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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:

We're all in it together. 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 sound effects used for the computer terminals are identical to those used for the MU/TH/UR 6000 computer on-board the U.S.C.S.S. Nostromo in Alien (1979). Sir Ian Holm appeared in both movies. See more »

Goofs

When Tuttle is at Sam's apartment for the first time to fix the heating, he removes the wall-panel and hands it over to Sam twice. 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 closing shot of Lowry incarcerated humming to himself provides the backdrop for the end credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

There are at least three different versions of Brazil. The original 142 minutes European release, a shorter 132-minutes prepared by Gilliam for the American release and another different version, nicknamed the Sheinberg Edit, from Universal's then boss Sid Sheinberg, against whom Terry Gilliam had to fight to have his version released, A.K.A. the 'Love Conquers All' version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Brazilian Planet of the Apes (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

La Valse
(uncredited)
By Maurice Ravel
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Orwell with a Python twist
29 March 2000 | by redneck-6See all my reviews

This movie did not leave me with a happy feeling when I was done viewing it, but I definitely found it well worth the time. It posits a dark future world where the government has become a gigantic bureaucratic beast. The simplest exchange requires mountains of paperwork and a strict adherence to procedures has replaced anyone's ability to critically think about what they are doing or stand up to the brutality they know lurks around them. Sam Lowry is a man who seems more than happy to live as a cog in the giant machine. When he sleeps, however, he flies through beautiful blue skies towards the woman of his dreams. As he attempts to correct an "oversight" by the Ministry Of Information for whom he works (one of the more obvious nods to Orwell) which has resulted in an innocent man's death, he finds a woman who appears to be the one in his dreams. The line between his dreams and his reality blur ever further as he goes deeper and deeper into the government machine to find out who she is.

Terry Gilliam once again seems to have spared no expense in making sure every visual element of the world adds up to a cohesive whole which makes you feel as if you're really experiencing the characters' surroundings. And, of course, it is a world rendered realistically enough to feel feasible, and yet surrealistically enough to leave an unforgettable impression on you.

Despite the simplicity of the main plot, the movie is full of subtexts and images which carry a message even though you may not see them on the first viewing. In one scene, a man is buying "clean air" from a vending machine along the street. The sides of the highways are walls of billboards which hide the barren environment beyond. A group of people carry a banner that announces "Consumers for Christ" in a store decorated for the holidays as a small child tells Santa she wants a credit card for Christmas. Actually, therein lies one of the things that may turn some people off to this movie. It seems Gilliam had so many things to say about the state of society today that some people may find the movie lacks a coherent message once it's done. The ending will no doubt come as a shock to many people as well, but it was refreshing to me to see something well outside the Hollywood conventions for a change.

My only real complaint was that Robert De Niro's character was so enjoyable, but saw so little use. Other than that, however, I thought it was a film which presents some compelling things which deserve serious thought, even though most people probably won't be able to get past the trademark Gilliam visual quirkiness to see what he is saying. Eight and a half out of ten from me.


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