Lost in La Mancha (2002)

R  |   |  Documentary  |  2 August 2002 (UK)
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Terry Gilliam's doomed attempt to get his film, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, off the ground.


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An advertising executive jumps back and forth in time between 21st century London and 17th century La Mancha, where Don Quixote mistakes him for Sancho Panza.

Director: Terry Gilliam
Stars: Jack O'Connell, John Hurt


Cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Grisoni ...
Himself - Co-Writer
Himself - First Assistant Director (as Phil Patterson)
René Cleitman ...
Himself - Producer
Himself - Writer & Director
Nicola Pecorini ...
Himself - Director of Photography
Himself - Line Producer
Bárbara Pérez-Solero ...
Herself - Ass't. Set Decorator
Benjamín Fernández ...
Himself - Production Designer (as Benjamin Fernandez)
Andrea Calderwood ...
Herself - Former Head of Production, Pathé
Ray Cooper ...
Himself - Longtime Gilliam Colleague
Gabriella Pescucci ...
Herself - Costume Designer
Himself - Co-Costume Designer
Bernard Bouix ...
Himself - Executive Producer
Fred Millstein ...
Himself - Completion Guarantor
Narrator (voice)


Director Terry Gilliam is the latest filmmaker to try and bring Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra's "Don Quixote de la Mancha" to the big screen, the movie to be called The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Before filming even begins, Gilliam, who has moved from Hollywood studio to European financing, will have to scale back his vision as his budget has been slashed from $40 million to $32 million, still astronomical by European standards. But Gilliam is a dreamer, much like his title character, and his vision for the movie is uncompromising, meaning with the reduced budget that there is no margin for error and that some of his department heads may have to achieve miracles with their allotted moneys. During pre-production and actual filming, what Gilliam does not foresee is contractual and health issues with his actors, and the effects of Mother Nature. The question is does Gilliam have a Plan B if/when things go wrong. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They've got a story...but have lost the plot.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

2 August 2002 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Don Kihotis horis telos...  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£42,824 (UK) (2 August 2002)


$34,514 (USA) (20 June 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Fulton and Pepe embarked on their second feature about director Terry Gilliam intending to make a television documentary about the development and pre-production of Gilliam's long-awaited passion project. Having intimate knowledge of Gilliam's chaotic working methods, they knew they were in for something dramatic. But they had no idea that the story would develop into its own quixotic tragedy. After the failure of Gilliam's production, Fulton and Pepe were wary of finishing their film. Gilliam assured them that "someone has to get a film out of this. I guess it's going to be you." See more »


Terry Gilliam: At least if we're going to be fucked, let's know we're fucked ahead of time.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening cast or end credits except for the narrator. Cast members are credited by subtitles during the film or orally by the narrator. See more »


References The Fisher King (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

Brilliant Documentary Of A Director's Worst Nightmare
6 February 2003 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

Filmmaker & Monty Python alumni Terry Gilliam has dreamed for years of making a movie about Don Quixote. He finally got the chance to make his dream movie, "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote," in 2000, starring Johnny Depp and, in the title role of Don Quixote, French actor Jean Rochefort. But due to budget problems, shooting schedule problems, horrible weather problems, and the unfortunate ill health of actor Rochefort, the production was a disaster from the word go. After only 6 days of troubled shooting, "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" was completely abandoned.

Fortunately, out of the wreckage of Terry Gilliam's never-finished film comes "Lost In La Mancha," a brilliant documentary that captures everything that went wrong with the movie, from the first eight weeks of pre-production (which wasn't smooth sailing either) to the disastrous six-day shoot that followed. We see both sides to Gilliam throughout the movie---one minute he's giddy with delight at making his dream movie, the next minute he's blowing his obscenity-laden top over his project collapsing all around him. And it's not just Gilliam who suffers, as *everyone* involved with the movie, both in front of & behind the camera, gets dragged down right along with him as all hell breaks loose on the doomed production.

Watching "Lost In La Mancha" is not only fascinating, but it's also very educational, giving the viewer a first-hand look at what goes on behind the scenes of mounting a movie, including all of the business aspects involved such as financing & other professional agreements that have to be made before a single frame is shot. It's also a sad documentary to watch, too. Looking at all the terrific hardware, costumes and set pieces that were created for the movie (including marvelous life-size marionette puppets that can march in perfect synchronicity), plus the widescreen footage of the scant few scenes Gilliam shot before the production was shut down, the viewer is given a genuine glimpse of the movie that *might* have been, and is all the more saddened---and sympathetic with Gilliam & his team---because of it.

Happily, though, all is not lost for "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" just yet. Terry Gilliam is reportedly preparing for a second attempt at shooting the movie, and, having seen the movie's potential in this excellent documentary, I wish Gilliam all the best in the world in finally bringing his Don Quixote movie to the big screen. Judging by the glimpses of it in "Lost In La Mancha," I definitely believe it will be a truly great movie. :-)

20 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Will Gilliam ever make his Don Quixote? Spielbergo
Of course the movie collapsed! Alan Smithee
The "documentary" IS the movie! rana3528
An animated Don Quixote? tuco4life
HAHAHA IM SO SILLY!! k8doyle33
the man who killed don quixote Deppist
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