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Water for Elephants (2011)

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Set in the 1930s, a former veterinary student takes a job in a traveling circus and falls in love with the ringmaster's wife.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
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3,681 ( 106)
3 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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James Frain ...
Rosie's Caretaker
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Mr. Erwin
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Mr. Robinson
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Storyline

After his parents' death, Jacob Jankowski is left penniless and homeless. Events lead him to joining the circus as their vet, working under their unstable boss August whose violent tendencies give everyone reason to be cautious around him, including his beautiful and quiet wife Marlena, whom August is very possessive of and who Jacob finds himself soon falling in love with. Written by mel47

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Life is the most spectacular show on earth.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for moments of intense violence and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

22 April 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Agua para elefantes  »

Box Office

Budget:

$38,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$16,842,353 (USA) (22 April 2011)

Gross:

$58,700,247 (USA) (5 August 2011)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

| (home movie sequence)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The owner of the circus at the beginning mentions the Hagenbeck-Wallace Wreck and the Hartford Fire. These are actual circus disasters.

On June 22 1918 a troop train crashed into the Hagenbeck-Wallace circus train because the driver fell asleep and did not see the warning signs about the stopped circus train. 86 people were killed and another 127 were injured.

On July 6 1944 the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey big top circus tent at Hartford caught fire and killed 169 people and injured over 700. See more »

Goofs

The night Jacob and Marlena run away, when Marlena rushes in Jacob's compartment, she wears a black satin robe over her dress which can also be seen when they are standing over the edge of the train ready to jump. However, when they jump and start walking away from the trails, Marlena wears only her dress. The satin robe reappears when they get in the hotel room. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Russ: [in the rain] Uh, Excuse me sir. Can we help you? Can we help you with something?
Old Jacob: Did I miss the Spec?
Charlie: Uh, yeah, I'm afraid so. The show was this afternoon.
Old Jacob: Oh.
Charlie: Did you come with the folks from Green Haven? Why don't we get out of the rain, and we'll call them for you.
Old Jacob: No, no! I came on my own.
Russ: It's okay. We're gonna call the home. We're gonna have them come pick you up.
Old Jacob: I'm telling you, I didn't come with the home! Why don't you take those rings out of your head, and maybe you ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

In 'The producers wish to thank' section of the credits, the Circus World Museum is listed as being in Barbaroo, WI. The actual town is Baraboo, WI. See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Dad!: Scents and Sensei-bility (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Hush Little Baby
Traditional
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A beautiful film, less depressing than the book I believe
22 April 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Having read a few reviews of this depression era set novel by Sara Gruen, I was apprehensive to see the film. The readers and critics had said it was too depressing and didn't end well. I'm happy to say the film is not bad at all. It captures the mood of the 1930s, and we the audience really get a sense of what it must have been like to live in that time in history. (Yes we went through our own depression but it was quite different and much more difficult back then.) The film centers around Jacob (Robert Pattinson) a student of veterinary science at Cornell, who gives up his education and runs away after his parents die in a car accident. He stumbles upon a traveling circus, where he is taken in by riff raffs and other stowaways. They have all become a part of the circus ensemble in order to make ends meet. Jacob eventually meets their ringleader August, played by Christolph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds) and his beautiful wife Marlena (Reese Witherspoon). August takes Jacob under his wing initially, but later Jacob learns his true colors. I do not wish to give away too much of the storyline but something tells me people will like this movie as much as the book if not more. I think the film makers have managed to make a film about the depression era without it being depressing. The film has an epic feel to it. It's, emotional, inspiring, romantic, and overall it makes for a very good drama. Even the ending is uplifting. The cast is wonderful as well. Robert Pattinson holds his own against two Oscar winners. It's great to see Reese Witherspoon back in action and in top form. There aren't enough great things I can say about Christoph Waltz. He balances the line between being dangerous and comedic with razor sharp precision, and is very intimidating…his performance is brilliant. It's great to see a film with real sets, and gritty and flawed characters, rather than imaginative CG rendered places and creatures. Even the train, (where a large part of the film takes place) feels alive with all its moving parts…it has a personality of its own. It's a surprising film from director Francis Lawrence whose previous films include "Constantine" and "I am Legend." It's clear that the team he works with has a great sense of capturing a story's mood, time, and place. "Water for Elephants" is a beautiful, moving, and entertaining film. Go see it! http://tickingticket.blogspot.com/


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