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Brazil (1985)

R  |   |  Sci-Fi  |  18 December 1985 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 143,180 users   Metascore: 88/100
Reviews: 507 user | 227 critic | 12 from

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 »
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Title: Brazil (1985)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 1 nomination. 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


It's about flights of fantasy. And the nightmare of reality. Terrorist bombings. And late night shopping. True Love. And creative plumbing. See more »



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  »

Filming Locations:


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?


In the autumn of 1985, Terry Gilliam and Robert De Niro appeared on Good Morning America (1975) to promote this film which was finished but not yet released. Gilliam was struggling with the studio and the studio head, Sid Sheinberg, quite publicly. De Niro rarely made television appearances but agreed to help Gilliam out. According to Gilliam "Bobby [De Niro] said very little, he was talkative that day so we might have gotten him to ten words." Host Joan Lunden asked Gilliam "I hear you're having trouble with the studio, is this correct?" Gilliam responded with "No, I'm having trouble with Sid Sheinberg, here is an 8x10 photo of him," and showed the entire nation his photograph. Sheinberg was reportedly furious with this incident, and it helped Gilliam get the release of the film done the way he wanted. See more »


Holly's hair has a big gap in her front bangs when she says her one line, whereas before her bangs were intact. Holly Gilliam did this on purpose in an effort to avoid working on the scene again because she despised the process of filming. It didn't work, and the result is the continuity error. 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 »


Referenced in Metropolis (2001) See more »


Aquarela do Brasil
Music by Ary Barroso
English Lyrics by S.K. Russell
(C) 1939 by Irmaos Visale, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
(C) 1939 by Southern Music Publishing Company Inc., New York, N.Y., U.S.A.
(C) obtained 1982 by Peer International Corporation, New York, N.Y., U.S.A.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Orwell with a Python twist
29 March 2000 | by (Texas, United States) – See all my reviews

This movie did not leave me with a happy feeling when I was done viewing it, but I definitely found it well worth the time. It posits a dark future world where the government has become a gigantic bureaucratic beast. The simplest exchange requires mountains of paperwork and a strict adherence to procedures has replaced anyone's ability to critically think about what they are doing or stand up to the brutality they know lurks around them. Sam Lowry is a man who seems more than happy to live as a cog in the giant machine. When he sleeps, however, he flies through beautiful blue skies towards the woman of his dreams. As he attempts to correct an "oversight" by the Ministry Of Information for whom he works (one of the more obvious nods to Orwell) which has resulted in an innocent man's death, he finds a woman who appears to be the one in his dreams. The line between his dreams and his reality blur ever further as he goes deeper and deeper into the government machine to find out who she is.

Terry Gilliam once again seems to have spared no expense in making sure every visual element of the world adds up to a cohesive whole which makes you feel as if you're really experiencing the characters' surroundings. And, of course, it is a world rendered realistically enough to feel feasible, and yet surrealistically enough to leave an unforgettable impression on you.

Despite the simplicity of the main plot, the movie is full of subtexts and images which carry a message even though you may not see them on the first viewing. In one scene, a man is buying "clean air" from a vending machine along the street. The sides of the highways are walls of billboards which hide the barren environment beyond. A group of people carry a banner that announces "Consumers for Christ" in a store decorated for the holidays as a small child tells Santa she wants a credit card for Christmas. Actually, therein lies one of the things that may turn some people off to this movie. It seems Gilliam had so many things to say about the state of society today that some people may find the movie lacks a coherent message once it's done. The ending will no doubt come as a shock to many people as well, but it was refreshing to me to see something well outside the Hollywood conventions for a change.

My only real complaint was that Robert De Niro's character was so enjoyable, but saw so little use. Other than that, however, I thought it was a film which presents some compelling things which deserve serious thought, even though most people probably won't be able to get past the trademark Gilliam visual quirkiness to see what he is saying. Eight and a half out of ten from me.

195 of 234 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
am i the only one? aron-stoner
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
WHY ALL THE HATERS!!!??!!... philly69
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