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The Burning Season: The Chico Mendes Story (1994)

The Burning Season (original title)
Based on the true story of a Brazilian rubber tapper who leads his people in protest against government and developers, who want to cut down their part of the rainforest for a new road and ... See full summary »



(novel), (story) | 3 more credits »
Won 3 Golden Globes. Another 7 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Alfredo Sezero
Regina de Carvalho (as Sonia Braga)
Ilzamar (as Kamela Dawson)
Estate Boss
Steven Kaye
Wilson Pinheiro
Jonathan Carrasco ...
Young Chico Mendes
José Pérez ...


Based on the true story of a Brazilian rubber tapper who leads his people in protest against government and developers, who want to cut down their part of the rainforest for a new road and ranch land. The rich and the powerful will stop at nothing, and frequently resort to murder. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

17 September 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Burning Season: The Chico Mendes Story  »

Filming Locations:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Raul Julia and Sônia Braga also appeared in Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) and The Rookie (1990). See more »


During the scene of Wilson Pinheiro's execution, the characters are watching a well-known moment from the TV series Vale Tudo. This wouldn't be possible since this series would only be released in 1988 while Pinheiro was killed in 1980. See more »


Jair: 10%.
Chico Mendes: I lost by 10%?
Jair: No, you only got 10% of the votes. Chico, people are scared. You knew it was gonna to be bad.
Chico Mendes: What the hell are you talking about? You think I can resign myself? To fighting for a lost cause? You think I'm out there every day for the good of my soul? I'm scared too. But I'm fighting because I believe we can win.
See more »


Features Vale Tudo (1988) See more »

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User Reviews

Raul Julia in a career performance.
21 November 1999 | by See all my reviews

"The Burning Season" is a very moving film. It tells the story of real-life Amazon rainforest activist Chico Mendes, who was murdered in the mid-eighties because of his work.

The film shows the life of rubber tappers in Brazil, a trade handed down through generations. Its existence is threatened by rogue cattle barons and other industrial pirates, who want to burn the rainforest to make way for their plans. Mendes and his followers counter the developers with their numbers and their bodies. They adopt a program of civil disobedience, much as Gandhi's followers did in "Gandhi."

Raul Julia gives an impassioned performance as Mendes, with several moments that are breathtaking in their intensity. I heard that he lost thirty or more pounds for this role, and it shows. It is a tragedy that Julia did not live long after filming "The Burning Season" - with this as evidence, there was so much more to him than "Addams Family" re-makes. One can see from the look in Julia's eyes that he is totally locked in during the film.

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