A Nazi hunter in Paraguay discovers a sinister and bizarre plot to rekindle the Third Reich.
The Boys from Brazil is a 1978 British-American thriller film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner. It stars Gregory Peck and Laurence Olivier, and features James Mason, Lilli Palmer, Uta Hagen, Anne Meara, Denholm Elliott, and Steve Guttenberg in supporting roles. The film is based on the 1976 novel of the same title by Ira Levin, and was nominated for three Academy Awards.
Although the bulk of the film is set in South America, Fryer says actually filming in that continent was “logistically impossible” so the decision was made to shoot it in Lisbon, Portugal.
A brief end segment with Bobby Wheelock in a darkroom was restored to some versions in later years. In this alternative ending, after Lieberman burns the list in his hospital bed, the scene transitions to Bobby in a darkroom developing photographs of Lieberman and Mengele, with a piercing glare coming from his steely-blue eyes as he focuses on Mengele’s jaguar claw bracelet before fading to the end credits.
Lew Grade, who partly financed the film, was not happy with the final result, feeling that the ending was too gory. He says he protested but Franklin J. Schaffner, who had final cut rights, overruled him.
Young, well-intentioned Barry Kohler (Steve Guttenberg) stumbles upon a secret organization of Third Reich war criminals holding clandestine meetings in Paraguay and finds that Dr. Josef Mengele (Gregory Peck), the infamous Auschwitz doctor, is with them. He phones Ezra Lieberman (Laurence Olivier), an aging Nazi hunter living in Vienna, Austria, with this information. A highly skeptical Lieberman tries to brush Kohler’s claims aside, telling him that it is well known that Mengele is living in Paraguay.
Having learned when and where the next meeting to include Mengele is scheduled to occur, Kohler records part of it using a hidden microphone, but is discovered and killed while making another phone call to Lieberman. Before the phone is hung up with Lieberman on the other end, he hears the recorded voice of Mengele ordering a group of ex-Nazis to kill 94 men in nine different countries. These 94 men targeted for assassination by Mengele consist of 16 men in West Germany, 14 men in Sweden, 13 men in the United Kingdom, 12 men in the United States, 10 men in Norway, 9 men in Austria, 8 men in the Netherlands, 6 men in Denmark, and 6 men in Canada.