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


Ira Levin (novel), Heywood Gould (screenplay)
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?


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Gregory Peck and Walter Gotell both previously appeared together in The Guns of Navarone (1961). See more »


When David Bennett shows Lieberman the photographs of three Nazi agents, he mistakenly identifies Schwimmer as Kleist and Kleist as Schwimmer. See more »


Dr. Josef Mengele: You are a clever boy. Are you not? You do not well at school, but it's because you are too clever. Too busy, thinking your own thoughts. But you are much smarter than your teachers, hah?
Bobby Wheelock: My teachers are nowhere.
Dr. Josef Mengele: You are going to be the world's greatest photographer, are you not? Have you ever felt superior to those around you? Like a prince among peasants?
Bobby Wheelock: I feel different from everyone sometimes.
Dr. Josef Mengele: You are infinite different. Infinite superior. You are born of the noblest blood in the world.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The 20th Century Fox logo is in black and white and does not have the fanfare playing over it. 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 The Simpsons: Lard of the Dance (1998) See more »


The Blue Danube
Music by Johann Strauss
Arranged by Arthur Morton
See more »

User Reviews

Entertaining and suspenseful thriller about terrible experiments carried out by Joseph Menguele
25 March 2011 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Based on Ira Levin (Rosemary's baby)'s readable novel , this is an exciting thriller about The Doctor "Joseph Méngüele", (Gregory Peck), known member of the Nazi party German, and cruel medic of the concentration camp of Auschwitz . He escaped and pursued by the Mossad took refuge in Paraguay and Brazil after the fall of the Third Reich. There in South America get together a group of young people, militants of the Third Reich, to work in a strange issue in which he can proceed their repugnant experiments. Menguele attempts to reconstitute the Nazi movement from his Brazilian sanctuary cloning of boys' genes . A young American, "Barry Kohler" (Steven Guttemberg), contact with the Nazi hunter "Ezra Liebermann" ,( a Simon Wiesental-alike ,magnificently played by Laurence Olivier) , helped by his sister (Lilli Palmer), who begin to investigate and discover the horrible plan of "Méngüele .

The storyline based on genetic engineering resulted to be revolutionary for its day , so it was a mythical picture in its time, and had too much impact , his importance lies mostly in its scientist approach . At that time cloning was on initial developing and Ira Levin was the first author who wrote about this sensational and dangerous scientific discovery , almost science-fiction with moral dilemma included. The screenplay by Heywood Gould takes many licenses and is less developed than the successful novel of Ira Levin, but gets certain tension and amusement . ¨The Boys From Brazil" is a suspense movie that amuses and entertains , has good taste and in general lines is above average . Story is not boring , neither tiring but is entertaining at any time, though it is true that turns into a picture that tends to underline its latent absurdities and entangled in his ending . In the picture appears some of the best actors of all time, the three principals as Laurence Olivier, James Mason and an awesome Gregory Peck who however overacting in some scenes . Good supporting cast full of fine players usual in Nazis roles as Walter Gotell , Joachin Hansen ,Wofgang Preiss, Gunter Meisner and Uta Hagen as brutal concentration camp chief. Plus prestigious veteran actors as John Dehner , Michael Gough , Bruno Ganz and Denholm Elliott , among others. Special mention to unpleasant ,repulsive boy , well interpreted by Jeremy Black. The soundtrack by the classic musician Jerry Goldsmith, is the most part of time lively and nicely like is heard at the beginning and the end of the movie , nevertheless in some moments he composes strangely, perhaps attempting to remind Puccini and other musicians so admired by Mengele, but conveys us a mirth that it is not fitting to the plot. Furthermore , it packs magnificent and colorful visuals by French cameraman Henry Decae .

Franklin J. Schaffner directed excellent motion pictures as "The Planet of the Apes", "Patton," "Papillon", "Nicholas and Alexandra", after the flop of his film titled " Islands in the Stream ", in which went on to coincide with the actor of "Patton," George C. Scott, decided to embark on a project more commercial and successful as "The Boys From Brazil" . Rating : Better than average , worthwhile watching .

11 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 151 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »






Release Date:

6 October 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Boys from Brazil See more »

Filming Locations:

Kölnbrein Dam, Austria See more »


Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed