GDR/USSR, 1971, 136 min, color
In German; English subtitles
Assistant Director
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Score)
Production Company


As a painter in the court of King Carlos IV of Spain, Goya (played by the great Lithuanian actor Donatas Banionis) has attained wealth and reputation. He believes in king and church, but he is also a Spaniard who dearly loves his people – a contradiction that presents a deep dilemma.


Based on Lion Feuchtwanger’s novel, Goya is one of only ten East German films originally shot in 70mm. This release is the director’s cut and shows the influence of great filmmakers from Buñuel and Saura to Eisenstein, as well as Wolf's influence on others, such as Carlos Saura.


2020 Konrad Wolf in the Age of Extremes retrospective, Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna, Italy
2012 Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York
1977, '92, '09, '12  Berlin International Film Festival
2007 70mm Film Festival Oslo, Norway
1971 Golden Prize Nominee, Moscow International Film Festival
1971 Special Jury Prize, Moscow International Film Festival
1971 Art Prize of the GDR (Donatas Banionis, Fred Düren, Rolf Hoppe)
1971 National Prize, Class 1 (Werner Bergmann, Konstantin Ryshow, Wladimir Sinilo, Angel Wagenstein, Konrad Wolf)

Press comments

“Unjustly overlooked today, director Konrad Wolf was a major figure of post-War East German cinema, and this provocative, brilliantly stylized bio-pic of the controversial Spanish painter is arguably his masterpiece. An epic coproduction of DEFA—the state-run, East German film studio—and the USSR’s famed Lenfilm studio, Wolf’s film (adapted from the historical novel by Lion Feuchtwanger) traces Goya’s evolution from bon vivant court painter for King Carl IV to an enlightened free-thinker whose socially and politically pointed work (including his satirical Caprichos etchings) earns the ire of the Inquisition. The great Lithuanian film star Donastas Banionis (Solaris) gives a towering performance as Goya, surrounded by meticulous period and artistic recreations (Goya’s paintings were reproduced for the film by actual master artists). The result is an altogether remarkable, fiercely anti-authoritarian film somehow made under the watchful eyes of not one but two Communist regimes!” —Film Society Lincoln Center, 2013


Goya is shot in eye-busting color on 70mm film, with over 3000 costumes and locations in four different countries. Goya’s artwork was carefully reproduced by master artists, and an actual antique press was found to recreate the production of his Caprichos, right down to the recreation of the copper etching plates and hand-made paper. […] The film is powerful and grand, and does a good job of portraying the turbulent times in which Goya lived. Its attention to detail is remarkable, with an accuracy that Hollywood seldom attempts.” —eastgermancinema.com


“The film hits all the standard points of its genre.” — Guy Crucianelli, PopMatters


“Images of lasting expression!”
—Program, 70mm Film Festival Oslo, 2007


“A world masterpiece of film.”
— Barrett Watten, Wayne State University


“One of DEFA's most spectacular and colorful productions, Goya is an epic bio-pic of reason and madness in the age of absolution and revolution.”
— Larson Powell, Film Historian, University of Missouri-Kansas City


“What we, Konrad Wolf and I, envisioned was a film about the conflict of artists and those in power, about freedom of expression vs. the Inquisition. […] We decided to make the film because Goya was both complex and a person who sought freedom but who also hoped to achieve more artistically by getting close to people in power. Yet the closer he came to them the more he saw how different from them he was intellectually. He saw the corruption of power and the insanity of the church. We were critiquing both the Catholic Church in Goya’s time and the [current] bureaucracy. By showing the decay of the Spanish Monarchy, we were also criticizing the corrupt functionaries in charge of the GDR and the Socialist Bloc. By that time, they had already abandoned the true values of socialism: individual freedom, justice, equality, brotherhood, but especially freedom.” —Angel Wagenstein, Angel Wagenstein on Goya (USA/Bulgaria, 2007, dir. Mariana Ivanova)


Buy the DVDStream
DVD Bonus Features:
  • New digitally restored version
  • Turn Subtitles On/Off
  • Interview with Angel Wagenstein and Tatjana Lolowa, dir. Mariana Ivanova
  • Biographies & Filmographies

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