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Brazil (1985)

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A bureaucrat, in a retro-future world, tries to correct an administrative error and becomes an enemy of the state.

Director:

Terry Gilliam

Writers:

Terry Gilliam (screenplay by), Tom Stoppard (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
2,036 ( 149)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jonathan Pryce ... Sam Lowry
Robert De Niro ... Harry Tuttle
Katherine Helmond ... Mrs. Ida Lowry
Ian Holm ... Mr. Kurtzmann
Bob Hoskins ... Spoor
Michael Palin ... Jack Lint
Ian Richardson ... Mr. Warrenn
Peter Vaughan ... Mr. Helpmann
Kim Greist ... Jill Layton
Jim Broadbent ... Dr. Jaffe
Barbara Hicks ... Mrs. Terrain
Charles McKeown ... Lime
Derrick O'Connor ... Dowser
Kathryn Pogson Kathryn Pogson ... Shirley
Bryan Pringle ... Spiro
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Storyline

Sam Lowry is a harried technocrat in a futuristic society that is needlessly convoluted and inefficient. He dreams of a life where he can fly away from technology and overpowering bureaucracy, and spend eternity with the woman of his dreams. While trying to rectify the wrongful arrest of one Harry Buttle, Lowry meets the woman he is always chasing in his dreams, Jill Layton. Meanwhile, the bureaucracy has fingered him responsible for a rash of terrorist bombings, and both Sam and Jill's lives are put in danger. Written by Philip Brubaker <coda@nando.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Have a laugh at the horror of things to come. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 December 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Brasil See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$30,099, 22 December 1985, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$9,929,135
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (edited) | (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The myth behind the name of the film relates to Terry Gilliam being at a beach in the UK one day. Apparently, the weather wasn't particularly great, but a man was sitting on the beach alone listening to the famous song (on a stereo) that we hear in the film. Gilliam was fascinated by the man sitting there, despite all the "adversity", and this became the theme and name for the film. See more »

Goofs

When Harry Tuttle escapes from Sam Lowry's flat, he is wearing a hood covering his head. When Harry starts to zip-line off the precipice, he is replaced by a stunt double wearing a baseball cap. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Singers: [TV commercial jingle] Central Services: We do the work, you do the pleasure.
TV commercial pitchman: Hi, there. I want to talk to you about ducts.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The only credits at the start of the film were the preliminary studio credits, a credit for Gilliam, and the title. All other credits are at the end. (Although commonplace today, the lack of full opening credits was still unusual in 1985). All versions of the film, including the "Love Conquers All" edit follow this format. See more »

Alternate Versions

The American release has a few scenes that are not present in the European one.
  • There are clouds that open and close the film in the American Release. Some of the footage of these clouds was extraneous footage from .
  • After watching Mrs. Lowry's first plastic surgery treatment, Sam exclaims "My god, it works!"
  • Jack says "You look like you've seen a ghost, Sam..." to Sam at the entrance of the Ministry of Records when Sam sees Jill Layton.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bait (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Brazil
Music by Ary Barroso
English lyrics by Bob Russell (as S.K. Russell)
© Copyright 1939 by Irmaos Visale, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
© Copyright 1939 by Southern Music Publishing Company Inc., New York, N.Y., U.S.A.
© Copyright assigned 1942 to Peer International Corporation, New York, N.Y., U.S.A.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Visually fantastic but plot needed more work
4 December 2001 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Sam Lowry works within the huge ministry of information in a near-future world of bureaucracy. A simple administration error leads to the death of an innocent man. Lowry finds himself drawn into a world where he is forced to go against the admin world that he works in with devastating results.

This is one of Gilliam's best films (the other being 12 Monkeys). His nightmare vision is complete with wonderful visual touches - some inspired, some very unnerving in their originality. This satire on the world of bureaucracy gone mad has some wonderful elements that don't seem too farfetched - tiny offices, never-ending paperwork, a government so keen to cut costs that people who are arrested are forced to fund their own defence etc. The dream scenes and the romance don't sit too easily beside this element but they help add to the hallucinatory effect of the whole film.

The feeling of paranoia runs wild through the film. Everything in it symbolises the uselessness of trying to work against a unbeatable system and the pointlessness of individual effort - witness Tuttle eventually overcome by the "paperwork" he once resisted. The only problem with the film is that the plot is mostly rubbish, at first it's hidden but in the middle section and the end the holes become obvious.

The cast is mostly excellent despite forced to work with very weird characters. Pryce is brilliant as the quiet bureaucrat pushed into a nightmare by his dreams, although Kim Greist is dull as the focus of his dreams, Jill. The rest of the cast consists of a range of extended cameos including Ian Holm, Michael Palin, Bob Hoskins and an excellent Robert De Niro as a guerrilla heating engineer.

The studio bosses wanted an upbeat happy ending to help sales - basically the final 45 seconds had to go. However Gilliam stuck by his guns and produced a film that is visually inspiring whilst being depressingly based in the real world - right up till the final credit has rolled. "Has anyone seen Lowry?" - everyone should.


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