The children of Brazil

The Boys from Brazil ( The Boys from Brazil ) is a film Briton – American of 1978 based on the novel of 1976 written by Ira Levin .

The film was directed by Franklin J. Schaffner , with Gregory Peck and Laurence Olivier as the main actors, and was shot in Vienna ( Austria ), United Kingdom , Portugal and Lancaster ( EE. UU. ). 1


Barry Kohler follows the clues about a Nazi group refugees in Paraguay. When he suspects they will hold a meeting, he contacts Ezra Lieberman, an old Nazi hunter, for advice, but he believes he only follows a useless clue and advises him to give up. Barry attends the meeting and with the help of a child infiltrates a microphone to listen to the talk discovering that the meeting is a group of famous Nazi war criminals, some people with neo-Nazi ideals and the meeting is chaired by Josef Mengele ( Gregory Peck ), who comments on a plan to establish a fourth Reich , for which he needs to murder 94 people from various countries of the world, all having in common being 65-year-old parents and a bureaucratic job. Lieberman believes Barry has discovered something important, but his only clue is that they are planning to kill 94 65-year-olds within two-and-a-half years and some photographs of suspects Barry had previously sent him. Lieberman uses his diary contacts to give him news of his headquarters in various parts of the world about the death of 65-year-olds, hoping to discover the plan.

On his return to Vienna, Lieberman is intercepted by David Bennett ( John Rubinstein ), a young man with whom Barry had contact and who is interested in helping Lieberman, and after insisting him to accept that it helps him. Lieberman attends more meetings with the widows and discovers that the children of the murdered men are virtually identical to each other: white skin, straight black hair and blue eyes. After one of his visits, one of the widows tells him that his son is actually adopted and that he received it from Frieda Maloney ( Uta Hagen ), a Nazi war criminal whom Lieberman had unmasked. He decides to go to the prison where Freida is being held to meet her, discovering that she had worked in an adoption agency as a favor for a group of Nazis who had helped her escape. In her work she had to give children to couples who by their advanced age could not adopt in a legal way, having to meet certain requirements such as that the father should have been born near 1910 and be a bureaucrat, and the mother was born about 1933. All the children were brought to her from Brazil. From what he tells Lieberman, he discovers that two of the dead parents had adopted children with Frieda four weeks apart, which is the same time that separated their deaths, and discovers that a third man involved, Henry Wheelock ( John Dehner ), is to be killed soon.

Mengele attends a party of a Paraguayan Nazi group, where it finds to one of its collaborators celebrating instead of being in Europe realizing the executions that had ordered to him, before which it reacts with anger and attacks, accusing it of traitor. After the disturbance that causes, Seibert meets with him in private and it says to him that all the involved ones have been ordered to return, because Lieberman has interviewed with Freida and already is informed on the adoptions that it entrusted to him to realize. Mengele gets angry and decides to continue the operation on his own despite the risks.

Lieberman attends the Vienna Institute of Biology to learn how it is possible for all children to be identical, both in appearance and personality. A biologist ( Bruno Ganz ) comments on a process in which a rabbit can be cloned from eggs and a sample of the subject’s DNA to be cloned, but explains that being physically identical will not cause them to be emotionally equal, And that it is necessary for them to live the same experiences. Lieberman reflects on this and discovers that the person Mengele seeks to clone, and that he lived the same situations that he is making happen to children, is Adolf Hitler .

Seibert burns the house of Mengele with the help of the others involved in the plan so that his participation is not discovered and he realizes that Mengele is gone and that aims to kill Lieberman and continue with the assassinations that he had planned. Mengele appears in the house of Henry Wheelock posing as Lieberman and murdering him. Shortly afterwards Lieberman arrives and Mengele sets a trap to him to assassinate it. After a shot he and Lieberman struggle for the weapon, and Mengele. After regaining control, explains his plan. Lieberman tries to escape and lets out the pet dogs of Wheelock, who attack Mengele until they take the weapon. At that moment comes Bobby Wheelock ( Jeremy Black ), the son of Mr. Wheelock. Mengele introduces himself as a friend of the family telling him that he was the doctor who attended at his birth. He seeks to gain his trust, but he enters into contradictions and the child begins to listen to Lieberman, who asks him to call the police and later to look for his father. When he discovers that his father has been killed by Mengele he lets his dogs attack him until he is killed, after which he calls an ambulance to Lieberman.

In the hospital, David introduces himself and tells Lieberman that he plans to assassinate the 94 children Mengele created to prevent the emergence of a new Hitler, but for this he needs a list of their names and addresses, which states that Mengele did not have And instead had learned it by heart. Lieberman tells him that Mengele actually had a list, which he took when Mengele died, but who is not willing to let them kill the children, and burns it to David.


  • Gregory Peck : Dr. Josef Mengele .
  • Laurence Olivier : Ezra Liebermann.
  • James Mason : Eduard Seibert.
  • Lilli Palmer : Esther Liebermann.
  • Uta Hagen : Frieda Maloney.
  • Steve Guttenberg : Barry Kohler.
  • Denholm Elliott : Sidney Beynon.
  • Günter Meisner : Farnbach.
  • Bruno Ganz : Dr. Bruckner.
  • Rosemary Harris : Mrs. Doring.
  • John Rubinstein : David Bennett.
  • Anne Meara : Mrs. Curry.
  • Prunella Scales : Mrs. Harrington.
  • Michael Gough : Mr. Harrington.
  • John Dehner : Henry Wheelock.
  • Jeremy Black : Curry Jack / Simon Harrington / Erich Doring / Bobby Wheelock.
  • Wolf Kahler : Schwimmer.
  • Walter Gotell : Mundt.

Base real

The character of Ezra Lieberman (in Ira Levin’s novel Yakov Liebermann) is inspired by the real-life Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal . Also the personage interpreted by Gregory Peck, Josef Mengele , is real.

Awards and nominations

  • Award National Board of Review 1978: Best Actor (Laurence Olivier) 2


  • Oscar Award 1979 : to the best main actor (Laurence Olivier); To the best editing (Robert Swink), to the best music (Jerry Goldsmith) 3
  • Golden Globe Award 1979: Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama (Gregory Peck) 4
  • Saturn Award 1979: Best Actor (Laurence Olivier); To the best director (Franklin J. Schaffner); To the best music (Jerry Goldsmith); To the best film – science fiction; Best supporting actress (Uta Hagen); And to the best script (Heywood Gould) 5


  • In the episode Lisa is to blame , of the thirteenth season of The Simpsons , Homer says

[…] Brazilian children are small Hitlers […] I saw it in a film […]


  1. Back to top↑ Filming locations on IMDb .
  2. Back to top↑ Awards 1978 National Board of Review in filmaffinity .
  3. Back to top↑ Nominations of the film in filmaffinity .
  4. Back to top↑ Film file in filmaffinity .
  5. Back to top↑ Saturn Awards 1979 in IMDb .