IMDb > The Boys from Brazil (1978)
The Boys from Brazil
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The Boys from Brazil (1978) More at IMDbPro »

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The Boys from Brazil -- A determined jewish professor stalks an ingenious nazi doctor who genetic experiements performed during world war II may spell terror for modern-Day society.


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Up 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Ira Levin (novel)
Heywood Gould (screenplay)
View company contact information for The Boys from Brazil on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
12 October 1978 (Netherlands) See more »
If they survive...will we?
A Nazi hunter in Paraguay discovers a sinister and bizarre plot to rekindle the Third Reich. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 1 win & 7 nominations See more »
(42 articles)
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User Reviews:
An Occult, Bronze-Age Comic Book of a Movie See more (114 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Gregory Peck ... Dr. Josef Mengele

Laurence Olivier ... Ezra Lieberman

James Mason ... Eduard Seibert

Lilli Palmer ... Esther Lieberman

Uta Hagen ... Frieda Maloney

Steve Guttenberg ... Barry Kohler (as Steven Guttenberg)

Denholm Elliott ... Sidney Beynon

Rosemary Harris ... Mrs. Doring

John Dehner ... Henry Wheelock

John Rubinstein ... David Bennett

Anne Meara ... Mrs. Curry
Jeremy Black ... Jack Curry / Simon Harrington / Erich Doring / Bobby Wheelock

Bruno Ganz ... Professor Bruckner

Walter Gotell ... Mundt
David Hurst ... Strasser

Wolfgang Preiss ... Lofquist

Michael Gough ... Mr. Harrington

Joachim Hansen ... Fassler

Sky du Mont ... Hessen (as Guy Dumont)
Carl Duering ... Trausteiner
Linda Hayden ... Nancy

Richard Marner ... Doring
Georg Marischka ... Gunther
Günter Meisner ... Farnbach

Prunella Scales ... Mrs. Harrington
Raul Faustino Saldanha ... Ismael
Jürgen Andersen ... Kleist (as Jurgen Anderson)
Mervyn Nelson ... Stroop
David Brandon ... Schmidt
Monica Gearson ... Gertrud
Wolf Kahler ... Schwimmer
Gerti Gordon ... Berthe
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Joseph Oliveira ... German Newspaper Boy (uncredited)

Directed by
Franklin J. Schaffner 
Writing credits
Ira Levin (novel)

Heywood Gould (screenplay)

Produced by
Robert Fryer .... executive producer
Stanley O'Toole .... producer
Martin Richards .... producer
Original Music by
Jerry Goldsmith 
Cinematography by
Henri Decaë (director of photography) (as Henri Decae)
Film Editing by
Robert Swink  (as Robert E. Swink)
Casting by
Alixe Gordin 
Production Design by
Gil Parrondo 
Art Direction by
Peter Lamont 
Set Decoration by
Vernon Dixon 
Costume Design by
Anthony Mendleson 
Makeup Department
Ronnie Cogan .... hair stylist
Patrick Grant .... hair stylist
Bill Lodge .... makeup artist
Christopher Tucker .... makeup artist
Production Management
Ron Carr .... production supervisor
Dieter Meyer .... production manager: Austria
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Terence Churcher .... second assistant director (as Terry Churcher)
Paul Esposito .... assistant director: USA
Mike Jordan .... assistant director: USA
José López Rodero .... first assistant director (as Jose Lopez Rodero)
João Severino .... assistant director: Portugal
Marijan David Vajda .... second assistant director: Austria (as Marijan Vajda)
Art Department
Stephen Hendrickson .... art director: USA (as Steve Hendrickson)
Michael Murchan .... construction manager
Thomas Ricabona .... assistant art director: Austria
Dave Everall .... rigger (uncredited)
Richard Mccarthy .... plasterer (uncredited)
Sound Department
Derek Ball .... sound recordist
Bill Barringer .... sound assistant
Don J. Bassman .... supervising sound mixer (as Don Bassman)
William Hartman .... sound editor
Godfrey Marks .... dialogue editor
Ken Nightingall .... boom operator
Richard Overton .... sound re-recording mixer
Edward Rossi .... sound editor
Richard Sperber .... sound editor
Richard Weaver .... sound re-recording mixer
Special Effects by
Roy Whybrow .... special effects
Del Baker .... stunts
Dinny Powell .... stunts
Eddie Powell .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
Bert Cann .... still photographer
Jack Coggins .... gaffer
Colin Davidson .... assistant camera
James Devis .... camera operator (as Jimmy Devis)
Michael Ginsburg .... still photographer: USA
Ted H. Hauser .... assistant camera: USA (as Theodore Hauser)
Dewi Humphries .... assistant camera
Ed Irvins .... assistant camera: USA
Bob Puglisi .... camera operator: USA
Casting Department
Renate Arbes .... casting: Vienna
Maude Spector .... casting: London
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Rebecca Breed .... wardrobe mistress
Richard Pointing .... wardrobe master
Editorial Department
Jenny Schaffner .... apprentice editor
Dennis Wooley .... assistant editor
Music Department
Leonard A. Engel .... music editor (as Len Engel)
Arthur Morton .... orchestrator
Transportation Department
Gerhard Rupp .... transportation manager (uncredited)
Other crew
Arie Bohrer .... location manager: Austria
Derek Bromhall .... technical advisor (as Dr. Derek Bromhall)
Pamela Carlton .... continuity
Tony Cerbone .... location manager: USA
Hunt Downs .... publicist
Ann Ford .... assistant to producer
Lew Grade .... presenter (as Sir Lew Grade)
Peter Lancaster .... production accountant
Marcella Markham .... accent coach
Frederick Muller .... location manager: Portugal (as Frederico Muller)
Francis Nugent .... production assistant: USA
Tish Oulman .... production assistant: Portugal
Cecilia Peck .... publicity assistant
Fernando Pessa .... location liaison: Portugal
Fernando Pessa .... public relations: Portugal
Simone Pessa .... location liaison: Portugal
Simone Pessa .... public relations: Portugal
David Quintans .... production assistant: Portugal
Mary Richards .... assistant to producer
John Sargent .... production accountant
Ilse Schwarzwald .... production secretary: Austria
Jean Walter .... production secretary
Scott Wodehouse .... location manager
Crew verified as complete

