268 user 273 critic

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.



(screenplay), (novel)
3,020 ( 484)
3 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Kinko / Walter
Rosie's Caretaker
Mr. Hyde
Mr. Erwin
Mr. Robinson


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


Life is the most spectacular show on earth.


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

22 April 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Agua para elefantes  »


Box Office


$38,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,842,353, 24 April 2011, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

| |


| (home movie sequence)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


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 »


After the altercation at the hotel, the bruises on Jacob's face keep changing between scenes. See more »


[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 »


Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #19.111 (2011) See more »


Written by Dick Stephen Walter
Courtesy APM
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

22 April 2011 | by See all my reviews

Although the title of this review pretty much sums it up, in order to post a review i must include 10 lines of text. So here goes. This movie starts out with a similar feel to Titanic like many have said. It takes you back 70+ years and takes you through and incredible journey of passion, adventure, and just life in general. For every up there is a down, for every laugh a cry. You find yourself full of emotion at so many points in this movie it's hard to not get chills at times. The ending is well written well acted out and well, like the rest of the movie is just perfect. How this is only @ a 6.3 rating currently is beyond me, hopefully more people will take the time to post this movie was a solid 8.5 in my opinion and is a must see.

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