Brazil


2h 22m 1985

Brief Synopsis

A clerk in a bureaucratic future world becomes an enemy of the state when he falls in love.

Photos & Videos

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Fantasy
Sci-Fi
Release Date
1985
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures/Voyager Company
Location
France

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 22m

Synopsis

A nerdy clerk in a futuristic world finds himself caught up in the middle of a revolution against the bureaucratic and austere governing state.

Crew

James Acheson

Costume Designer

Margaret Adams

Production Coordinator

Martin Adams

Costume Designer

Bernard Allum

Graphic Artist

Vic Armstrong

Stunts

Ary Barroso

Song

John Beard

Art Director

Stephen Bream

Other

Meinir Brock

Makeup

Linda Bruce

Unit Manager

Vin Burnham

Costume Designer

Ray Caple

Matte Painter

Elaine Carew

Makeup

Paul Carr

Sound

Patrick Cassavetti

Coproducer

Valerie Charlton

Visual Effects

Ira Curtis Coleman

Consultant

Richard Coleman

Assistant Director

Tim Condren

Stunts

Richard Conway

Digital Effects Supervisor

George Lane Cooper

Stunts

Ray Cooper

Music Coordinator

Jamie Courtier

Costume Designer

Clive Curtis

Stunts

Perry Davey

Stunts

Jim Dowdall

Stunts

Bob Doyle

Sound

Julian Doyle

Photography

Julian Doyle

Editor

Nick Dunlop

Other

Nick Dunlop

Titles

Yves Duteil

Location Manager

Sallie Evans

Makeup

Jean Fairlie

Wardrobe

Terence Fitch

Assistant Director

Graham Ford

Production Manager

Terry Forrestal

Stunts

Tex Fuller

Stunts

Martin Gant

Special Effects

David Garfath

Camera Operator

Norman Garwood

Production Designer

George Gibbs

Special Effects Supervisor

Terry Gilliam

Screenplay

Rodney Glenn

Sound Editor

Joseph P Grace

Associate Producer

Martin Grace

Stunts

Maggie Gray

Set Designer

Annie Hadley

Costume Designer

Ray Hanson

Special Effects

Frank Henson

Stunts

Bill Hobbs

Stunt Coordinator

Nick Hobbs

Stunts

Bob Hollow

Special Effects

Billy Horrigan

Stunts

Kent Houston

Titles

Kent Houston

Other

Herman Hupfeld

Song

Andy Jackson

Sound

Michael Kamen

Music

Sally Kines

Post-Production Assistant

David Mccall

Special Effects

Barry Mccormick

Sound Editor

Charles Mckeown

Screenplay

Wayne Michaels

Stunts

Arnon Milchan

Producer

Richard Morrison

Titles

Richard Morrison

Other

Geoff Muldaur

Song Performer

Maria Muldaur

Song Performer

Chris Newman

Assistant Director

Tim Ollive

Other

Tim Ollive

Titles

Keith Pain

Art Director

Chantal Perrin

Production Manager

Dinny Powell

Stunts

Greg Powell

Stunts

Roger Pratt

Director Of Photography

Roger Pratt

Photography

Terry Richards

Stunts

Tony Rimmington

Other

S K Russell

Theme Lyrics

Stanley Sayer

Consultant

Hamish Scott

Researcher

Raymond Scott

Costume Designer

David Scutt

Graphic Artist

Heather Seymour

Choreographer

Neil Sharp

Titles

Neil Sharp

Other

Sandra Shepherd

Makeup

Aaron Sherman

Prosthetic Makeup

Keith Short

Chief Modelmaker

Margery Simkin

Casting

Tim Spence

Photography

Joyce Stoneman

Wardrobe Supervisor

Tom Stoppard

Screenplay

Chris Thompson

Assistant Director

Tip Tipping

Stunts

Eric Tomlinson

Sound

Guy Travers

Assistant Director

Frank Vinall

Wardrobe

Christine Vincent

Artistic Advisor

Chris Webb

Stunts

Kevin Westley

Assistant Director

Bill Weston

Stunts

Maggie Weston

Makeup

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Fantasy
Sci-Fi
Release Date
1985
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures/Voyager Company
Location
France

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 22m

Award Nominations

Best Art Direction

1985
Norman Garwood

Best Art Direction

1985
Maggie Gray

Best Original Screenplay

1985

Articles

Brazil


Still the gold standard among feuds between movie studios and directors, Brazil (1985) marked the third solo directorial effort for Terry Gilliam, the lone American member of British comedy troupe Monty Python (and its distinctive animator). His previous two features, Jabberwocky (1977) and Time Bandits (1981), had displayed a strong penchant for fantasy, an element he also brought to his collaboration with Terry Jones on Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975).

That element carries through to an extent in Brazil courtesy of the fantasies experienced by our meek bureaucrat protagonist, Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), including dreams of romance, adventure, and the ability to fly. However, this is all framed within a dystopian nightmare straight out of George Orwell as his stage-controlled life becomes an escalating parade of grotesque misunderstandings and violence.

The writing of Brazil was a team effort between Gilliam, actor and writer Charles McKeown (who also worked with Gilliam on 1988's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen), and acclaimed playwright Tom Stoppard, with early uncredited contributions from novelist and Jabberwocky co-scenarist Charles Alverson. "It's Franz Kafka meets Walter Mitty" was the succinct description Gilliam provided in the making-of documentary shot on the set at the time by Rob Hedden, which also tried to unravel the meaning of the title (which ties in with the song "Aquarela do Brasil," which was reworked for the soundtrack by Michael Kamen and Kate Bush).

The cast of Brazil features some familiar faces from previous Gilliam projects including fellow Pythonite Michael Palin as Sam's successful but soulless friend Jack Lint and Time Bandits (1981) alumni Ian Holm and Katherine Helmond as Sam's boss and mother, respectively. Perhaps the most surprising name among the cast is Robert De Niro, who had originally wanted Palin's role but was cast in the role of helpful terrorist Harry Tuttle; he shot his small but crucial role in between the filming of two other mammoth European productions, Once upon a Time in America (1984) and The Mission (1986).

Brazil was picked up for international distribution by 20th Century Fox (who had just tried and failed to court Gilliam to direct Enemy Mine) and presented in Gilliam's original 142-minute cut in many territories in early 1985. However, trouble began brewing immediately with American distributor Universal Pictures (under ownership by MCA, Inc. at the time) and its President and COO, Sid Sheinberg. A pivotal figure in the New Hollywood wave, Sheinberg was responsible for giving Steven Spielberg his big break on Jaws (1975) and would shepherd through many of the director's subsequent features at Universal.

The unusual and often jarring "art house" tone of Brazil proved too much for Sheinberg, who wanted a more commercial title and demanded extensive cuts and a total reworking of the film's melancholy ending (which is at least more positive than the outcome of Orwell's novel). Oddly enough, at the same time Sheinberg was also grappling with an overhaul of Ridley Scott's Legend, which ultimately reached American theaters in a radically altered and rescored version. Universal enlisted editors to rework the film according to the theme of "love conquers all," with Gilliam refusing to cooperate as his work was reedited into a much shorter rendition with a stitched-together happy ending. (This much-derided variant, which aired in some syndicated TV markets in the 1980s, can still be seen on the Criterion Collection home video release, for those who are curious.)

After a spate of furious memos and a long period of delays, Gilliam caused waves in the film industry by taking out a trade ad in Variety asking Sheinberg when he would get around to releasing Brazil. Frustrated by the continuing war, Gilliam arranged to screen the film covertly for college students and, due to increasing demand, L.A. critics without the studio's blessing. In a surprising twist, the film was lauded by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association as the best film of 1985, also nabbing nods for director and screenplay. Gilliam had been contracted to deliver a film no longer than two hours and fifteen minutes, so his own shortened American cut (clocking in at 132 minutes) was the one released at the end of 1985.

The general critical reception was actually mixed, ranging from ecstatic raves to baffled confusion (with critic Roger Ebert famously falling into the latter category). However, the film's reputation has only continued to grow with each passing year, even as Gilliam went on to fight future Quixotic battles on such productions as The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and the disaster-plagued production of the unfinished The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Amusingly, one of his most popular films, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), also wound up being released by Universal after Sheinberg's departure.

Now regarded as one of the pivotal films of the 1980s, Brazil remains a fascinating anomaly in film history and an eccentric, still astonishing case study of a worthy film surviving and taking flight against a seemingly insurmountable situation torn straight from its own plotline.

By Nathaniel Thompson
Brazil

Brazil

Still the gold standard among feuds between movie studios and directors, Brazil (1985) marked the third solo directorial effort for Terry Gilliam, the lone American member of British comedy troupe Monty Python (and its distinctive animator). His previous two features, Jabberwocky (1977) and Time Bandits (1981), had displayed a strong penchant for fantasy, an element he also brought to his collaboration with Terry Jones on Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975). That element carries through to an extent in Brazil courtesy of the fantasies experienced by our meek bureaucrat protagonist, Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), including dreams of romance, adventure, and the ability to fly. However, this is all framed within a dystopian nightmare straight out of George Orwell as his stage-controlled life becomes an escalating parade of grotesque misunderstandings and violence. The writing of Brazil was a team effort between Gilliam, actor and writer Charles McKeown (who also worked with Gilliam on 1988's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen), and acclaimed playwright Tom Stoppard, with early uncredited contributions from novelist and Jabberwocky co-scenarist Charles Alverson. "It's Franz Kafka meets Walter Mitty" was the succinct description Gilliam provided in the making-of documentary shot on the set at the time by Rob Hedden, which also tried to unravel the meaning of the title (which ties in with the song "Aquarela do Brasil," which was reworked for the soundtrack by Michael Kamen and Kate Bush). The cast of Brazil features some familiar faces from previous Gilliam projects including fellow Pythonite Michael Palin as Sam's successful but soulless friend Jack Lint and Time Bandits (1981) alumni Ian Holm and Katherine Helmond as Sam's boss and mother, respectively. Perhaps the most surprising name among the cast is Robert De Niro, who had originally wanted Palin's role but was cast in the role of helpful terrorist Harry Tuttle; he shot his small but crucial role in between the filming of two other mammoth European productions, Once upon a Time in America (1984) and The Mission (1986). Brazil was picked up for international distribution by 20th Century Fox (who had just tried and failed to court Gilliam to direct Enemy Mine) and presented in Gilliam's original 142-minute cut in many territories in early 1985. However, trouble began brewing immediately with American distributor Universal Pictures (under ownership by MCA, Inc. at the time) and its President and COO, Sid Sheinberg. A pivotal figure in the New Hollywood wave, Sheinberg was responsible for giving Steven Spielberg his big break on Jaws (1975) and would shepherd through many of the director's subsequent features at Universal. The unusual and often jarring "art house" tone of Brazil proved too much for Sheinberg, who wanted a more commercial title and demanded extensive cuts and a total reworking of the film's melancholy ending (which is at least more positive than the outcome of Orwell's novel). Oddly enough, at the same time Sheinberg was also grappling with an overhaul of Ridley Scott's Legend, which ultimately reached American theaters in a radically altered and rescored version. Universal enlisted editors to rework the film according to the theme of "love conquers all," with Gilliam refusing to cooperate as his work was reedited into a much shorter rendition with a stitched-together happy ending. (This much-derided variant, which aired in some syndicated TV markets in the 1980s, can still be seen on the Criterion Collection home video release, for those who are curious.) After a spate of furious memos and a long period of delays, Gilliam caused waves in the film industry by taking out a trade ad in Variety asking Sheinberg when he would get around to releasing Brazil. Frustrated by the continuing war, Gilliam arranged to screen the film covertly for college students and, due to increasing demand, L.A. critics without the studio's blessing. In a surprising twist, the film was lauded by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association as the best film of 1985, also nabbing nods for director and screenplay. Gilliam had been contracted to deliver a film no longer than two hours and fifteen minutes, so his own shortened American cut (clocking in at 132 minutes) was the one released at the end of 1985. The general critical reception was actually mixed, ranging from ecstatic raves to baffled confusion (with critic Roger Ebert famously falling into the latter category). However, the film's reputation has only continued to grow with each passing year, even as Gilliam went on to fight future Quixotic battles on such productions as The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and the disaster-plagued production of the unfinished The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Amusingly, one of his most popular films, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), also wound up being released by Universal after Sheinberg's departure. Now regarded as one of the pivotal films of the 1980s, Brazil remains a fascinating anomaly in film history and an eccentric, still astonishing case study of a worthy film surviving and taking flight against a seemingly insurmountable situation torn straight from its own plotline. By Nathaniel Thompson

Brazil - BRAZIL - The Newly Upgraded Criterion Collection Edition


It is generally agreed that certain old films have become classics: Casablanca and The Wizard of Oz and so forth. It's much harder to come up with a list of films post-1980 that will find a similar consensus. Being wildly successful guarantees little, as trendy hits turn sour, blockbusters are frequently dissed and critics tend to champion their personal favorites as 'guilty pleasures.' But Terry Gilliam's 1985 Brazil is fast becoming an acknowledged classic. It only looks better with the passing years, and its core of admirers is growing, especially on college campuses.

The brilliant, Oscar nominated script by Gilliam, Tom Stoppard and Charles McKeown started life with the title 1984½, which perhaps too accurately pegs the film's ambition. Getting audiences to sit through film versions of Orwell's depressing totalitarian fantasy was never easy. Brazil adds appealing, essential content: Beautiful flights of fancy and a tough-minded (but whimsical) sense of British humor.

Synopsis: An office mishap with a fly changes a "T" to a "B" on a piece of paper, with the result that an innocent shoe repairman named Buttle is imprisoned and tortured to death in place of a rogue air conditioning 'terrorist' named Harry Tuttle (Robert De Niro). Non-ambitious clerk Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) does all the work for his decision-paralyzed boss Mr. Kurtzmann (Ian Holm) and becomes involved in the Buttle case by trying to deliver a refund check to the man's traumatized widow. Sam also meets Harry Tuttle when the latter swoops down to perform some welcome air conditioning repair, an incident that puts Lowry in Dutch with an 'authorized' repairman, Spoor (Bob Hoskins). Tuttle's wildcat services have landed him on the arrest sheets but he has nothing to do with the constant deadly bombings that interrupt the luncheons of Lowry's decadent mother Ida (Katherine Helmond) and her friends. In his daydreams Lowry sees himself as a flying Galahad fighting a giant Samurai warrior to save a beautiful princess. He's shocked to find that Jill Layton, one of Mrs. Buttle's neighbors (Kim Greist) is a dead ringer for his daydream princess. To find Jill, Lowry accepts a promotion to the "Information Retrieval" department, which is actually an Orwellian Ministry of Fear specializing in torture. Sam's 'friend' Jack Lint (Michael Palin) feigns sincerity but is actually the department's top interrogation specialist. If Sam isn't careful, both he and Jill could end up in Jack Lint's torture chamber.

When talking to Francois Truffaut, Alfred Hitchcock divided film directors into two categories, "Simplifiers" and "Complicators." He proudly classified himself in the first category. The Complicators seem to rule the present state of filmmaking, as MTV aesthetics have dictated that no single shot will do when five can take its place. Trendy directors trowel on layer after layer of 'visual fabric' in the belief that crowded soundtracks and busy images make films ''more real." Terry Gilliam's trio of fantastic adventures Time Bandits, Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen are packed with detail and often presented at a dizzying pace, but have little in common with the action-oriented chaos we now know too well. Gilliam has the unique talent of creating an entire 'world' with terrific short strokes of visual genius: Everything we see has a maximum impact, so nothing has to be overdone or oversold. It's the difference between Content and clutter.

Terry Gilliam wisely constructs his bureaucratic Dystopia from the remnants of the past, which immediately puts the look of Brazil ahead of 90% of its peers. Movies as diverse as Things to Come and Fahrenheit 451 imagine future styles that soon become obsolete. Avoiding that trap, Gilliam's retro-mechanical automatic typewriters and Fresnel-enhanced data monitors already look like outmoded junk, suggesting Orwell's crumbling infrastructure while at the same time resembling nothing familiar to us now. 1984 was set almost exclusively in rotting tenement blocks but Gilliam gives his Sam Lowry a rich mother to show the gulf between the haves and have-nots. Ida Lowry and her decadent set enjoy their privileges and live in total isolation from unpleasant realities.

The economic disparity yields unlimited opportunities for wicked satire. Ida undergoes bizarre saran-wrap cosmetic surgery to make herself younger, while her less fortunate friend Mrs. Alma Terrain (Barbara Hicks) goes to another quack and is slowly reduced to gelatinized gore. A typographical error results in the utter destruction of the Dickensian Buttle family by government agents, but Ida and Alma are resentful when their chi-chi luncheon is interrupted by a full-scale terror attack.

Denied peace on any level, some of the "proles" refuse to play the game. Harry Tuttle swings through the skyscrapers like Spiderman, doing his bit by helping ordinary citizens when the official plumbers won't. Shocked by the Buttle mishap, Jill Layton registers her protest through the bureaucratic labyrinth, and succeeds only in having her name added to Terrorist rolls. Sam Lowry wants only an escape to his daydreams but inadvertently becomes Public Enemy number one. The most shocking charge against him is that he left some irrelevant receipts un-filed.

Brazil has moments of liberating joy to balance its darker corners: Sam delights in his fantasies, turning loops through the clouds after kissing his dream girl. He also shares Harry Buttle's triumph over the petty tyranny of repairman Spoor: Subversive plumbing, like vengeance, is best served cold. Brazil remains faithful to Orwell through Terry Gilliam's creative infidelity. When all is lost, we're treated to a briefly liberating daydream in which Robin Hood comes to the rescue.

Terry Gilliam's unique design sense enables Brazil to dwarf the visual imagination of other Science Fiction fantasies. Jack Lint's torture chamber is a colossal open space and not the expected secret chamber, which tells us his activities are so routine, they don't need to be hidden away. Myriad in-jokes, references to other films (an elegant nod to Battleship Potemkin) and Gilliam's peculiar brand of Python-informed poetic lunacy are everywhere, as when a shower of office paper scattered by a Terror explosion -- a chilling precursor of 9/11 -- magically regroups to bring down an 'enemy of the state.' Other gags seem inspired by earlier traditions, as with the maddening shared desk that keeps Lowry and his co-worker engaged in a constant war of nerves. It reminds us of the hapless lab manager in the classic Ealing comedy The Man in the White Suit, the one who sees his workspace shrinking and under attack by forces beyond his control.

The mark of Gilliam's genius is that his visual gags communicate the petty tyranny of a bureaucratic state so clearly...a ten year-old can watch Brazil and grasp its essential message. The film is too beautiful to be depressing and too imaginative to second-guess. It's a step beyond the novel 1984.

Jonathan Pryce is marvelously flexible as the wistful but determined Sam Lowry, while Ian Holm, Michael Palin, Jim Broadbent and Peter Vaughan take roles as various functionaries in the all-too familiar society, where war with undefined Terrorists never ends, and the economy is bolstered by making every day Christmas day. Robert de Niro lobbied for the lead role and was happy to settle for the smaller Harry Tuttle part. Bob Hoskins is suitably demonic as Lowry's plumber/tormentor. Slighted by director Gilliam as the picture's weak link, Kim Greist is actually quite fine as Lowry's activist dream girl.

Criterion's single-disc DVD of Brazil, The Final Cut is a quality update of an earlier multi-disc release that had more extras (including the shorter 'Happy Ending' Universal re-cut) but was hampered by a non-enhanced letterboxed transfer. The full boxed set has also been reissued, so collectors lacking only the newer transfer will not be forced to fully re-invest. The transfer is indeed vastly improved and holds together much better on larger monitors. The three-channel Dolby Stereo track still features the 1940s Latin hit tune Brazil as the basis for Michael Kamen's score.

The single-disc release also retains Terry Gilliam's highly praised original director commentary, recounting the director's entire highly publicized battle with Universal to get his original cut released. Jack Mathews, Newsday film critic and author of provides an insert text essay. Sean-Wright Anderson is the disc producer for Criterion.

For more information about Brazil, visit The Criterion Collection. To order Brazil, go to TCM Shopping.

by Glenn Erickson

Brazil - BRAZIL - The Newly Upgraded Criterion Collection Edition

It is generally agreed that certain old films have become classics: Casablanca and The Wizard of Oz and so forth. It's much harder to come up with a list of films post-1980 that will find a similar consensus. Being wildly successful guarantees little, as trendy hits turn sour, blockbusters are frequently dissed and critics tend to champion their personal favorites as 'guilty pleasures.' But Terry Gilliam's 1985 Brazil is fast becoming an acknowledged classic. It only looks better with the passing years, and its core of admirers is growing, especially on college campuses. The brilliant, Oscar nominated script by Gilliam, Tom Stoppard and Charles McKeown started life with the title 1984½, which perhaps too accurately pegs the film's ambition. Getting audiences to sit through film versions of Orwell's depressing totalitarian fantasy was never easy. Brazil adds appealing, essential content: Beautiful flights of fancy and a tough-minded (but whimsical) sense of British humor. Synopsis: An office mishap with a fly changes a "T" to a "B" on a piece of paper, with the result that an innocent shoe repairman named Buttle is imprisoned and tortured to death in place of a rogue air conditioning 'terrorist' named Harry Tuttle (Robert De Niro). Non-ambitious clerk Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) does all the work for his decision-paralyzed boss Mr. Kurtzmann (Ian Holm) and becomes involved in the Buttle case by trying to deliver a refund check to the man's traumatized widow. Sam also meets Harry Tuttle when the latter swoops down to perform some welcome air conditioning repair, an incident that puts Lowry in Dutch with an 'authorized' repairman, Spoor (Bob Hoskins). Tuttle's wildcat services have landed him on the arrest sheets but he has nothing to do with the constant deadly bombings that interrupt the luncheons of Lowry's decadent mother Ida (Katherine Helmond) and her friends. In his daydreams Lowry sees himself as a flying Galahad fighting a giant Samurai warrior to save a beautiful princess. He's shocked to find that Jill Layton, one of Mrs. Buttle's neighbors (Kim Greist) is a dead ringer for his daydream princess. To find Jill, Lowry accepts a promotion to the "Information Retrieval" department, which is actually an Orwellian Ministry of Fear specializing in torture. Sam's 'friend' Jack Lint (Michael Palin) feigns sincerity but is actually the department's top interrogation specialist. If Sam isn't careful, both he and Jill could end up in Jack Lint's torture chamber. When talking to Francois Truffaut, Alfred Hitchcock divided film directors into two categories, "Simplifiers" and "Complicators." He proudly classified himself in the first category. The Complicators seem to rule the present state of filmmaking, as MTV aesthetics have dictated that no single shot will do when five can take its place. Trendy directors trowel on layer after layer of 'visual fabric' in the belief that crowded soundtracks and busy images make films ''more real." Terry Gilliam's trio of fantastic adventures Time Bandits, Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen are packed with detail and often presented at a dizzying pace, but have little in common with the action-oriented chaos we now know too well. Gilliam has the unique talent of creating an entire 'world' with terrific short strokes of visual genius: Everything we see has a maximum impact, so nothing has to be overdone or oversold. It's the difference between Content and clutter. Terry Gilliam wisely constructs his bureaucratic Dystopia from the remnants of the past, which immediately puts the look of Brazil ahead of 90% of its peers. Movies as diverse as Things to Come and Fahrenheit 451 imagine future styles that soon become obsolete. Avoiding that trap, Gilliam's retro-mechanical automatic typewriters and Fresnel-enhanced data monitors already look like outmoded junk, suggesting Orwell's crumbling infrastructure while at the same time resembling nothing familiar to us now. 1984 was set almost exclusively in rotting tenement blocks but Gilliam gives his Sam Lowry a rich mother to show the gulf between the haves and have-nots. Ida Lowry and her decadent set enjoy their privileges and live in total isolation from unpleasant realities. The economic disparity yields unlimited opportunities for wicked satire. Ida undergoes bizarre saran-wrap cosmetic surgery to make herself younger, while her less fortunate friend Mrs. Alma Terrain (Barbara Hicks) goes to another quack and is slowly reduced to gelatinized gore. A typographical error results in the utter destruction of the Dickensian Buttle family by government agents, but Ida and Alma are resentful when their chi-chi luncheon is interrupted by a full-scale terror attack. Denied peace on any level, some of the "proles" refuse to play the game. Harry Tuttle swings through the skyscrapers like Spiderman, doing