Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Brazil (1985)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Brazil (1985, UK)

In Terry Gilliam's futuristic fantasy:

  • the inventive opening scene ("Somewhere in the 20th Century") envisioning the stylized world of an alternative future with ductworks advertised on television by a slick salesman and a chorus: ("Central Services. We do the work, you do the pleasure. Hi, there. I want to talk to you about ducts. Do your ducts seem old-fashioned, out-of-date? Central Services' new duct designs are now available in hundreds of different colors to suit your individual tastes. Hurry now, while stocks last, to your nearest Central Services showroom. Designer colors to suit your demanding taste") - interrupted by a violent explosion
  • the scene of anti-terrorists, on Christmas Eve, falsely accusing and brutally assaulting the innocent Buttle family due to a dead beetle - causing a print-out to read Buttle instead of the real terrorist: a renegade ("free-lance") maintenance man Archibald "Harry" Tuttle (Robert De Niro) - a perfect example of technological-automation gone wacky and oppressive bureaucratic muddling in the society's Ministry of Information, exemplified by this exchange: ("That is your receipt for your husband, thank you, and this is my receipt for your receipt")
  • Harry Tuttle's encounter with middle-management, civil servant worker in the dull bureaucracy Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), to fix his ducts, and explaining how he hated paper-work: ("I couldn't stand the paperwork. Listen, this whole system of yours could be on fire, and I couldn't even turn on a kitchen tap without filling out a 27B-stroke6. Bloody paperwork... I came into this game for the action, the excitement. Go anywhere, travel light. Get in, get out, wherever there's trouble. A man alone. Now, they've got the whole country sectioned off. Can't make a move without a form")
  • a fantasizing Sam - with recurring dreams of soaring as a superhero with metal mechanical wings toward a mysterious Jill Layton (Kim Greist) in the clouds - in real-life a tough truck driver and a member of the underground resistance movement, and rescuing-saving her from a giant, Samurai warrior

Sam's Recurring Dream as Winged Superhero Warrior
With Dream Girl Jill Layton

  • in an alley - Sam battling baby-faced mutants and a giant Samurai Warrior comprised of bureaucratic paraphernalia
  • the grotesque plastic surgery of Sam's narcissistic socialite mother Ida (Katherine Helmond), and another face-disfigured, bandaged client Mrs. Shirley Terrain (Barbara Hicks) who told Sam: ("My complication had a little complication, but Dr. Chapman says I'll soon be up and bounding about like a young gazelle")
  • the scene of the terrorist bombing of a high-class restaurant as patrons continued to consume their meals
  • in his new cramped office, Sam's battle with his moving desk
  • in the downbeat conclusion, the sequence of Sam's arrest and his strapped confinement in a torture chair in the middle of a circular platform within a domed building to be questioned and tortured by two torture agents as the spritely tune Brazil played; a white-coated technician wearing a pock-marked, smiling baby mask approached to administer torture - Sam recognized him as his friend Jack Lint (Michael Palin), accompanied by Deputy Minister of Information Mr. Helpmann (Peter Vaughan)
  • meanwhile, Sam fantasized that he was being rescued by commandos led by Tuttle, and escaping with Jill as they drove away from the city to a pastoral setting; however, his ideal perfect world was revealed to be a self-deluding illusion or fantasy - the green vista of a pastoral backdrop where he had escaped was covered over, and he was back in the domed torture chamber
  • the film's final lines came at the moment of his demise: (Mr. Helpmann: "He's got away from us, Jack." Jack Lint: "Afraid you're right, Mr. Helpmann. He's gone")
Jack Lint: "He's gone"
  • the final view of Sam was as he was humming "Brazil" to himself - insanely lost in his inner world

Bureaucratic Error: Buttle, not Tuttle

Terrorist Tuttle
(Robert De Niro)

Sam's Battle With Giant Samurai

Grotesque Plastic Surgeries

Restaurant Terrorist Bombing

Sam's Battle with His Desk in Cramped Office

Tuttle's Dream-Rescue of Sam

Sam's Dream of Escaping with Jill


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