6.9/10
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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.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
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Popularity
2,561 ( 1,157)
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:

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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)
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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

Sara Gruen wrote the novel 'Water for Elephants' as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). See more »

Goofs

Several shots prominently display a follow-spot, with the Strong manufacturers name in clear view, which wasn't available until the mid-50s. 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 Bad Movie Beatdown: Review of 2011 (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Sheep's Eyes
Written by Lionel Wendling
Courtesy of APM
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Pleasantly surprised by it. For a movie set in the 1900s circus world, it does hold and show the magic of circus on screen as it is beautifully shot and told.
22 April 2011 | by (Moon) – See all my reviews

I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. Without being trite and redundant, it explores timeless and universal themes such as finding one's destiny and freedom, life choices, love, and jealousy, put in an interesting setting, that is the circus world -- the early 1900s when the US prohibition and depression were taking place -- which is nicely recreated on screen (by production designer Jack Fisk who's mostly known for his work with Terence Malick and David Lynch). Based on Sara Gruen's novel, this very original story is beautifully told, uses classical film-making techniques -- its camera moves, staging, lighting, pacing, usage of 'live' animals, stunts and special effects -- and well acted -- Robert Pattison comes across as a decent lead actor and not just a pretty face; Reese Witherspoon, very convincing as the star circus girl, doing some of her own stunts; however Christoph Waltz's performance stands out the most as he maintains the dynamic among all the main characters and fuels the drama. It's nice and refreshing to see a classically-made-and-looking film coming out of Hollywood.


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