95 Werner Herzog Quotes from the German Film Director

Werner Herzog, a German film director born on September 5, 1942, in Munich, is known for his unique movies that showcase psychological extremes.

Alongside contemporaries like Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Volker Schlöndorff, Herzog was a pivotal figure in postwar West German cinema.

He traveled widely during his youth and began his film career with movies like “Herakles” (1962) and “Lebenszeichen” (1967).

Herzog’s films often feature unfamiliar landscapes and contain a mystical touch, like “Aguirre, the Wrath of God” (1972).

Werner Herzog

He’s also known for pushing his actors to the limit to get the desired outcome.

Later, Herzog shifted focus to documentaries, including ones about Antarctica, the internet and Mikhail Gorbachev.

His collaborations with the actor Klaus Kinski produced notable films and Herzog occasionally acted, like in “Jack Reacher” (2012).

Overall, Herzog’s unconventional methods and subjects solidify his reputation as an innovative director.

I have selected the top quotes by Werner Herzog.

Best Werner Herzog Quotes


You can fight a rumour only with an even wilder rumour. ~ Werner Herzog.


Never wallow in your troubles; despair must be kept private and brief. ~ Werner Herzog.


At the market I ate a piece of a grilled monkey – it looked like a naked child. ~ Werner Herzog.


I prefer to be alive, so I’m cautious about taking risks. ~ Werner Herzog.


If you want to do a film, steal a camera, steal raw stock, sneak into a lab and do it! ~ Werner Herzog.


Fact creates norms, and truth illumination. ~ Werner Herzog.

Friendship is possible with mice. ~ Werner Herzog.

I am so used to plunging into the unknown that any other surroundings and form of existence strike me as exotic and unsuitable for human beings. ~ Werner Herzog.

Everyone who makes films has to be an athlete to a certain degree because cinema does not come from abstract academic thinking; it comes from your knees and thighs. ~ Werner Herzog.


Do you not then hear this horrible scream all around you that people usually call silence. ~ Werner Herzog.

A fairly young, intelligent-looking man with long hair asked me whether filming or being filmed could do harm, whether it could destroy a person. In my heart the answer was yes, but I said no. ~ Werner Herzog.

The danger is to stupidly believe that depicting facts gives us much insight. If facts were the only thing that counted, the telephone directory would be the book of books. ~ Werner Herzog.

If you do not have an absolutely clear vision of something, where you can follow the light to the end of the tunnel, then it doesn’t matter whether you’re bold or cowardly, or whether you’re stupid or intelligent. Doesn’t get you anywhere. ~ Werner Herzog.


I never planned my career in steps. It’s all coming at me like burglars in the night. ~ Werner Herzog.

I think the worst that can happen in filmmaking is if you’re working with a storyboard. That kills all intuition, all fantasy, all creativity. ~ Werner Herzog.

Some of the most important caves, like Lascaux in the Dordogne region in France, have had to be closed down. There had been too many people allowed in, and they left a mold on the walls that is spreading and which can’t really be stopped. ~ Werner Herzog.

Top Werner Herzog Quotes

Ambition is to be the fastest runner on this planet, to be the first on the South Pole, which is a grotesque perversion of ambition. It’s an ego trip, and I’m not on an ego trip. I don’t have ambitions – I have a vision. ~ Werner Herzog.


The universe is not harmonious: you know that by looking outside. ~ Werner Herzog.

When you look at the paintings at Chauvet Cave, they’re not primitive or like children’s little scribbles, it bursts on the scene fully accomplished and when you look through the faces of cultural history, art history, it has never gotten any better. ~ Werner Herzog.

I have not seen a film as powerful, surreal, and frightening in at least a decade unprecedented in the history of cinema. ~ Werner Herzog.

If you go to Florence, it has all surface beauty, but like Venice, it’s simply a museum of Renaissance times. Los Angeles is raw, uncouth and bizarre, but it’s a place of substance. It has more new horizons than any other place. ~ Werner Herzog.

For such an advanced civilization as ours to be without images that are adequate to it is as serious a defect as being without memory. ~ Werner Herzog.

I function better in the jungle in Amazonia or Antarctica or Alaska or the Sahara desert. An artificial environment like a studio has never attracted me. I could work in a studio, but I would never really feel at home. ~ Werner Herzog.

If you want to propose marriage to your girlfriend and you live in England and she is in Sicily, do the decent thing and walk down there. Travelling by car or aeroplane wouldn’t be right at such a moment. ~ Werner Herzog.

I do not believe in the Cinema verite. Sometimes a really good lie is better than any truth. ~ Werner Herzog.


