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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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2,823 ( 632)
3 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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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:

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Country:

Language:

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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)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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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

As Jacob shakes Earl's hand, when he is about to meet August for the first time, the powder on Jacob's shoulders is gone. 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 ...
[...]
See more »

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

Featured in Breakfast: Episode dated 6 May 2011 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)
Words by Al Neiburg
Music by Doc Daugherty and Ellis Reynolds
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
a spectacular film
15 April 2011 | by See all my reviews

When I read Water for Elephants the book, I knew the film would be difficult to make and I was ready to be disappointed. Surprisingly, they managed to capture most of it in picture. Some things were lost on the way, of course, the most unfortunate one being old Jacob's struggles as an old man who refuses to retire from life before his time actually comes. Other details that made the book a masterpiece seemed more suitable for a book so they were not missed, mainly because the core story was there to its finest details.

The reenactment of America in Great Depression was good, and the circus was everything you would expect it to be. Such chaos and life and acts and performers and runes and animals all mashed up in a beautiful lively atmosphere. Scenes flowed one after the other smoothly and nothing seemed out of place. This is a hard thing to accomplish when it comes to adaptations. Most of them end up looking like a slide show of pictures or events taken from the book (see Hardwicke's Twilight for a perfect example). This film was a success.

The acting was another noteworthy aspect. People will have to acknowledge Robert Pattinson as a first class actor after watching this; and Waltz will be the go-to person for the upcoming psycho roles. He just digs it, I think and he creates the most intimidating gentleman on screen. Witherspoon looked average to me as Marlena, but I may be biased so I won't go into it much. All in all, it would be bizarre if at least one out of the three did not get an Oscar nod.


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Message Boards

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Anyone else feel this film was... Lacking? Minae
Why did the Cornell people disrupt his exam? jmhow
Why would Jacob mispronounce his own name? Nastassya
Anyone else feel this film was a remake of Walt Disney´s Dumbo? franciscocastro
The math of Jacob’s Age diogenes-13
Am I the only one who sees the resemblance? SwayBreezy
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