Grizzly Man is a 2005 American documentary film by German director Werner Herzog and featuring a musical score from Richard Thompson. It chronicles the life and death of bear enthusiast, wildlife activist, and aspiring documentarian Timothy Treadwell.For Grizzly Man, Herzog used sequences extracted from more than 85 hours of video footage shot by Treadwell during the last five years of his life, and conducted interviews with Treadwell's family and friends, as well as bear and nature experts. Herzog also narrates, and offers his own interpretations of the events. In his narration, he depicts Treadwell as a disturbed man who may have had a death wish toward the end of his life, but also refuses to condemn him for this.
Tropes associated with Grizzly Man:
All Animals Are Dogs: A fox is shown to allow Treadwell to feed and pet it. The bears, naturally, avert this. And for all his enthusiasm, Treadwell appears to be aware of that.
Better as Friends: Timothy and Jewel remained close even after they broke up. There was apparently no bitterness or tension over the break-up because Jewel said that she missed both Timothy and Amie.
Broken Pedestal: Before the movie and his death, Timothy Treadwell was well-liked and respected amongst many animal-rights groups and people. He was always seen as being a very likeable and nice guy. The documentary shows what he was really like.... and it's not nice.
Cloud Cuckoo Lander: "I can feel the poop! It's warm! It just came from her butt! This was just inside of her. My girl! I'm touching it! It's her poop! It's Wendy's poop!...Everything about them is perfect!"
Cluster F-Bomb: Recording at the end of one summer, Tim is attempting to sum up his experiences of the past few months, but abruptly breaks into a profane rant about poachers, tourists, the government and the wildlife services. It goes on for several minutes, almost none of which Herzog cuts out.
Foreshadowing: Early in the documentary, Treadwell is shown explaining that the most dangerous bear would be an older male who desperately needed food. Near the end, Herzog shows footage of what could have been the bear that killed him, and it was an older male that appeared to be desperately searching for food.
Friend to All Living Things: Treadwell could apparently play with bear cubs... while their mother was watching. Then the bears got hungry...
Heroic Sacrifice: The coroner who examined the remains of Tim and Amie posits that Tim tried to distract the bear so that Amie could escape. If this was the case then he was tragically unsuccessful.
Hypocrite: Tim routinely insulted tourists, which he considered akin to poachers... despite the fact he came into contact with the bears for the first time as a tourist himself. He also considered that the park rangers' plane that flew over the area twice a month was harassing the bears.
It's All About Me: Don't appear on camera, I'm supposed to be alone here! It's Tim Treadwell, the kind warrior! I'm the only one here! I'm the only one protecting these bears!
Also, despite the fact that he had his girlfriend with him, he never mentioned her in his journal entries and she only appeared three times on-camera, once while crossing a river from afar.
Jerkass: Tim, who created a fake backstory as an orphan, a horrible hypocrite, paranoid extremist who ends up killing himself and his girlfriend. Most interviewees share this opinion along with thinking of him as an Idiot Hero, and the pilot who was at the scene comes right out and calls him "Retarded".
Just One Little Mistake: Tim and Amie were supposed to leave earlier that year... but some incident with an "obese stewardess" at the airport somehow convinced them it was a better idea to return to the Grizzly Maze for some weeks more. It wasn't.
To elaborate, when they returned, the bears Tim had associated with left the area, and different, more aggressive bears moved in, and worse still, there was a food shortage in the Grizzly Maze that year. In the last footage of Tim, there's a bear trying to fish a piece of dead salmon out of the river, which Tim said made him uncomfortable.
Lemony Narrator: Werner Herzog, who alternates between praising Timothy for his ability to capture such beautiful footage, and mourning what he perceived as Timothy's poor judgement.
Meet Cute: Treadwell's ex-girlfriend, Jewel Palovak, told Herzog that they met when they both got in trouble at work on the same day, him for doing a Silly Walk in front of customers and her for accidentally starting a small fire. Their relationship didn't become romantic until sometime later, but the incident made them fast friends on the spot.
Mountain Man: Timothy saw himself as such despite having no training whatsoever.
Nature Is Not Nice: Herzog appears to be of this opinion, though he doesn't condemn Treadwell for thinking otherwise. The fact that he survived amongst wild bears for thirteen years suggests Treadwell may have had a point... although his not living to see a fourteenth rather undermines it.
Never Found the Body: Harshly averted. Treadwell's severed head, spine, and arm were found, with the watch still ticking on it, along with a ribcage that may have been Amie's. And then, once the authorities killed the bear that ate him, they found the rest of him (and Amie) inside it. Have fun sleeping.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The bear that killed Tim was killed, along with a second bear that attacked the ranger party that was trying to recover his body. The interviewed experts also point out that rather than "protecting" the bears and foxes as Tim claimed, his continuous presence there just made the animals less inclined to avoid humans, and so more likely to be killed by poachers, or attack campers for their food.
In the park's 85 year, history, there were no incidents of poaching, or even any evidence to suggest it. Just one year after his death, three bears were poached in the park (admittedly, they were in a different part of the park, but it's not impossible they were the same bears). Similarly, his and Amie's deaths were the only fatal bears attacks in the park's history.
Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Treadwell strongly believed this about grizzlies, but he turned out be only half-right: eating whatever living creatures it can catch and kill —including people— is instinctual behavior for a grizzly and not "evil" as we know it, but the fact that they can and will eat people is perfectly understood by the overwhelming majority.
Nothing Is Scarier: Herzog is filmed listening to the audio recording of Treadwell's death. There's no music for this scene, and the audio of the tape cannot be heard, but Herzog turns visibly pale while listening to it, and when he removes the headphones, his hands are trembling, and he simply says: "You must never listen to this tape... If you don't destroy it, it will just be an Elephant in the Room for the rest of your life."
According to those who have heard it, the most disturbing part isn't the attack at all, it's hearing Amie scream as she is left alone in the woods as Tim is dragged off to be eaten, she stands there and screams, and it's made even worse as the bear then comes back...
Herzog did say that if we were to hear it, we'd hear — aside from the dying screams — Treadwell telling his girlfriend to run and save herself, and said girlfriend apparently trying to defend herself with a frying pan.
He also made several claims that he was a wanted man and that the park ranger helicopters that flew overhead periodically were meant for him. As is, the rangers didn't know he was out there at first and when they found out, they weren't exactly on a manhunt (although they were concerned about his safety and wanted to convince him to go home).
Retirony: The couple was scheduled to depart the morning after their attack, and Amie was supposed to get a new job and possibly leave the whole living among grizzlies thing the next week.
There is also a short clip from The Late Show where David Letterman interviewed him and jokingly asked if Tim would eventually get eaten by a bear. (This clip is only in the theatrical version as copyright issues caused it to be replaced with another interview segment for the video and television versions.)
Tim in the very first clip goes onto a monologue about how dangerous bears are, but that he won't be killed by them, then goes onto LIST SEVERAL WAYS THEY COULD. It doesn't help that he says this after the monologue to Amie...
Unrequited Love Lasts Forever: Kathleen, a close friend of Tim, repeatedly says she loves Tim, and even Herzog points it out when he adds "She says she was just a close friend" doubtfully after she mentions she has his ashes.