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Boys from the Brussel" - Philippines (English title)
See more »
125 min | West Germany:100 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:18 (original rating) | Argentina:13 (re-rating) | Australia:M | Brazil:14 | Canada:PA (Manitoba) | Canada:R (Nova Scotia) (original rating) | Canada:R (Ontario) | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | Canada:14 (Nova Scotia) (re-rating) (2002) | Finland:K-16 (1988) | Finland:K-18 (1979) | France:-16 | Iceland:16 | Netherlands:16 | Norway:18 | Peru:14 | South Korea:15 (DVD rating) | Spain:18 | Sweden:15 | UK:X (original rating) | UK:18 (video rating) (1986) (2000) | USA:R | West Germany:16
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Laurence Olivier patterned his performance on Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal.See more »
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): When David Bennett shows Lieberman the photographs of three Nazi agents, he mistakenly identifies Schwimmer as Kleist and Kleist as Schwimmer.See more »
Dr. Josef Mengele:Are you, my SD Chief of Security, telling me that a project twenty years and millions of dollars in the making will be dropped because of this insignificant impotent old Jew?See more »
The Blue DanubeSee more »


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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful.
An Occult, Bronze-Age Comic Book of a Movie, 21 July 2010
Author: jzappa from Cincinnati, OH, United States

Oddly what stood out to me the most watching The Boys From Brazil, an extremely well cast thriller, was its tiring overload of mostly unnecessary orchestral score. And don't get me wrong; I wish Jerry Goldsmith were still alive composing scores like those for Alien, L.A. Confidential and Seconds. I think it's Franklin J. Schaffner, the director, who should've known where the absence of music increases the drama, instead of always going for the more-is-more approach. But it's a small (though indignant and annoyed) gripe, having little to do with the movie's substance. Let's talk about that then: What makes The Boys From Brazil scream implausibility is the same feature that makes it so engaging, and that is how it isn't a war thriller, a spy thriller or a political thriller, or any certain kind of thriller, instead taking a slice from each kind of thriller. It's about a war, but it takes place over thirty years after that war. Its characters engage in conspiracies and espionage, but none are actual government spies. It is also technically a sci-fi film. The thing is, explaining how would diffuse the freshness of the plot's surprises, but the point is it's a narrative that, whatever else you can say about it, is not the least bit boring.

Indeed the plot brushes comic book superhero proportions, but the diabolical master plan conceived by Gregory Peck's grimacing, straight-backed Nazi death camp doctor Mengele is a refreshment of that sort: In stories of bombastic color and adventure, especially those of godlike stock characters and dictatorial genius antagonists, there are often caveats that make them silly or forgettable rather than engrossing in their suspension of disbelief. Take the Superman saga's evil mastermind, for instance. Lex Luthor plans to make a fortune in real estate by cheaply buying large amounts of desert land and then diverting one of two nuclear rockets from a missile testing site to California's tectonic boundary, causing earthquake and radioactivity to wipe out most of California and leave Luthor's desert as the new West Coast. Yeah, I'm sure everyone's gonna clamor to be neighbors with the radioactive site of a 500-megaton nuclear strike and the biggest earthquake disaster in world history. I feel as though Luthor is part of a long assembly line of completely moronic, half-baked supervillains that are only brilliant masterminds because we're told they are. Dr. Josef Mengele is the supervillain I've always wanted to see our favorite caped crusaders fight.

Alas, the movie doesn't go that far out, but it does one better. On Mengele's trail is an old Nazi Hunter played by Laurence Olivier as a man who's almost all wit and seemingly no muscle. The way he walks, squints, appears, I feel like buying him a cane. This is good; it builds tension. He keeps getting pesky calls from well-intentioned young Steve Guttenberg claiming a secret sect of Third Reich war criminals are holding clandestine meetings in Paraguay. Olivier is doubtful, but Guttenberg is dispatched and Olivier traces the White Supremacists through Europe and North America, finding a thread of fishy deaths of several public officials. He interviews their widows, and is stricken by an extraordinary similarity in their adopted, black-haired, blue-eyed sons. I'll stop there.

The situations led to and the performances of Peck, Olivier, Uta Hagen as one of the widowed mothers and Mason as Peck's coldly sensible right hand are intriguing, because they are not what one would expect from a big-budget, star-studded sci-fi thriller by the director Papillon and Planet of the Apes. A shocking, strange climax is reached in a farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania. There is the jingoistic and repetitive bearing and social graces of the mad Dr. Mengele character. And there is the grave, chilling moral question of what to do with the "boys from Brazil." I've stumbled upon some information on the real Josef Mengele, of whom I wasn't aware before. To read of his concentration camp exploits is to confront some of the very most excruciating and hair-raising images the Holocaust produced. There are two things that can be done with that material, and The Boys From Brazil is one of them. Yes, it turns one of the most depraved monsters about whom I've ever read into an entertaining comic-book mad scientist. But not only does Peck chew the scenery just the right amount, but he also creates a behavior that could well infer a work history of taking children's eyeballs and attaching them to the back of other children's heads, changing eye color by injecting chemicals into children's eyes, various limb amputations and other nightmarish doings.

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