127 user 61 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?


Austria's The Kölnbrein Dam doubled for the Swedish dam where an assassination sequence occurs. The dam was under construction at the time of principal photography, and was then not as yet a functioning dam. See more »


When the geneticist is talking to Lieberman, he tells him that twins raised separately have exactly opposite personalities when, in fact, they have been shown to have quite similar personalities. See more »


[Bruckner begins listing the boys' common features on a chalkboard]
Professor Bruckner: Now, Mengele would certainly know that every social and environmental detail would have to be reproduced. Plus, if the parents were divorced when the boy was ten, this would have to be arranged...
Ezra Lieberman: [in horrified realization] Dr. Bruckner... the one who is cloned, the donor, he has to be alive, doesn't he?
Professor Bruckner: Not necessarily. Individual cells, taken from a donor, can be preserved indefinitely. With a sample of Mozart's blood, and the ...
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 Party Down: Steve Guttenberg's Birthday (2010) See more »


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

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User Reviews

Intriguing If Implausible
24 August 2002 | by sddavis63See all my reviews

A very well done (if quite implausible) fictional account about a post World War II Nazi plot based in Paraguay and led by Josef Mengele that could lead to the establishment of the Fourth Reich.

Gregory Peck was well cast as the evil Mengele. Having seen him primarily in "good guy" roles, I was impressed by how well he pulled off this role as one of the more sinister characters of the 20th century. Laurence Olivier also put on a good performance as the Nazi hunter Lieberman.

The basics of the story (I won't give it away) are implausible, but strike me as the sort of thing Nazi scientists might have wanted to do if the knowledge had been around in the 1940's. Some parts are predictable (I figured out who - or what - the "boys" were soon after they appeared) but I must confess that I wasn't able to figure out the reason behind the killing of the 65 year old civil servants who were married to younger women until it was revealed. And the ending of the movie was appropriately spine-chilling. What will this boy (indeed, these boys) grow up to be, anyway?

Well done, indeed. 8/10

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