The Boys from Brazil (1978)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Political Thriller  |   Run Time - 123 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom , United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Matthew Doberman

The Boys from Brazil is a solid, tense, and thoroughly respectable thriller. The cast is excellent all around, with distinguished leads Gregory Peck and Laurence Olivier turning in performances that live up to their reputations. The time-honored structure of the arch-nemesis duel works well here, and, perhaps due to the age of the principals, the movie focuses on suspense and mystery rather than merely action. Boys was directed by the late, great Franklin J. Schaffner, whose mere 13 features included several milestones of American cinema, including Planet of the Apes, Patton, and Papillon. Though The Boys From Brazil is not quite up to the level of those classics, it certainly succeeds in keeping the viewer's attention. Based on Ira Levin's novel, the story is intriguing and unique, to say the least. Its theme of cloning has more resonance with every passing day than it ever did at the time of the film's release, and may lend a permanent sense of topicality to the film. Moreover, the film's ultimate message -- human beings are more than just "nature or nurture" -- is a pleasantly humanist one, affirming the need for free will as we head into an increasingly uncertain future. Olivier, editor Robert Swink, and composer Jerry Goldsmith all earned Oscar nominations for their work.