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Brazil Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

Brazil constitutes Terry Gilliam's enormously ambitious follow-up to his 1981 Time Bandits. It also represents the second installment in a trilogy of Gilliam films on imagination versus reality, that began with Bandits and ended in 1989 with The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. To create this wild, visually audacious satire, Gilliam combines dystopian elements from Orwell, Huxley and Kafka (plus a central character who mirrors Walter Mitty) with his own trademark, Monty Python-esque, jet black British humor and his gift for extraordinary visual invention. The results are thoroughly unprecedented in the cinema. Jonathan Pryce stars as Sam Lowry, a civil servant who chooses to blind himself to the decaying, drone-like world around him. It's a world marred by oppressive automatization and towering bureaucracy, and populated by tyrannical guards who strongarm lawbreakers. And Lowry is stuck in the middle of this nightmare. Whenever real life becomes too oppressive, Sam fantasizes (to the tune of Ary Baroso's 1930s hit "Brazil") about sailing through the clouds as a winged superhero, and rescuing beautiful Jill Layton (Kim Greist) from a giant, Samurai warrior. The omnipresent computer that controls everything in the "real" world malfunctions, causing an innocent citizen to be arrested and tortured to death. When Sam routinely investigates the error, he meets - and pursues Jill , literally the girl of his dreams. But in real life, she's a tough-as-nails truck driver who initially wants nothing to do with him. It turns out that she is suspected of underground activities, in connection with a terrorist network wanted for bombing public places. The price Sam pays for his association with her is a close encounter with the man in charge of torturing troublesome citizens (Michael Palin). He is rescued - at the last minute - by maintenance man Harry Tuttle (Robert de Niro) who moonlights as a terrorist, but that only represents the beginning of his plight, for now the "system" is onto him. Gilliam ran into enormous problems with Brazil. Universal - which produced the picture - originally slated it for release in 1984, but the studio - intimidated by the film's whopping length of 142 minutes - demanded that Gilliam trim the film to bring it in under two hours and alter the pessimistic ending. Gilliam refused; Universal shelved the picture for a year. In response, the director took out a full page ad in Variety asking studio president Sid Sheinberg when the film would be released. Sensing tremendous pressure, Universal bowed to Gilliam's insistence on fewer cuts but still demanded a happy ending. Gilliam trimmed only eleven minutes and altered the conclusion just slightly (instead of cutting to black, it fades into puffy white clouds on a blue sky, with a reprise of the title tune). It was thus released in early 1985 at 131 minutes, and of course became a seminal work; many critics regarded it at the time as the best film of the eighties. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

  • Release date:December 18, 1985

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Maggie Gray Best Art Direction 1985 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Norman Garwood Best Art Direction 1985 Nominee
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Terry Gilliam Best Director 1985 Winner
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Terry Gilliam Best Screenplay 1985 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Terry Gilliam Best Original Screenplay 1985 Nominee
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Tom Stoppard Best Screenplay 1985 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Tom Stoppard Best Original Screenplay 1985 Nominee
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Charles McKeown Best Screenplay 1985 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Charles McKeown Best Original Screenplay 1985 Nominee

Cast

Jonathan Pryce
as Sam Lowry
Michael Palin
as Jack Lint
Kim Greist
as Jill Layton
Robert De Niro
as Harry Tuttle
Katherine Helmond
as Ida Lowrey
Ian Holm
as Kurtzman
Ian Richardson
as Warren
Peter Vaughan
as Helpmann
Bob Hoskins
as Spoor
Derrick O'Connor
as Dowser
Charles McKeown
as Lime
Barbara Hicks
as Mrs. Terrian
Kathryn Pogson
as Shirley
Jim Broadbent
as Dr. Jaffe
Jack Purvis
as Dr. Chapman
Bryan Pringle
as Spiro
Sheila Reid
as Mrs. Buttle
Ray Cooper
as Technician
John Flanagan
as TV Interviewer/Salesman
Simon Nash
as Boy Buttle
Prudence Oliver
as Girl Buttle
Simon Jones
as Arrest Official
Derek Deadman
as Bill, Department of Works
Nigel Planer
as Charlie, Department of Works
Tony Portacio
as Neighbor in Clerk's Pool
Winston Dennis
as Samurai Warrior
Elizabeth Spender
as Alison/Barbara Lint
Anthony G. Brown
as Porter, Information Retrieval
Myrtle Devenish
as Typist in Jack's Office
Holly Gilliam
as Holly
Ann Way
as Old Lady with Dog
Terry Forrestal
as Burning Trooper
Don Henderson
as 1st Black Maria Guard
Howard Lew Lewis
as 2nd Black Maria Guard
Oscar Quitak
as Interview Official
Roger Ashton-Griffiths
as Priest
Sadie Corré
as Midget Woman
Ann Way
as Old Lady with Dog
Tony Portacio
as Neighbor in Clerk's Pool
Holly Gilliam
as Holly
Nigel Planer
as Charlie, Department of Works
Terry Forrestal
as Burning Trooper
Roger Ashton-Griffiths
as Priest
Winston Dennis
as Samurai Warrior
Anthony G. Brown
as Porter, Information Retrieval
Howard Lew Lewis
as 2nd Black Maria Guard
Prudence Oliver
as Girl Buttle
Don Henderson
as 1st Black Maria Guard
Simon Jones
as Arrest Official
Ray Cooper
as Technician
John Flanagan
as TV Interviewer/Salesman
Oscar Quitak
as Interview Official
Derek Deadman
as Bill, Department of Works
Elizabeth Spender
as Alison/Barbara Lint
Myrtle Devenish
as Typist in Jack's Office
Simon Nash
as Boy Buttle

Crew

Terry Gilliam
Director
Robert North
Producer
Arnon Milchan
Producer
Terry Gilliam
Screenwriter
Charles McKeown
Screenwriter
Frank Gill, Jr.
Screenwriter
Tom Stoppard
Screenwriter
Laura Kerr
Screenwriter
Roger Pratt
Cinematographer
Walter Scharf
Composer (Music Score)
Michael Kamen
Composer (Music Score)
Julian Doyle
Editor
Norman Garwood
Production Designer
John Beard
Art Director
Keith Pain
Art Director
Patrick Cassavetti
Co-producer
Maggie Gray
Set Designer
James Acheson
Costume Designer
Bill Weston
Stunts
Tip Tipping
Stunts
Irene Lamb
Casting
Graham Ford
Production Manager
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