He was born around 1480 at Berlichingen in Württemberg to a noble family and earned his reputation by fighting in a number of wars over an impressive 47 year career. At the age of 24 he lost his right hand to cannonfire and wore a metal prosthetic for the rest of his life, which became his calling card, "Götz of the Iron Hand".
He is perhaps best remembered for the vulgar expression "Er kann mich im Arsche lecken!" (literally "He can lick my arse!", which would inspire the phrase "Kiss my ass!"). Götz's name is now used as a euphemism for the expression.
While some Berserk fans believe that he was the inspiration for the protagonist — who has the similar-sounding name of Guts, and is a mercenary who also has a mechanical hand — author Kentaro Miura claims that he never knew about Götz von Berlinchingen when he started work on his long-running manga, opting to pick the name "Guts" because it sounded like a German name.
Media about Götz von Berlichingen:
- Götz von Berlichingen, a 1773 stage drama by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. "Er kann mich im Arsche lecken!" was actually attributed to him by this very play.
- Götz von Berlichingen, a 1883 Overture for orchestra by French composer Paul Dukas.
- Goetz von Berlichingen of the Iron Hand, 1925 German silent film. Portrayed by Eugen Klöpfer.
- Goetz von Berlichingen, 1955 Austrian film. Portrayed by Ewald Balser.
- Goetz von Berlichingen of the Iron Hand, 1979 West German-Yugoslav film. Portrayed by Raimund Harmstorf.
- Götz von Berlichingen, 2014 German TV film. Portrayed by Henning Baum.