Steph, a commodities broker living in Paris, wants a divorce from his wife Patricia to marry another woman: Charlotte. However, Patricia has been living among the Venezuelan Amazonas Indians for the past 13 years, so Steph travels to the Indian village to meet her and ask her to sign the divorce papers.
Bill Markham is an engineer who has moved to Brazil with his family to complete the construction of a large hydro-electric dam. The construction requires large areas of forest to be cleared, even more to be flooded. Its completion will bring more people to the areas who will clear the jungle for agriculture and living space.
The film is set in the 1750s and involves Spanish Jesuit priest Father Gabriel (Jeremy Irons) who enters the South American jungle to build a mission station and convert a Guaraní community to Christianity. The Guaraní community above the perilous Iguazu Falls has tied a priest to a cross and sent him over the falls to his death. Father Gabriel travels to the falls, climbs to the top, and plays his oboe. The Guaraní warriors, captivated by the music, allow him to live.
Benjamin, age 9, has lost his mother. He wants to find her father, a gold prospector in Brazil. The only people likely to accompany it are his two grandmothers, Anne and Susan, opposite in everything and hating, as fair. An epic journey in perspective, they are not ready to forget ...
A young man named Abel (Anthony Perkins) narrowly escapes Caracas, Venezuela after it is overtaken by rebels. He decides to seek revenge, as his father, the former Minister of War, was killed. After getting supplies, he takes a canoe to the far shore, where he is nearly killed by a leopard, but is saved by the native, Indian-like people.
Father Mahoney (Peter Horton) is a missionary priest in the Amazon. He falls in love with a beautiful and mysterious Indian woman (Divana Brandão) and together they have a son. Mahoney is killed by an anaconda, leaving the Indian woman to raise their child alone. The mother herself is killed by a band of hunters led by Orlando Santos (Cástulo Guerra), and the child, now aged six, is left to fend for himself in the jungle. He lives an idyllic existence, swimming with the river dolphins.
Mexican filmmaker Sebastián (Gael García Bernal) and his executive producer Costa (Luis Tosar) arrive in Cochabamba, Bolivia, accompanied by a cast and crew, prepared to create a film depicting Columbus's first voyage to the New World, the imposition of Columbus’ will upon the natives, and the subsequent indigenous rebellion. Cognizant of his limited budget, producer Costa elects to film in Bolivia, the poorest country in South America. There, impoverished locals are thrilled to earn just two dollars a day as extras in the film, and willingly engage in physical labor for set preparation. Costa saves many thousands of dollars by having underpaid extras perform tasks meant to be completed by experienced engineers.
Brian Sweeney "Fitzcarraldo" Fitzgerald (Klaus Kinski) is an Irishman living in Iquitos, a small city east of the Andes in the Amazon Basin in Peru in the early part of the 20th century, when the city grew exponentially during the rubber boom. He has an indomitable spirit, but is little more than a dreamer with one major failure already behind him – the bankrupted and incomplete Trans-Andean railways. A lover of opera and a great fan of the internationally known Italian tenor Enrico Caruso, he dreams of building an opera house in Iquitos. Numerous Europeans and North African Sephardic Jewish immigrants have settled in the city at this time, bringing their cultures with them. The opera house will require considerable amounts of money, which the booming rubber industry in Peru should yield in profits. The areas in the Amazon Basin known to contain rubber trees have been parceled up by the Peruvian government and are leased to private companies for exploitation.
L'histoire est celle d'un groupe de quatre hommes et une femme qui s'attaquent au produit d'une mine d'or en Guyane. Leur but : s'emparer de près de 600 kilos d'or pur en lingots. Après le vol, la fuite en hélicoptère pour rejoindre le Brésil est interrompue et l'hélicoptère doit se poser dans la jungle. L'important trésor dérobé et surtout le poids qu'il pèse deviennent un fardeau à transporter dans ce milieu hostile...
In this fast-paced French comedy, a gambler, anxious to escape the thugs who pursue him after her reneged on a bet, mistakenly agrees to enter the safety of the Amazon jungle with an ethnologist's son to search for the missing soul of an ailing Indian. Perrin's ordeal begins in an elevator where he encounters Campana, the French scientist who was raised in the distant jungle, and his companion Wanu, an Amazon shaman who has left his remote home to help Campana campaign on the rain forest's behalf. When Wanu, wearing little more than feathers, skins and a plate in his lip, suddenly tweak's the nose of Perrin and proclaims him the "chosen one", Perrin is naturally surprised. He is more surprised when Wanu shows up in his lavish apartment that night, drugs him and covers him with ritual markings thereby creating a magical link between them. The next day Wanu suffers a heart attack that he interprets as the theft of his soul. He beckons Perrin beside him and insists that he go to the jungle and find his soul, which has taken the form of a jaguar. Unfortunately for Perrin, the dense jungle proves to be far more dangerous than any gambler's henchmen and comical chaos ensues as he struggles to survive.
In 1594 Brazil rival French and Portuguese settlers are utilizing the indigenous people as allies in their struggle to establish control. The Tupinambás, who live in the Guanabara Bay area, are allied with the French, while the Tupiniquins are allied with the Portuguese.