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A bureaucrat in a retro-future world tries to correct an administrative error and himself becomes an enemy of the state.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1,940 ( 14)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Barbara Hicks ...
Charles McKeown ...
Kathryn Pogson ...
Bryan Pringle ...


Sam Lowry is a harried technocrat in a futuristic society that is needlessly convoluted and inefficient. He dreams of a life where he can fly away from technology and overpowering bureaucracy, and spend eternity with the woman of his dreams. While trying to rectify the wrongful arrest of one Harry Buttle, Lowry meets the woman he is always chasing in his dreams, Jill Layton. Meanwhile, the bureaucracy has fingered him responsible for a rash of terrorist bombings, and both Sam and Jill's lives are put in danger. Written by Philip Brubaker <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


We're all in it together. See more »


Drama | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

18 December 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Бразилия  »

Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)


$9,929,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (edited) | (director's cut)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The mask used by the torturer also appears used by several extras in the 1994 music video "Basket Case" by Green Day. See more »


When Tuttle is at Sam's apartment for the first time to fix the heating, he removes the wall-panel and hands it over to Sam twice. See more »


[first lines]
Singers: [TV commercial jingle] Central Services: We do the work, you do the pleasure.
TV commercial pitchman: Hi, there. I want to talk to you about ducts.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Sidney Sheinberg's name is listed in the credits next to Worst Boy. Terry Gilliam and Sheinberg fought notoriously over the content and release of the film. See more »


References The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) See more »


Performed by Geoff Muldaur and Maria Muldaur
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records, Inc
by Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Perhaps the greatest of all films
18 October 2002 | by (Seattle WA, USA) – See all my reviews

I have read a lot of understandably negative reviews of the movie 'Brazil.' Brazil(in its proper form) is a long film at well over two hours, it has many cutaways to dream sequences that are only loosely related to the rest of the film, and the narrative story is not always the driving force of the film which many people find confusing. With all these things going against it, Brazil is clearly not a film for everyone.

All that being said, Brazil is my very favorite movie. Those things previously described as reasons that some people will dislike the movie are the very reasons I love it. The story is both simple and complex depending on how you look at it, and this kind of paradox is what makes for great art. There, I did it! I used the 'A' word, and not lightly. Brazil is an art film, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Sam Lowry(Jonathan Pryce) is our hero, an unambitious bureaucrat within the ranks of the Ministry of Information. The only place he is willing to be more than a drone is in his dreams where he is some sort of angelic knight fighting to save his dream girl. While running an errand for work, Sam comes face to face with a woman who is the very image of the dream girl, and his life is forever changed when he surrenders his tranquil unambitious life in the attempt to pursue the woman.

This movie is less about the story than it is about the atmosphere in my opinion. Terry Gilliam is a visual genius, and this movie marks his peak(so far) in producing a visually stunning film, with due apologies to Adventures of Baron Munchausen and 12 Monkeys which are beautiful in their own rights. The oppression of the bureaucratic life is felt by anyone who watches this film, and the freedom experienced in the dreams is a fantastic counterpoint. This film does a wonderful job of evoking emotional responses for me, and I suspect for most of the fans of the film as well.

The film can be viewed at many different levels of complexity, from fairly simple to fully allegorical. The simple view would be that the movie is about the dreams we create to escape our dull lives, and the potentially disastrous results of pursuing them in waking life. Symbolically the film can be interpreted as a vicious attack on the status quo as an impersonal, consumer/beauty oriented beast that is upheld by a draconian adherence to regulations and invasive public policy. There are many other ways to see it, most of which are probably unintended, but certainly completely valid.

The best part about Brazil is that it is absolutely hilarious. Jonathan Pryce shows remarkable aptitude for physical comedy. The dialogue is as funny as any movie you'll ever see, though the humor is very dry, and often so subtle that you might not get a joke until a minute after it has passed. There are the occasional tidbits of out loud guffaws one would expect from a script that was partly written by Tom Stoppard, but there is not a constant barrage of this material.

Brazil is a very cerebral film, so if you are thinking, "What does cerebral mean?" you can probably skip it. Anyone who expects to have a story clearly spelled out for them, and done so in a concise manner with little background interference will hate Brazil. Brazil is a film for those who want texture, emotional involvement and some sort of deeper meaning.

Brazil is my favorite movie, but it is clearly not for everyone!

607 of 712 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
am i the only one? aron-stoner
Clarification regarding "Buttle" spelling mistake/connected consequences ADyingFox
The (most) hilarious thing in Brazil's retro-future world... Ramuna
The Director's Cut ending is more optimistic than the 'LCA' ending. kruegerfan97
Why make a movie like this? troxx
Brilliant in EVERY way... house_of_usher99
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