127 user 58 critic

The Boys from Brazil (1978)

A Nazi hunter in Paraguay discovers a sinister and bizarre plot to rekindle the Third Reich.


Ira Levin (novel), Heywood Gould (screenplay)

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Gregory Peck ... Dr. Josef Mengele
Laurence Olivier ... Ezra Lieberman
James Mason ... Eduard Seibert
Lilli Palmer ... Esther Lieberman
Uta Hagen ... Frieda Maloney
Steve Guttenberg ... Barry Kohler (as Steven Guttenberg)
Denholm Elliott ... Sidney Beynon
Rosemary Harris ... Mrs. Doring
John Dehner ... Henry Wheelock
John Rubinstein ... David Bennett
Anne Meara ... Mrs. Curry
Jeremy Black ... Jack Curry / Simon Harrington / Erich Doring / Bobby Wheelock
Bruno Ganz ... Professor Bruckner
Walter Gotell ... Mundt
David Hurst ... Strasser


Barry Kohler, a young Nazi hunter, tracks down a group of former SS officers meeting in Paraguay in the late 1970s. The Nazis, led by Dr Mengele, are planning something. Old Nazi hunter, Ezra Lieberman, is at first uninterested in Kohler's findings. But when he is told something of their plan, he is eager to find out more. Lieberman visits several homes in Europe and the U.S. in order to uncover the Nazi plot. It is at one of these houses he notices something strange, which turns out to be a horrible discovery. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


If they survive...will we?


Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

6 October 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los niños del Brasil See more »

Filming Locations:

Kölnbrein Dam, Austria See more »


Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Sir Laurence Olivier received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his role in this movie, playing a Jewish man who hunts Josef Mengele and other Nazi war criminals. His most recent Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role prior to this, was for Marathon Man (1976), in which he played Dr. Christian Szell, a Nazi war criminal based on Dr. Josef Mengele. (For this movie, Olivier received his tenth and final Academy Award nomination, making him the most nominated actor up to that point. His record was later topped by Jack Nicholson, with twelve nominations.) See more »


Bobby Wheeler takes several photographs indoors without using a flashbulb. With a 1970s camera, none of these pictures would come out. See more »


[last lines]
Ezra Lieberman: You know, there was a nurse here, an angel of mercy called Miss Hannah, who actually gives me cigarettes. You know what she said to me the other day? She said, Mr. Lieberman, if you can escape Buchenwald, and you can escape those bullets, then a few cigarettes will not hurt you.
[suddenly lights the list on fire]
Ezra Lieberman: Isn't that a nice thing to say?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The version currently shown by Netflix (March 2017) ends with the shot of the list burning to ash, followed by slow fade to black, then the credits. See more »


Referenced in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) See more »


Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Lyrics by Hal Shaper
Sung by Elaine Paige
See more »

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User Reviews

Has Ham Suddenly Become Kosher ?
1 March 2005 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

I didn't thunk much of this movie and much of the blame should be centered on Ira Levin's source novel . Someone rightly points out that personality is possibly more to do with environment that genetics , so how come nobody realises that Nazi Germany wasn't all down to Hitler ? I'm thinking of millions of Germans who fought and lost a world war from 1914 to 1918 and tens of millions of Germans being affected by the terms of the Versaille treaty . Hitler himself fought in the war and was lying in hospital when the war ended and all these factors had far more importance in the creation of Nazi Germany than Hitler's father being a civil servant . In other words Levin's plot is totally ludicrous to say the least .

Apart from the silly plot the main problem with the film version of BOYS FROM BRAZIL is the acting and it's quite ironic that with a story centered around Jews that there's so much ham on display . Really the acting is really awful , so bad that you can't help laughing at the performances . Laurence Olivier gives possibly the worst performance of his career while Gregory Peck seems to be giving an impersonation of Basil Fawlty , oh gawd even James Mason is bad and that's not something I can say lightly

Yeah this is an entertaining movie but if you're making a thriller it's vital that you thrill the audience and not have them rolling in the aisles with something that feels like it's a sequel to THE PRODUCERS . How amusing is it Theo ? It's so amusing that I burst out laughing when someone made the very predictable cry of " Help get a doctor " - " I am a doctor you idiot "

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