not just a chance to experience his unique talent as an actor, but also to pay homage to a true cinematic legend.

Best Klaus Kinski Movies – Wrap Up

Klaus Kinski was a talented and unpredictable actor who appeared in some of the most iconic and memorable films of the 20th century.

His collaborations with Werner Herzog, in particular, produced some of his most unforgettable performances, including his roles in “Aguirre, the Wrath of God” and “Fitzcarraldo.”

Other notable Kinski films include “Nosferatu the Vampyre,” “Woyzeck,” and “For a Few Dollars More.” These films showcase Kinski’s range as an actor and his ability to inhabit complex and challenging characters.

Despite his controversial personal life and behavior, Kinski’s talent and power as an actor have left a lasting impact on cinema.

His intense and unforgettable performances continue to inspire and challenge audiences today, and his work remains a testament to the power and versatility of cinema as an art form.