6.9/10
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Water for Elephants (2011)

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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)
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Popularity
3,150 ( 149)
3 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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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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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Polish

Release Date:

22 April 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Agua para elefantes See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$38,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,842,353, 24 April 2011, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$58,709,717

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$117,094,902
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat | SDDS

Color:

Color | Black and White (home movie sequence)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In a deleted scene of Vanity Fair (2004), Reese Witherspoon played Robert Pattinson's mother. In this movie, they play lovers. See more »

Goofs

August says Jacob is an Ivy League grad. Although the term "Ivy Colleges" was used in the early 1930s, "Ivy League" was first used in the Christian Science Monitor on February 7, 1935. The "Ivy League" wasn't officially established until 1954. 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 ...
[...]
See more »

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

Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #21.130 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Button Up Your Overcoat
Written by Lew Brown, Buddy G. DeSylva (as BG De Sylva) and Ray Henderson
Performed by Ruth Etting
Courtesy of Columbia Records by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Pleasantly surprised by it. For a movie set in the 1900s circus world, it does hold and show the magic of circus on screen as it is beautifully shot and told.
22 April 2011 | by ThisIsAMsgSee all my reviews

I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. Without being trite and redundant, it explores timeless and universal themes such as finding one's destiny and freedom, life choices, love, and jealousy, put in an interesting setting, that is the circus world -- the early 1900s when the US prohibition and depression were taking place -- which is nicely recreated on screen (by production designer Jack Fisk who's mostly known for his work with Terence Malick and David Lynch). Based on Sara Gruen's novel, this very original story is beautifully told, uses classical film-making techniques -- its camera moves, staging, lighting, pacing, usage of 'live' animals, stunts and special effects -- and well acted -- Robert Pattison comes across as a decent lead actor and not just a pretty face; Reese Witherspoon, very convincing as the star circus girl, doing some of her own stunts; however Christoph Waltz's performance stands out the most as he maintains the dynamic among all the main characters and fuels the drama. It's nice and refreshing to see a classically-made-and-looking film coming out of Hollywood.


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