I don’t spend sleepless nights over getting very bad reviews. ~ Werner Herzog.

I cannot work fast enough. I cannot cope fast enough, really. And just releasing a film is hard. ~ Werner Herzog.

Inspiring Werner Herzog Quotes

In the face of the obscene, explicit malice of the jungle, which lacks only dinosaurs as punctuation, I feel like a half-finished, poorly expressed sentence in a cheap novel. ~ Werner Herzog.

If you truly love film, I think the healthiest thing to do is not read books on the subject. I prefer the glossy film magazines with their big color photos and gossip columns, or the National Enquirer. Such vulgarity is healthy and safe. ~ Werner Herzog.

Get used to the bear behind you. ~ Werner Herzog.

I live my life outside of the glitz and glamour of the red carpet events, and so you’ll never see me there. I’m never at parties. ~ Werner Herzog.

Of course, as a German, I wouldn’t like to tell the American people how to handle their criminal justice. ~ Werner Herzog.

I’m not into the culture of complaint. I roll up my sleeves and somehow I get it together. ~ Werner Herzog.


Facts do not convey truth. That’s a mistake. Facts create norms, but truth creates illumination. ~ Werner Herzog.

Sometimes bad luck hits you like in an ancient Greek tragedy, and it’s not your own making. When you have a plane crash, it’s not your fault. ~ Werner Herzog.

We live in a society that has no adequate images anymore, and if we do not find adequate images and an adequate language for our civilization with which to express them, we will die out like the dinosaurs. ~ Werner Herzog.


There is never an excuse not to finish a film. ~ Werner Herzog.

I love nature, but against my better judgment. ~ Werner Herzog.

I travel without barely any luggage. Just a second set of underwear and binoculars and a map and a toothbrush. ~ Werner Herzog.

Famous Werner Herzog Quotes

What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams. ~ Werner Herzog.


We ought to be grateful that the Universe out there knows no smile. ~ Werner Herzog.

I am torn between the beauty of the natural world, which you see all around us, and the idea that some dumb tornado could blow a telephone pole onto my sweet Camaro. ~ Werner Herzog.

Someone like Jean-Luc Godard is for me intellectual counterfeit money when compared to a good kung fu film. ~ Werner Herzog.

I am someone who takes everything very literally. I simply do not understand irony, a defect I have had ever since I was able to think independently. ~ Werner Herzog.

If you don’t read, you will never be a filmmaker. ~ Werner Herzog.

For me a true landscape is not just a representation of a desert or a forest. It shows an inner state of mind, literally inner landscapes, and it is the human soul that is visible through the landscapes presented in my films. ~ Werner Herzog.

Academia is the death of cinema. It is the very opposite of passion. Film is not the art of scholars, but of illiterates. ~ Werner Herzog.


Money doesn’t make films. You just do it and take the initiative. ~ Werner Herzog.

I think it is a quest of literature throughout the ages to describe the human condition. ~ Werner Herzog.

I find it interesting that there are impostors out on the Internet pretending to be Werner Herzog. ~ Werner Herzog.

I’m quite convinced that cooking is the only alternative to film making. Maybe there’s also another alternative, that’s walking on foot. ~ Werner Herzog.

Facts sometimes have a strange and bizarre power that makes their inherent truth seem unbelievable. ~ Werner Herzog.

Popular Werner Herzog Quotes

I have been in lots of very intense life situations. I have been shot at, and I have been hungry, and I have been in solitude, and I have also briefly been behind bars. So in a way, I know the heart of men. ~ Werner Herzog.

In my films, I hope there are a few moments where you feel almost illuminated, like in a state of ecstasy, stepping out of yourself, beyond yourself and perceiving something which is only, in the case of cinema, possible in collective dreams. ~ Werner Herzog.

Tourism is a mortal sin. ~ Werner Herzog.

You will learn more by walking from Canada to Guatemala than you will ever learn in film school. ~ Werner Herzog.


Tourism is sin, and travel on foot virtue. ~ Werner Herzog.

I’m not into digital marketing, downloading, or streaming – I’ve always been a man of the theaters. ~ Werner Herzog.

There are deeper strata of truth in cinema, and there is such a thing as poetic, ecstatic truth. It is mysterious and elusive, and can be reached only through fabrication and imagination and stylization. ~ Werner Herzog.

I see planets that don’t exist and landscapes that have only been dreamed. ~ Werner Herzog.

If you’re purely after facts, please buy yourself the phone directory of Manhattan. It has four million times correct facts. But it doesn’t illuminate. ~ Werner Herzog.

