Set in the 1930s, a former veterinary student takes a job in a travelling circus and falls in love with the ringmaster's wife.

Director:

Francis Lawrence

Writers:

Richard LaGravenese (screenplay), Sara Gruen (novel)
3 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Reese Witherspoon ... Marlena
Robert Pattinson ... Jacob
Christoph Waltz ... August
Paul Schneider ... Charlie
Jim Norton ... Camel
Hal Holbrook ... Old Jacob
Mark Povinelli ... Kinko / Walter
Richard Brake ... Grady
Stephen Monroe Taylor ... Wade
Ken Foree ... Earl
Scott MacDonald ... Blackie
James Frain ... Rosie's Caretaker
Sam Anderson ... Mr. Hyde
John Aylward ... Mr. Erwin
Brad Greenquist ... Mr. Robinson
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Storyline

After his parents' death, Jacob Jankowski is left penniless and homeless. Events lead him to joining the circus as their vet, working under their unstable boss August whose violent tendencies give everyone reason to be cautious around him, including his beautiful and quiet wife Marlena, whom August is very possessive of and who Jacob finds himself soon falling in love with. Written by mel47

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Life is the most spectacular show on earth.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for moments of intense violence and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The term "Red-Lighting" means being thrown from a moving train in the middle of the night. See more »

Goofs

After the altercation at the hotel, the bruises on Jacob's face keep changing between scenes. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Russ: [in the rain] Uh, Excuse me sir. Can we help you? Can we help you with something?
Old Jacob: Did I miss the Spec?
Charlie: Uh, yeah, I'm afraid so. The show was this afternoon.
Old Jacob: Oh.
Charlie: Did you come with the folks from Green Haven? Why don't we get out of the rain, and we'll call them for you.
Old Jacob: No, no! I came on my own.
Russ: It's okay. We're gonna call the home. We're gonna have them come pick you up.
Old Jacob: I'm telling you, I didn't come with the home! Why don't you take those rings out of your head, and maybe you won't be ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

In 'The producers wish to thank' section of the credits, the Circus World Museum is listed as being in Barbaroo, WI. The actual town is Baraboo, WI. See more »

Connections

Featured in Maltin on Movies: Water for Elephants (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Creole Clarinet
Written by Keith Nichols
Courtesy of APM
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User Reviews

 
a spectacular film
15 April 2011 | by waldbeerSee all my reviews

When I read Water for Elephants the book, I knew the film would be difficult to make and I was ready to be disappointed. Surprisingly, they managed to capture most of it in picture. Some things were lost on the way, of course, the most unfortunate one being old Jacob's struggles as an old man who refuses to retire from life before his time actually comes. Other details that made the book a masterpiece seemed more suitable for a book so they were not missed, mainly because the core story was there to its finest details.

The reenactment of America in Great Depression was good, and the circus was everything you would expect it to be. Such chaos and life and acts and performers and runes and animals all mashed up in a beautiful lively atmosphere. Scenes flowed one after the other smoothly and nothing seemed out of place. This is a hard thing to accomplish when it comes to adaptations. Most of them end up looking like a slide show of pictures or events taken from the book (see Hardwicke's Twilight for a perfect example). This film was a success.

The acting was another noteworthy aspect. People will have to acknowledge Robert Pattinson as a first class actor after watching this; and Waltz will be the go-to person for the upcoming psycho roles. He just digs it, I think and he creates the most intimidating gentleman on screen. Witherspoon looked average to me as Marlena, but I may be biased so I won't go into it much. All in all, it would be bizarre if at least one out of the three did not get an Oscar nod.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Polish

Release Date:

22 April 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Water for Elephants See more »

Filming Locations:

Tennessee, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$38,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,842,353, 24 April 2011

Gross USA:

$58,709,717

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$117,094,902
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat | SDDS

Color:

Color | Black and White (home movie sequence)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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