63 user 57 critic

Black Orpheus (1959)

Orfeu Negro (original title)
A retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, set during the time of the Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro.


Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Orpheus (1950)
Fantasy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A poet in love with Death follows his unhappy wife into the underworld.

Director: Jean Cocteau
Stars: Jean Marais, François Périer, María Casares
Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A beautiful young woman takes her father's place as the prisoner of a mysterious beast, who wishes to marry her.

Directors: Jean Cocteau, René Clément
Stars: Jean Marais, Josette Day, Mila Parély
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension - both with the natives and also within their own group - as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Deborah Kerr, David Farrar, Flora Robson
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

In the Paris of the late 19th century, Louise, wife of a general, sells the earrings her husband gave her as a wedding gift: she needs money to cover her debts. The general secretly buys ... See full summary »

Director: Max Ophüls
Stars: Charles Boyer, Danielle Darrieux, Vittorio De Sica
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A simple yet devout Christian makes a vow to Saint Barbara after she saves his donkey, but everyone he meets seems determined to misunderstand his intentions. Will he be able to keep his promise in the end?

Director: Anselmo Duarte
Stars: Leonardo Villar, Glória Menezes, Dionísio Azevedo
Pickpocket (1959)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Michel is released from jail after serving a sentence for thievery. His mother dies and he resorts to pickpocketing as a means of survival.

Director: Robert Bresson
Stars: Martin LaSalle, Marika Green, Jean Pélégri
Gate of Hell (1953)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A samurai pursues a married lady-in-waiting.

Director: Teinosuke Kinugasa
Stars: Machiko Kyô, Kazuo Hasegawa, Isao Yamagata
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A seriously ill schoolteacher becomes dependent on a "miracle" drug that begins to affect his sanity.

Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: James Mason, Barbara Rush, Walter Matthau
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A young priest taking over the parish at Ambricourt tries to fulfill his duties even as he fights a mysterious stomach ailment.

Director: Robert Bresson
Stars: Claude Laydu, Nicole Ladmiral, Jean Riveyre
Mon Oncle (1958)
Certificate: Passed Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Monsieur Hulot visits the technology-driven world of his sister, brother-in-law, and nephew, but he can't quite fit into the surroundings.

Director: Jacques Tati
Stars: Jacques Tati, Jean-Pierre Zola, Adrienne Servantie
Pandora's Box (1929)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The rise and inevitable fall of an amoral but naive young woman whose insouciant eroticism inspires lust and violence in those around her.

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Stars: Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Francis Lederer
L'Atalante (1934)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Newly married couple Juliette and a ship captain Jean struggle through marriage as they travel on the L'atalante along with the captain's first mate Le père Jules and a cabin boy.

Director: Jean Vigo
Stars: Dita Parlo, Jean Dasté, Michel Simon


Credited cast:
Marcel Camus ...
Fausto Guerzoni ...
Léa Garcia ...
Ademar Da Silva ...
Alexandro Constantino ...
Waldemar De Souza ...
Jorge Dos Santos ...
Aurino Cassiano ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Maria Alice
Ana Amélia
Elizeth Cardoso
Arlete Costa


In the heady atmosphere of Rio's carnival, two people meet and fall in love. Eurydice, a country girl, has run away from home to avoid a man who arrived at her her looking for her. She is convinced that he was going to kill her. She arrives in Rio to stay with her cousin Serafina. Orfeo works as a tram conductor and is engaged to Mira - as far as Mira is concerned anyways. As Eurydice and Orpheus get to know one another they fall deeply in love. Mira is mad with jealousy and when Eurydice disappears, Orfeo sets out to find her. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The film that introduced Bossa Nova to the world...


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |


Release Date:

21 December 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Black Orpheus  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Ademar Da Silva, the actor who played Death, was a triple jumper who won two Olympic gold medals, in 1952 and 1956. See more »


[first lines]
Benedito: [to Serafina] Serafina, look how beautiful!
See more »


Featured in The 79th Annual Academy Awards (2007) See more »


Traditional folklore, played over opening titles
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

One of the classics of world cinema
24 January 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Do they clean the streets in Rio De Janeiro? Well, of course they do. When this carnival is over.

And if you watch this movie you will see that they do it very near the end of the last reel, as in the morning when the truck comes round spraying water, just one of a thousand little details that director Marcel Camus got right, and one of the most insignificant. But it is from a multiplicity of detail that an edifice of cinematic genius is constructed.

The true brilliance of Black Orpheus lies in the people who live on the side of the cliffs overlooking the harbor at Rio. It is their energy that prevails. Then there is the color, the costumes, the pounding rhythms, the spectacular vitality of life that is depicted as a carnival of dance and song in which we are driven along as on a wave. And yet there is the constant reality of death. And it strikes in way we cannot comprehend, fatalistically, and we are helpless to do anything about it. And then Orpheus sings, a new Orpheus perhaps, and the sun rises again, and a little girl in white, looking like Eurydice in miniature, begins to dance as the little boy Orpheus plays his guitar, telling us that time has come round again.

Well, that's the plot as adapted by screen writer Jacques Voit from the play by Vinicius d Moraes as divined from the Greek mythology. Supporting this arresting conception is the music by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luis Bonfa. I recall the former as the composer of bossanova who gave us "The Girl from Ipanema" and made the samba international. Starring in the title role as the streetcar conductor who is loved by all is Beno Melo, who might be seen as the natural man and native of paradise. The very pretty Marpessa Dawn plays Eurydice, an innocent from the country who falls in love with Orpheus and his song. Lourdes de Oliveira plays his intended, Mira who is hot blooded, vital and beautifully ordinary. But the actress I recall most vividly from the time I first saw this in the sixties was Léa Garcia who played Serafina. Her exuberance and comedic flair struck me as something completely different from anybody I had ever seen before. And then there are the boys who follow Orpheus around and emulate his every move. With their torn shirts and unflagging optimism, they represent the new day that will dawn.

If you haven't seen this classic of world cinema, you are in for a singular experience. There is nothing else like it that I know of. And it is as fresh today as when it was made almost half a century ago.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)

57 of 59 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Marpessa Dawn MaryCherry
Film Originally in Color?? yb2517
I don't get it redcrow84
This is the most beautiful movie I've ever seen!!! QandU
where are they now? babyphat200711
what male singer was the actual singing voice for breno mello? bimbim14
Discuss Black Orpheus (1959) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: