Brazil Movie Poster

Trivia for Brazil

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  • DIRECTOR TRADEMARK (Terry Gilliam): (burst): S.W.A.T. teams enter through the ceiling. Also at the diner.
  • Archibald Buttle's wife's name is Veronica. A reference to Archie and Veronica of Archie Comics.
  • When Mr. Helpmann (Peter Vaughan) spells out the code that Sam's father used to get to Helpmann's floor on the elevator, the letters are ERE I AM JH. When you rearrange those letters it spells JEREMIAH, Sam's father's name.
  • Terry Gilliam was reported to have been rather unhappy with Kim Greist's performance, and as a result, many of her scenes were drastically cut or trimmed down. Some of these were added for the Sid Sheinberg "Love Conquers All" studio version.
  • In one of the final scenes of the movie, amongst Jack Lint's (Sir Michael Palin's) instruments of torture, can clearly be seen a rubber bouncy ball and a pacifier.
  • The samurai sequence was originally conceived to reflect Terry Gilliam's love for Akira Kurosawa movies.
  • During the opening scene, where you see the paperwork floor with all of the runners dropping and picking up receipts, there is actually only one row of typing stations. The actors and actresses just pass forward and backward along the same set of stations.
  • The technician who, right at the start of the movie, swats the fly which falls into the printer, causing the fatal misprint, is Ray Cooper, the percussionist who, amongst other things, accompanied Sir Elton John on his famous Russian concerts in 1979.
  • Mrs. Veronica Buttle (Sheila Reid) never blinks during the extended monologue Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) gives, when he comes over to her apartment.
  • According to Maxim Magazine, Terry Gilliam was reportedly so stressed during filming, that he lost all feeling in his legs for a week.
  • When Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) goes to see Jack Lint (Sir Michael Palin), the elevator in Information Retrieval goes up to floor 84, as in 1984.
  • During the time when the studio was blocking the release of this movie, and were re-editing it for the infamous "Love conquers all" version, copies of the Director's Cut were circulating on video around Hollywood. At one point, several critics began asking if a movie that had been completed, but not released, could be eligible for a Best Picture Oscar. It's said that the potential embarrassment of this happening forced the studio to release the original version, instead of their new one.
  • Lots of significant names: - Mr. Kurtzman: (German for "short man"): small in stature and success. Named after the Editor of "Help" (Harvey Kurtzman), a magazine, for which Terry Gilliam worked in the mid 1960s. It was at a photo shoot for this magazine, that Gilliam met John Cleese, who invited him to join the Monty Python team. - Mr. Helpman: "helped" Sam Lowry - Mr. Warrenn: works in a rabbit-warren style place: a maze of corridors - Harvey Lime: possibly a reference to Harry Lime in The Third Man (1949).
  • According to Terry Gilliam in the book "The Battle of Brazil: Terry Gilliam v. Universal Pictures in the Fight to the Final Cut", the toolbelt worn by Harry Tuttle, and all of its gadgets, were supplied by Robert De Niro.
  • (Cameo) Jack Purvis: A regular in the movies of Terry Gilliam, Purvis appeared as "Dr. Chapman", a reference to fellow Python Graham Chapman, who had a medical degree.
  • This was River Phoenix's favorite movie, and he had been filming Dark Blood (2012) with Jonathan Pryce. As a gift, Pryce arranged for Phoenix to meet Terry Gilliam, his hero. The meeting was set to happen the day he died outside the Viper Room. Phoenix never met him.
  • DIRECTOR CAMEO (Terry Gilliam): The smoker in the Shangri-La tower who bumps into Sam Lowry.
  • An early title for this movie was "1984 and ½", a clear reference to George Orwell's dystopian novel '1984' spoofed in this movie, and an homage to Federico Fellini and 8½ (1963). However, then 1984 (1984) was released, and the idea was scrapped, as there would have been legal trouble with the Orwell estate.
  • Kim Greist was mistakenly billed as "Kim Griest" in various locations, including the early DVD packaging. In the Criterion single-disc re-issue of this movie, the error is corrected.
  • Terry Gilliam tested more than half a dozen actresses to play the part of Jill Layton, interviewing or testing Rosanna Arquette, Ellen Barkin, Jamie Lee Curtis, Rebecca De Mornay, Rae Dawn Chong, Kelly McGillis, Joanna Pacula, Kathleen Turner, and he even considered Madonna. Gilliam's personal favorite was Barkin, because he thought she had a great combination of sex appeal and toughness that would work for the character. He stated later that while Kim Greist gave an excellent audition, and his close circle of friends and family advisors liked her, he mainly picked her for the role because she had only one movie credit to that date (C.H.U.D. (1984)), and this would enable her to create a truly original character for audiences, without any prior expectations. He also said that working with Griest, who was difficult on-set, and whose material had to be severely reduced to help the movie, drove home that "experience really does count for something."
  • During his trouble with the studio, Terry Gilliam asked Daily Variety for a full page ad, which cost around fifteen hundred dollars at the time. He had it bordered like a funeral invitation, and it said: "Dear Sid Sheinberg, when are you going to release my film? Signed: Terry Gilliam."
  • The odd little bubble-topped car that Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) drives, is a three-wheeled, two-cycle, one cylinder Messerschmitt KR200 "Kabinenroller" (covered scooter), built in Germany in the late 1950s until 1964.
  • (Cameo) Holly Gilliam: Jack Lint's (Sir Michael Palin's) daughter Holly was played by Terry Gilliam's daughter.
  • The first sound in the movie is the Telecaster of famous guitarist Amos Garrett.
  • In the autumn of 1985, Terry Gilliam and Robert De Niro appeared on Good Morning America (1975) to promote this movie, which was finished, but not yet released. Gilliam was struggling with the studio and the studio head, Sid Sheinberg, quite publicly. De Niro rarely made television appearances, but agreed to help Gilliam out. According to Gilliam "Bobby (De Niro) said very little, he was talkative that day, so we might have gotten him to ten words." Host Joan Lunden asked Gilliam, "I hear you're having trouble with the studio, is this correct?" Gilliam responded with "No, I'm having trouble with Sid Sheinberg, here is an 8x10 photo of him", and showed the entire nation his photograph. Sheinberg was reportedly furious with this incident, and it helped Gilliam get the release of the movie done the way he wanted.
  • Jonathan Pryce's role as Sam Lowry was written several years earlier with him in mind. The character was originally designed to be in his mid twenties, but when Terry Gilliam finally finished the script after many years in limbo, Pryce was already thirty-seven years old, and Gilliam was hesitant to cast him. However, after a screentest, Gilliam felt that Pryce exactly embodied Sam Lowry as he imagined him, so he changed the character's age to mid to late thirties so that Pryce could still play the role.
  • The mask used by Jack Lint (Sir Michael Palin) also appeared used by several extras in the 1994 music video "Basket Case" by Green Day.
  • Almost all of the soundtrack music is a variation of the main melody song "Brazil".
  • The "Brazil" theme is heard several times within this movie. When Sam Lowry types "Ere I am JH" into the secret elevator's control panel, it plays the first eight notes. This is also what he hums when he sends the refund check up the pneumatic tube at Mr. Kurtzmann's office. It is playing on the radio in his car, and Tuttle whistles in his flat.
  • The "young Mrs. Lowry" was played by Kim Greist and Katherine Helmond.
  • Writer and Director Terry Gilliam and his crew were excited to have Robert De Niro on-board at first, but as time wore on, they found De Niro's need for "research", and obsession with details, increasingly irritating, with Gilliam saying that he "wanted to strangle him".
  • The dream scenes that ended up in the movie were initially meant to be one long opening sequence. Another dream sequence was scripted and filmed in which Sam flies over a field of eyes, which then start slowly moving to follow his descent on a pillar. The eyes were made of snooker balls with false irises added. The eye symbol is also seen in other Terry Gilliam movies, including 12 Monkeys (1995). However, the makers agreed that although the idea was good, it didn't work for the movie, so the decision was later made to divide the opening dream sequences over the movie, to fill the "empty" spaces between chapters.
  • The samurai warrior's suit was covered in electronic components such as resistors and volume knobs. In an early version of the movie, all of the samurai warrior's scenes were in one block.
  • Writer and Director Terry Gilliam wrote the initial drafts of the screenplay with Charles Alverson (who remained uncredited), but sought the help of Tom Stoppard in re-writes. However, the collaboration turned out differently than Gilliam had hoped, as he preferred to have frequent discussions with his co-writer, while Stoppard insisted on working alone and handing in his version after a several weeks. Gilliam then took Stoppard's version to Charles McKeown to collaborate on the final version. Stoppard can be heard saying on the behind-the-scenes documentary What Is Brazil? (1985) that he has no idea whether any parts of his screenplay actually ended up in the movie. McKeown wrote most of the propaganda slogans that can be seen in the background throughout the movie, and also played Harvey Lime.
  • Terry Gilliam was asked to do a film class during the battle of this movie at the University of Southern California. Terry agreed, and took advantage of the situation by preparing to bring an "audio visual aid", which was his cut of the movie, which would have been allowed. Unfortunately, two days before the event, students advertised a free screening of the movie. When he arrived, it was announced that Universal Pictures would not allow him to show it. During his speech to the class, he was interrupted by studio executives' phone calls. They eventually allowed him to show a clip. He showed the entire movie, and repeated the screenings for over two weeks. It was during one of these screenings, that Los Angeles, California movie critics saw it, and awarded it the Best Picture of the Year award, which was responsible for getting it released the way Gilliam wanted it.
  • Robert De Niro wanted to play the role of Jack Lint, but Terry Gilliam had already promised this to Sir Michael Palin. De Niro still wanted to be in this movie, so he was cast as Harry Tuttle instead.
  • The myth behind the name of the movie relates to Writer and Director Terry Gilliam being at a beach in the U.K. one day. Apparently, the weather wasn't particularly great, but a man was sitting on the beach alone listening to the famous song (on a stereo) that we hear in this movie. Gilliam was fascinated by the man sitting there, despite all of the "adversity", and this became the theme and name for this movie.
  • In the Christmas shopping scene, a woman is carrying a banner outside the store with a cross that says "Consumers for Christ".
  • Debut theatrical movie of Roger Ashton-Griffiths (Priest).
  • (At around twelve minutes) The poster which reads, "Information is the key to Prosperity / Ministry of Information", is a reference to a Soviet 1923 advertisement poster, "Rezinotrest", made by Vladimir Mayakovsky. The movie poster uses the same colors and style (half of the word "Prosperity" is green, half is red, similar to the word "Rezinotrest" on the original poster).
  • DIRECTOR TRADEMARK (Terry Gilliam): (cages): Many characters are in cages throughout this movie.
  • Despite prominent billing, Robert De Niro and Bob Hoskins had small roles in this movie.
  • The first movie Terry Gilliam made after officially breaking with the Monty Python troupe. However, Sir Michael Palin has a part in this movie.
  • The second in Terry Gilliam's "Trilogy of Imagination". The first was Time Bandits (1981), and the third was The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988). All three movies are about escapes from an awkward, ordered society, seen through the eyes of a child, a man in his thirties, and an elderly man.
  • Terry Gilliam admitted that this movie was inspired by George Orwell's 1984, although he never actually read the book. He jokingly referred to it as "1984 and a half."
  • The creepy mask Sir Michael Palin wore in this movie was inspired by a similar mask Terry Gilliam's mother gave him once.
  • Despite a twenty-week shooting schedule, it took nine months to finish filming. One reason was Terry Gilliam's notorious perfectionism, causing delays in the filming of the special effects (especially the dream sequences of Sam flying). The movie just about came in under budget.
  • While most of the actors and actresses needed only two to three takes, Robert De Niro insisted on twenty-five to thirty takes for his character, and he still managed to forget his lines. His part was eventually filmed in two weeks, rather than the one week Terry Gilliam envisioned.
  • The hands seen manipulating Tuttle's tools belonged to Writer and Director Terry Gilliam, not Robert De Niro.
  • Despite the problems Terry Gilliam had directing Robert De Niro, De Niro said he had a wonderful time on the production, and would gladly work with Gilliam again.
  • In preparation for the role, Robert De Niro witnessed neurologists performing brain surgery, because he likened his character's job to that of a brain surgeon.
  • When Mr. Kurtzmann (Sir Ian Holm) discovers the cowboy movie playing on the computer monitors in the Records Department, the accompanying music is "Flying Messenger" by Oliver Armstrong, the same music used during Sir Launcelot's attack on Swamp Castle in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), which Terry Gilliam co-wrote and co-directed.
  • In the commentary, Terry Gilliam states that the restaurant bombing scene was inspired by the I.R.A. bombings that occurred in London when Gilliam lived there.
  • Brian Miller says he was booked for five days, but only worked three.
  • The dates on Mr. Archibald Buttle's (Brian Miller's) paperwork show that he was received by the MOI on June 31, 1984. This would be another reference to it being called "1984 and a half", since it is half way through the year.
  • The cast includes two Oscar winners: Robert De Niro and Jim Broadbent; and four Oscar nominees: Sir Ian Holm, Terry Gilliam, Charles McKeown, Bob Hoskins, and Jonathan Pryce.
  • While cast as friends in this movie, Jonathan Pryce and Robert De Niro played enemies in Ronin (1998).
  • The rails embedded in the walkway, out to the middle of the torture chamber, were actually functional, and were used to dolly the camera back and forth, seen when the camera rapidly pulls back from a close-up of Sam's head, to a wide shot of the chamber.
  • Included amongst the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
  • Robert De Niro originally went uncredited, despite playing a major character, because he was under contract elsewhere. He took a role that he had not sought, and did it for free, because he really wanted to be in the movie.
  • Jonathan Pryce has described the role of Sam Lowry as the highlight of his career, along with that of Lytton Strachey in Carrington (1995).
  • According to Katherine Helmond, Terry Gilliam called her and said, "I have a part for you, and I want you to come over and do it, but you're not going to look very nice in it."
  • During production, Katherine Helmond spent ten hours a day with a mask glued to her face. Her scenes had to be postponed, due to the blisters this caused.
  • To Terry Gilliam's puzzlement, this movie is popular amongst the American Right.
  • Working titles for the movie included "The Ministry", "The Ministry of Torture", "How I Learned to Live with the System - So Far", and "So That's Why the Bourgeoisie Sucks".
  • The reference to form 27B/6, without which no work can be done by repairmen of the Department of Public Works, is a reference to George Orwell, who lived at Canonbury Square Apartment 27B, Floor 6, while writing parts of 1984.
  • Tom Cruise was considered for the role of Sam Lowry, back when the character was meant to be younger, but he didn't want to test for it.
  • Jill Layton wears a bandage on one of her hands. According to Terry Gilliam, it was added to give her "more personality".
  • In 2013, Terry Gilliam called this the first installment of a dystopian satire trilogy it forms with 12 Monkeys (1995) and The Zero Theorem (2013).
  • According to Writer and Director Terry Gilliam, several people walked out of screenings of this movie.
  • The sound effects used for the computer terminals are identical to those used for the MU/TH/UR 6000 computer on-board the U.S.C.S.S. Nostromo in Alien (1979). Sir Ian Holm appeared in both movies.
  • Rupert Everett was considered for the part of Sam Lowry.
  • Terry Gilliam credits Tom Stoppard with the idea of having a dead beetle fall into the computer and cause the typographical mistake that leads to a man's death, and the entire sequence of events in the movie.
  • Robert De Niro, pulled in by Producer friend Arnon Milchan, as well as his love for Monty Python, was paid six hundred sixty thousand dollars for his two weeks out of the scheduled twenty-two weeks of shooting: three times what Jonathan Pryce received. Universal Pictures ponied up three hundred fifty thousand dollars, and Twentieth Century Fox paid two hundred fifty thousand dollars for his marketable name on the project.
  • Terry Gilliam lured Bob Hoskins away from the set of Francis Ford Coppola's The Cotton Club (1984) in New York City, to cameo as Spoor.
  • Although a huge new Paris apartment complex called Marne la Vallee provided the setting for Sam's Tower Block (Robert De Niro leaps up on a balcony and disappears down a wire cable fourteen stories up), the little figure of Harry Tuttle zipping down a cable was an inch-high lead figure dropping along a wire through a two-foot-high building model.
  • Sir Michael Palin has made a travelogue program about this movie.
  • Final theatrical movie of Gorden Kaye (M.O.I. Lobby Porter).
  • Frank Zappa's favorite movie.
  • Ranked number thirteen in Entertainment Weekly's "Top 50 Cult Films of All-Time".
  • Included amongst the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the four hundred movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
  • Favorite movie of Doug Walker, a.k.a. Nostalgia Critic (2007).
  • Sir Michael Palin, Sir Ian Holm, Katherine Helmond, Peter Vaughan, and Jim Broadbent appeared in Time Bandits (1981).
  • In early drafts, the character of Jack Lint (Sir Michael Palin) was the hero.
  • During the Terry Gilliam versus Sid Sheinberg battle over final cut, Producer Arnon Milchan proposed buying the distribution rights back from Universal Pictures so that Gilliam would be able to have his preferred cut released. Milchan then took the movie to TriStar Pictures, whose executives were enthusiastic about it, and attempted to negotiate a deal with Sheinberg to sell it to TriStar Pictures in exchange for Universal Pictures retaining a piece of the profits. Sheinberg rejected under the belief that Universal Pictures would be not able to recoup its budget with the percentage of the profits they were to receive.
  • Peter Vaughan, Jonathan Pryce, and Jim Broadbent appeared on Game of Thrones (2011).
  • This movie is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #51.
  • In the scenes towards the end of this movie, where Sam Lowry may be tortured by Jack Lint, the equipment and chair are very old dental equipment, tricked out with additional lights, tubes, wires, electrical parts, tubing, conduit, restraints, et cetera. The four globe overhanging dental light design goes back to the late 1800s, the rest of the stuff's design was likely from the early 1900s.
  • Oddly enough, Sir Michael Palin, known for making travel documentaries all over the world since 1989, didn't visit Brazil until 2012, despite being in a movie called "Brazil".
  • Robert De Niro and Jonathan Pryce played in opposite sides in Ronin (1998).
  • In Jack Lint's office, the mechanism he uses on his face is an Oster Scientific Massage Instrument.

Spoilers

  • Body count: twenty-five.
  • Writer and Director Terry Gilliam had trouble with studio producers over the dark ending he wanted on the movie. The producers wanted a "happy Hollywood" movie, which eliminated (amongst other things) the final transition, and a critical line of dialogue, which revealed the tragic fate of Jill Layton (Kim Greist). These changes were made, and this "butchered" version was shown on U.S. television at least once. Gilliam threatened to disown the movie, and consequently the cinematic release, and all videotape versions show the movie essentially as he intended it to be seen (although the U.S. cinematic release still omitted the line about Jill).
  • Universal Pictures executive Sid Sheinberg didn't want the movie released in the original form, because he thought it was too pessimistic, the ending was downbeat, and it was not commercial enough for mainstream acceptance. Terry Gilliam refused to back down, and showed it to several Los Angeles, California movie critics. They declared it the best movie of the year. Gilliam eventually won out, and Sheinberg, rather than face embarrassment at keeping such a lauded movie from the public, gave in to Gilliam's demands. It's especially ironic, given the movie's themes of an individual standing up to the system. The only difference is Lowry lost, and Gilliam won. The struggle is recounted in "The Battle of Brazil: Terry Gilliam v. Universal Pictures in the Fight to the Final Cut", written by Jack Mathews.
  • When Harry Tuttle (Robert De Niro) rescues Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) from the Ministry of Information, as they escape through the lobby, the Security Police walk in unison down the stairs in a single rank firing their guns. Meanwhile, a vacuum cleaner rolls down the stairs ahead one step at a time. This is an homage to Battleship Potemkin (1925), and the massacre by the Cossacks of the people on the Odessa steps, while a baby carriage rolled unharmed down the steps in the midst of the ensuing carnage.
  • Terry Gilliam admitted that the conclusion of the movie was the first idea that came to him. He asked himself what kind of story would have a man going insane as a happy ending. But he felt that in refusing to give in to an inhumane system, and going into a state where he cannot be further hurt via torture or death or anything else, was a redemptive victory after a cold, awful life for Sam Lowry.
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