The Boys from Brazil (1978)

It’s April 5th, which means it is exactly 96 years ago since actor Gregory Peck was born. Ruth over at Flixchatter, who recently added him in the Top 10 Actors of all time relay race list, asked me if I could review a movie he was in. Now looking at his filmography I was surprised that I had hardly seen anything he had been in. Surely I have seen To Kill a Mockingbird (although it’s been way too long ago to remember much about it), but that was it. Something I have to admit is that I thought I had seen him in various Hitchcock movies, but I had mixed him up with James Stewart (sorry Ruth!).

So enough movies to pick from and I finally settled on Boys From Brasil. It’s a title which I had heard mentioned several times and knew it had something to do with experiments by nazis, but that was about it. It sounded like a weird movie, so I was prepared for anything.

After the second World War many nazis fled to South America. A young man, Barry Kohler (Steve Guttenberg), has been investigating them in Paraguay and manages to uncover a big plan by them. They will kill a lot of men of a specific age all over the world. Kohler calls Ezra Lieberman (Laurence Olivier), who has successfully been prosecuting nazis to tell him this information. Although he’s initially reluctant to do anything with the information, he starts to investigate once some men do start to die in mysterious circumstances. His goal is to find out what the nazis are planning. The nazi plan is the brainchild of Dr. Josef Mengele, played by Gregory Peck. Mengele performed horrible experiments during the war, for example changing the color of eyes to blue.

review the boys of brazil

The pacing of the movie is perfect as it really takes a while before you get an idea what the nazis are planning. For a big part of the movie you are curious of what they are trying to do as it makes no sense at all. Once it does become clear you will be slightly shocked. Now of course this post on Peck’s birthday would not be complete without talking about his performance in this film. As mastermind of this evil plan he plays this part brilliantly. For the biggest part of the movie he’s in a white suit, which makes him stand out in almost every scene he appears in. He convincingly portrays this brilliant (and twisted) scientist, who is willing to do everything to make his plan a success. Peck really shows what an experienced actor he is as he seems to do it all effortlessly. It’s also worth mentioning Laurence Olivier who portrays his character as a man who is obsessed by finding nazis, even if everyone else thinks he’s crazy.

The Boys from Brazil ia a very well made movie, which has some interesting technology which still is relevant. With great performances by Peck and Olivier and scenes shot all over the world it’s a movie worth checking out.

Score: 8

You will be able to read more about Gregory Peck in Ruth’s post (will be up later today) Beauty is Forever: Happy Birthday, Mr. Gregory Peck!

6 thoughts on “The Boys from Brazil (1978)

  1. I had no idea that this is what the movie is about. I’d heard the title but that’s about it. Sounds pretty cool. Might seek this one out sometime!

  2. Woo hoo!! Thank you Nostra. Sorry my post is not up yet but I’m so thrilled that you picked Peck’s lesser-known work to review. Even I haven’t seen this yet but I will. Glad you liked this and I’m not at all surprised to see how well Peck was in the role of the villain, he’s far more versatile than people give him credit for!

    • A bit late to respond (had some days off and spent a lot of time on other things) but you are welcome. The post you did was awesome and I hope you’ll be able to see this one soon!

  3. This film was an enjoyable thriller, mainly for Peck going against type and portraying the villain (in this case, a real life one). As Kevin pointed out on Ruth’s celebratory post, Peck’s work with the accent wasn’t that convincing. But, who cares. Peck’s the dastardly villain! And his fight with Lord Olivier is a memorable one, especially given their ages. And it was a pretty faithful adaptation of Ira Levin’s novel, too. Well done.

    • That’s some info I didn’t read about the villain being a real life one! I guess the plot wasn’t true to real life? I guess it wouldn’t be 🙂
      I normally don’t notice accents, but here I did hear him changing it a couple of times. In the beginning he almost seemed to sound British.

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