Brazil is a 1985 film directed by Terry Gilliam. It was written by Gilliam, Charles McKeown, and Tom Stoppard and stars Jonathan Pryce. The film also features Robert De Niro, Kim Greist, Michael Palin, Katherine Helmond, Bob Hoskins, and Ian Holm. John Scalzi's Rough Guide to Sci-Fi Movies describes the film as a "dystopian satire". The film centres on Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), a man trying to find a woman who appears in his dreams while he is working in a mind-numbing job and living a life in a small apartment, set in a dystopian world in which there is an over-reliance on poorly maintained (and rather whimsical) machines. Brazil's bureaucratic, totalitarian government is reminiscent of the government depicted in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, except that it has a buffoonish, slapstick quality and lacks a 'Big Brother' figure. Jack Mathews, movie critic and author of The Battle of Brazil (1987), described the film as "satirizing the bureaucratic, largely dysfunctional industrial world that had been driving Gilliam crazy all his life". Though a success in Europe, the film was unsuccessful in its initial North America release. It has since become a cult film. The film is named after the recurrent theme song, "Aquarela do Brasil".
Set in a fictional Britain, the film follows Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), a low-level government employee who has frequent daydreams of saving a beautiful maiden. One day he is assigned the task of trying to rectify an error caused by a fly getting jammed in a printer, which caused it to misprint a file, which resulted in the incarceration and death during interrogation of Mr. Archibald Buttle instead of the suspected terrorist, Archibald "Harry" Tuttle. When Sam visits Buttle's widow, he discovers Jill Layton (Kim Greist), the upstairs neighbour of the Buttles, is the same woman as in his dreams. Jill is trying to help Mrs. Buttle find out what happened to her husband, but has become sick of dealing with the bureaucracy. Unbeknownst to her, she is now considered a terrorist friend of Tuttle for attempting to report the mistake of Buttle's arrest in Tuttle's place to bureaucrats that would not admit such an error. When Sam tries to approach her, she is very cautious and avoids giving Sam full details, worried the government will track her down. During this time, Sam comes in contact with the real Harry Tuttle (Robert De Niro), a renegade air conditioning specialist who once worked for the government but left due to the amount of paperwork. Tuttle helps Sam deal with two government workers who are taking their time fixing the broken air conditioning in Sam's apartment. Sam determines the only way to learn about Jill is to transfer to "Information Retrieval" where he would have access to her classified records. He requests the help of his mother Ida (Katherine Helmond), vainly addicted to rejuvenating plastic surgery under the care of cosmetic surgeon Dr. Jaffe (Jim Broadbent), as she has connections to high ranking officers and is able to help her son get the position. Delighted that her son has finally shown ambition he previously turned down the promotions which she had arranged Sam's mother arranges for Sam to be promoted into the Information Retrieval division. Sam eventually obtains Jill's records and tracks her down before she is arrested, then falsifies her records to make her appear deceased, allowing her to escape the bureaucracy. The two share a romantic night together before Sam is apprehended by the government at gunpoint for misusing his position. Sam is restrained to a chair in a large, empty cylindrical room (the interior of a power station cooling tower), to be tortured by his old friend, Jack Lint (Michael Palin), as he is now considered part of an assumed terrorist plot including Jill and Tuttle. However, before Jack can start, Tuttle and other members of the resistance break in to the Ministry. The resistance shoots Jack, rescues Sam, and blows up the Ministry building as they flee. Sam and Tuttle run off together, but Tuttle disappears amid a mass of scraps of paper from the destroyed Ministry. Sam runs to his mother attending a funeral for a friend who died of excessive cosmetic surgery. Finding his mother now looking like Jill and fawned over by a flock of juvenile admirers, Sam falls into the open casket, finding it to be bottomless. He lands in a world from his daydreams, and attempts escape up a pile of flex-ducts from the police and imaginary monsters. He finds a door at the top of the pile and, passing through it, is surprised to find himself in a trailer driven by Jill. The two drive away from the city together. However, it is revealed that this happy ending is all happening inside Sam's head; Sam is still strapped to the chair under observation by Jack and Deputy Minister Mr. Helpmann (Peter Vaughan). Realising that Sam appears catatonic, a smile on his face and humming "Brazil", the two declare Sam a lost cause, and exit the room as the film closes.