Great Werner Herzog Quotes

I have never been one of those who cares about happiness. Happiness is a strange notion. I am just not made for it. It has never been a goal of mine; I do not think in those terms. ~ Werner Herzog.


I know for sure that there is only one step from insecticide to genocide. ~ Werner Herzog.

You must live life in its very elementary forms. The Mexicans have a very nice word for it: pura vida. It doesn’t mean just purity of life, but the raw, stark-naked quality of life. And that’s what makes young people more into a filmmaker than academia. ~ Werner Herzog.

I do whatever pushes me hardest. It’s coming at me and I try to. It’s like uninvited guest and I have to wrestle them out the door or through the window – get them out and get over with them quickly. ~ Werner Herzog.

I’m not a journalist; I’m a poet. ~ Werner Herzog.

Civilization is like a thin layer of ice upon a deep ocean of chaos and darkness. ~ Werner Herzog.


I believe the common denominator of the universe is not harmony; but chaos, hostility and murder. ~ Werner Herzog.

I don’t care whether the person is guilty or not guilty. It’s not my business to establish guilt or innocence. It’s a court of law that does that and a jury does that, but not me. ~ Werner Herzog.

I make films because I have not learned anything else and I know I can do it to a certain degree. And it is my duty because this might be the inner chronicle of what we are. We have to articulate ourselves, otherwise we would be cows in the field. ~ Werner Herzog.

If your project has real substance, ultimately the money will follow you like a common cur in the street with its tail between its legs. ~ Werner Herzog.

There is a fascination about crime, which is understandable, but hardly anyone talks about the families of victims of violent crime and the devastation that is beyond the victim alone. ~ Werner Herzog.

May I propose a Herzog dictum? those who read own the world, and those who watch television lose it. ~ Werner Herzog.

Wise Werner Herzog Quotes

Technology has a great advantage in that we are capable of creating dinosaurs and show them on the screen even though they are extinct 65 million years. All of a sudden, we have a fantastic tool that is as good as dreams are. ~ Werner Herzog.

There are specific times where film noir is a natural concomitant of the mood. When there’s insecurity, collapse of financial systems – that’s where film noir always hits fertile ground. ~ Werner Herzog.


I have nothing against 3D films but I do not need to see them. ~ Werner Herzog.

I think there should be holy war against yoga classes. ~ Werner Herzog.

We have to articulate ourselves. Otherwise we would be cows in the field. ~ Werner Herzog.

Film is not analysis, it is the agitation of mind; cinema comes from the country fair and the circus, not from art and academicism. ~ Werner Herzog.

People think we had a love-hate relationship. Well, I did not love him, nor did I hate him. We had mutual respect for each other, even as we both planned each other’s murder. ~ Werner Herzog.

The collapse of the stellar universe will occur – like creation – in grandiose splendor. ~ Werner Herzog.

I have a great map of the Tibesti Mountains in the southern Sahara or Northern Chad. It’s a dream of mine to go there, but it’s such a volatile area, you have to be prudent. ~ Werner Herzog.


The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot. ~ Werner Herzog.

Perseverance has kept me going over the years. Things rarely happen overnight. Filmmakers should be prepared for many years of hard work. The sheer toil can be healthy and exhilarating. ~ Werner Herzog.

I am not an artist and never have been. Rather I am like a craftsman and feel very close to the medieval artisans who produced their work anonymously and who, along with their apprentices, had a true feeling for the physical materials they were working with. ~ Werner Herzog.

I despise formal restaurants. I find all of that formality to be very base and vile. I would much rather eat potato chips on the sidewalk. ~ Werner Herzog.

I think psychology and self-reflection is one of the major catastrophes of the twentieth century. ~ Werner Herzog.

I would travel down to Hell and wrestle a film away from the devil if it was necessary. ~ Werner Herzog.

We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution. ~ Werner Herzog.

I discover no kinship, no understanding, no mercy. I see only the overwhelming indifference of nature. ~ Werner Herzog.


If I had to climb into hell and wrestle the devil himself for one of my films, I would do it. ~ Werner Herzog.

Look into the eyes of a chicken and you will see real stupidity. It is a kind of bottomless stupidity, a fiendish stupidity. They are the most horrifying, cannibalistic and nightmarish creatures in the world. ~ Werner Herzog.

The punishment itself is something I respectfully disagree with, but for thousands and thousands of years it was practiced everywhere. ~ Werner Herzog.

So these were the 95 top Werner Herzog quotes and sayings.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Jon Ossoff quotes and NLE Choppa quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar