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Lost in La Mancha (2002)

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Terry Gilliam's doomed attempt to get his film, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018), off the ground.

Directors:

Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe
2 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Grisoni Tony Grisoni ... Himself - Co-Writer
Philip A. Patterson ... Himself - First Assistant Director (as Phil Patterson)
René Cleitman René Cleitman ... Himself - Producer
Terry Gilliam ... Himself - Writer & Director
Nicola Pecorini Nicola Pecorini ... Himself - Director of Photography
José Luis Escolar ... Himself - Line Producer
Bárbara Pérez-Solero Bárbara Pérez-Solero ... Herself - Ass't. Set Decorator
Benjamín Fernández Benjamín Fernández ... Himself - Production Designer (as Benjamin Fernandez)
Andrea Calderwood Andrea Calderwood ... Herself - Former Head of Production, Pathé
Ray Cooper Ray Cooper ... Himself - Longtime Gilliam Colleague
Gabriella Pescucci ... Herself - Costume Designer
Carlo Poggioli ... Himself - Co-Costume Designer
Bernard Bouix Bernard Bouix ... Himself - Executive Producer
Fred Millstein Fred Millstein ... Himself - Completion Guarantor
Jeff Bridges ... Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

Director Terry Gilliam is the latest filmmaker to try and bring Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra's "Don Quixote de la Mancha" to the big screen, the movie to be called The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Before filming even begins, Gilliam, who has moved from Hollywood studio to European financing, will have to scale back his vision as his budget has been slashed from $40 million to $32 million, still astronomical by European standards. But Gilliam is a dreamer, much like his title character, and his vision for the movie is uncompromising, meaning with the reduced budget that there is no margin for error and that some of his department heads may have to achieve miracles with their allotted moneys. During pre-production and actual filming, what Gilliam does not foresee is contractual and health issues with his actors, and the effects of Mother Nature. The question is does Gilliam have a Plan B if/when things go wrong. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They've got a story...but have lost the plot.

Genres:

Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official page

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Spanish | French

Release Date:

2 August 2002 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Don Kihotis horis telos... See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£42,824 (United Kingdom), 4 August 2002, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$63,303, 2 February 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$734,514, 22 June 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fulton and Pepe intended to make a television documentary about the development and pre-production of Terry Gilliam's long-awaited passion project. They had no idea that the story would develop into its own quixotic tragedy. After the project failed, Fulton and Pepe were wary of finishing their film until Gilliam said "someone has to get a film out of this. I guess it's going to be you." See more »

Quotes

Investor: For the record, where is the Director of this Movie?
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Crazy Credits

Special Thanks to The Cast and Crew of "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" See more »

Alternate Versions

Although the U.S. home video version has a listed running time of 93 minutes, the version on the tape runs only 89 minutes. See more »

Connections

Featured in Zomergasten: Episode #18.2 (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

No one who loves film should miss this inside story of a gifted director pursuing a losing cause.
29 April 2003 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

J.K. Rowling said that Director Terry Gilliam's `Time Bandits' was the inspiration for the Harry Potter series. Then who is better to fail than such a visionary-he already did with ` Adventures of Baron Munchausen.' But wait, he fails again with his incomplete `The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.'

In grand dramatic style, the mighty one falls, and in the process instructs us all about the difficulties of working outside Hollywood with shaky European financing and following a dream against all odds-and along the way endearing himself to us all.

Movies on movies abound by the hundreds, from the elegant `Day for Night' to the seedy `Boogie Nights.' None has shown, however, a filmmaker's pain and frustration the way this documentary, `Lost in La Mancha,' does. Directors Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe, at Gilliam's request, document his failed attempt to screen the Quixote story. They create a cautionary tale about moviemaking, especially vain attempts at adapting great literature. In this case, Orson Welles spent 20 years grubbing for funding for `Quixote' and died without the picture; in 1972 Arthur Hiller directed Peter O'Toole in a tepid `Man of La Mancha.'

Gilliam's previous successes (`The Fisher King,' `12 Monkeys') were good enough for him to round up $30 million for this film (half of what was really needed), yet the ghost of `Munchausen' seems to visit every scene: If Gilliam is not talking about its flaws, everyone else seems to be referencing it as the disasters pile up in pre-production and mount during the first week of production.

Of Biblical proportions are the extraordinary desert rains and the NATO jets over the Spanish desert. Of human dimension are Jean Rochefort (Quixote) and his ailing 70-year old prostate. To spice it all further is the difficulty of getting Vanessa Paradis to the set. In the end, Rochefort's illness damns the project, but Gilliam, we are told in the end, will try to buy back the script from the insurance company!

No one who loves film should miss this inside story of a gifted director pursuing a losing cause just as his fictional subject fought windmills 400 years ago (or Welles a quarter a century ago). Although Cervantes regularly ridiculed Quixote, readers became fonder of him with each insult. The more idealistic Gilliam becomes in the face of failure, the more the audience will love the creative 61-year-old director, who believes enough in his vision to continue shooting `images' after everyone else has forsaken the project: `The movie already exists in here [his head]. I have visualized it so many times . . . .' As `Black Hawk Down' should make recruits think more carefully about the glory of war, aspiring filmmakers should see `Lost in La Mancha' before devoting a life to the windmills of Hollywood. However, the romance of the most influential art form in all of civilization will convert the Orson Welleses and Terry Gilliams regardless of the pain.

Even T.S. Eliot knew there was life in the images: `But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen . . ..'


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