The films of Werner Herzog have always impressed me and several are among my top favorites, most notably 1972s Aquirre: The Wrath of God. In the documentary Burden of Dreams director Les Blank followed the painstaking and chaotic production of Fitzcarraldo, which would eventually earn Herzog the Best Director award at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival.
Director Herzog had once earlier tackled filming in primeval wilderness with Aguirre, but Fitzcarraldo presented him with a new galaxy of challenges. Numerous delays were caused by several changes in the actor portraying Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, aka Fitzcarraldo. A Herculean effort was also involved with the moving of an actual steamship first across thick rain forest jungles, then over a mountain and finally through waterways and white water rapids. No CGI was used, making many scenes breath taking in their intensity and realism.