his bit by helping ordinary citizens when the official plumbers won't. Shocked by the Buttle mishap, Jill Layton registers her protest through the bureaucratic labyrinth, and succeeds only in having her name added to Terrorist rolls. Sam Lowry wants only an escape to his daydreams but inadvertently becomes Public Enemy number one. The most shocking charge against him is that he left some irrelevant receipts un-filed. Brazil has moments of liberating joy to balance its darker corners: Sam delights in his fantasies, turning loops through the clouds after kissing his dream girl. He also shares Harry Buttle's triumph over the petty tyranny of repairman Spoor: Subversive plumbing, like vengeance, is best served cold. Brazil remains faithful to Orwell through Terry Gilliam's creative infidelity. When all is lost, we're treated to a briefly liberating daydream in which Robin Hood comes to the rescue. Terry Gilliam's unique design sense enables Brazil to dwarf the visual imagination of other Science Fiction fantasies. Jack Lint's torture chamber is a colossal open space and not the expected secret chamber, which tells us his activities are so routine, they don't need to be hidden away. Myriad in-jokes, references to other films (an elegant nod to Battleship Potemkin) and Gilliam's peculiar brand of Python-informed poetic lunacy are everywhere, as when a shower of office paper scattered by a Terror explosion -- a chilling precursor of 9/11 -- magically regroups to bring down an 'enemy of the state.' Other gags seem inspired by earlier traditions, as with the maddening shared desk that keeps Lowry and his co-worker engaged in a constant war of nerves. It reminds us of the hapless lab manager in the classic Ealing comedy The Man in the White Suit, the one who sees his workspace shrinking and under attack by forces beyond his control. The mark of Gilliam's genius is that his visual gags communicate the petty tyranny of a bureaucratic state so clearly...a ten year-old can watch Brazil and grasp its essential message. The film is too beautiful to be depressing and too imaginative to second-guess. It's a step beyond the novel 1984. Jonathan Pryce is marvelously flexible as the wistful but determined Sam Lowry, while Ian Holm, Michael Palin, Jim Broadbent and Peter Vaughan take roles as various functionaries in the all-too familiar society, where war with undefined Terrorists never ends, and the economy is bolstered by making every day Christmas day. Robert de Niro lobbied for the lead role and was happy to settle for the smaller Harry Tuttle part. Bob Hoskins is suitably demonic as Lowry's plumber/tormentor. Slighted by director Gilliam as the picture's weak link, Kim Greist is actually quite fine as Lowry's activist dream girl. Criterion's single-disc DVD of Brazil, The Final Cut is a quality update of an earlier multi-disc release that had more extras (including the shorter 'Happy Ending' Universal re-cut) but was hampered by a non-enhanced letterboxed transfer. The full boxed set has also been reissued, so collectors lacking only the newer transfer will not be forced to fully re-invest. The transfer is indeed vastly improved and holds together much better on larger monitors. The three-channel Dolby Stereo track still features the 1940s Latin hit tune Brazil as the basis for Michael Kamen's score. The single-disc release also retains Terry Gilliam's highly praised original director commentary, recounting the director's entire highly publicized battle with Universal to get his original cut released. Jack Mathews, Newsday film critic and author of

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall October 4, 1985

Released in United States December 18, 1985

Re-released in United States August 28, 1998

Re-released in United States April 2, 1999

Re-released in United States on Video May 14, 1996

Re-released in United States on Video January 28, 1997

Released in United States January 1996

Released in United States 1998

Shown at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) as part of program "Twentieth Century Fox and the Golden Age of CinemaScope" July 3 - August 15, 1998.

Released in USA on video.

1998 Re-release restores 11 minutes of footage Universal forced Gilliam to cut.

Released in United States Fall October 4, 1985

Released in United States December 18, 1985

Re-released in United States August 28, 1998 (Film Forum; New York City)

Re-released in United States April 2, 1999 (Nuart; Los Angeles)

Re-released in United States on Video May 14, 1996

Re-released in United States on Video January 28, 1997

Released in United States January 1996 (Shown in New York City (American Museum of the Moving Image) as part of program "Fairy Tales For Adults: A Terry Gilliam Retrospective" January 6-21, 1996.)

Released in United States 1998 (Shown at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) as part of program "Twentieth Century Fox and the Golden Age of CinemaScope" July 3 - August 15, 1998.)

Voted Best Picture and Best Director by the 1985 Los Angeles Film Critics Association.