Black Orpheus (1959)
"Orfeu Negro" (original title)

PG  |   |  Drama, Music, Romance  |  21 December 1959 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 6,797 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 63 user | 54 critic | 8 from

A retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, set during the time of the Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro.


0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 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  

Orphee is a poet who becomes obsessed with Death (the Princess). They fall in love. Orphee's wife, Eurydice, is killed by the Princess' henchmen and Orphee goes after her into the ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Cocteau
Stars: Jean Marais, François Périer, María Casares
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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Japanese occupation of China breeds an ill wind which stirs the wrath of China's greatest kung fu killers.

Director: See-Yuen Ng
Stars: Sing Chen, Yasuaki Kurata, Irene Ryder
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

When a friend is murdered by the Facists, a melancholy farmer takes up residence in a Roman brothel as he and an anarchist prostitute plot to assassinate Mussolini.

Director: Lina Wertmüller
Stars: Giancarlo Giannini, Mariangela Melato, Eros Pagni
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
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 7.2/10 X  

Five centuries ago a mural was created in a country church in the north of England and then hidden under layers of white paint. Looking at it again will be a distraction, the Rev. Mr. Keach... See full summary »

Director: Pat O'Connor
Stars: Colin Firth, Kenneth Branagh, John Atkinsons
Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An apprentice train dispatcher at a village station seeks his first sexual encounter and becomes despondent when he is unable to perform.

Director: Jirí Menzel
Stars: Václav Neckár, Josef Somr, Vlastimil Brodský
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Period piece about a Brazil that is no more. This movie is the sequel to "God and the Devil in the Land of the Sun" (Deus e o diabo na terra do sol), and takes place 29 years after Antonio ... See full summary »

Director: Glauber Rocha
Stars: Maurício do Valle, Odete Lara, Othon Bastos
Pickpocket (1959)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 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
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Director: Gilles Grangier
Stars: Jean Gabin, Danielle Darrieux, Nadja Tiller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

A violent nightclub owner wants his partner disposed, in order to have complete control of the club. Willing to fight for power, the two engage in a series of action packed arguments.

Director: Wisan Suntisucha
Stars: Darm Daskorn, Chaiyan Sorakrai, Hung Yi Liu


Credited cast:
Marcel Camus ...
Fausto Guerzoni ...
Lourdes de Oliveira ...
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...


Drama | Music | Romance


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?


Although this won the Palme d'Or at Cannes and the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, ironically it is not terribly well regarded in its native Brazil where some object to the depiction of their country as being a non-stop party. See more »


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


Featured in À la recherche d'Orfeu Negro (2005) See more »


A Felicidate
Written by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes
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!)

56 of 58 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: