here are quite a few similarities between Terry Gilliams film, Brazil, and George Orwells novel, 1984. The protagonists in each story have very similar personalities, thoughts, and actions. Along with the connection between the main characters, the perspective governments in each story are extremely similar and, in general, the plot and overall feel of the stories are similar. While the novel 1984, and the movie Brazil compare greatly, so do they both compare with the film version of 1984, starring John Hurt.
The two movies have a great deal in common; certain scenes seem to be interchangeable between the two films. Part I: The Protagonists The plots of these two stories are extremely comparable, and it is easy to see why. Both tales have a protagonist that doesnt really fit the role of a hero, and each hero ends up failing after it is all said and done. Winston Smith and Sam Lowry are essentially antiheroes who both work for fascist governments, and the paths that these two antiheroes take leads them to similar ends.
In fact, the great similarities between the two plots lead to great similarities between the two heroes. The comparisons between Sam Lowry (Brazil) and Winston Smith (1984) are evident throughout both works. Their lives, in general, are quite similar. Winston Smith lives in a tiny, run-down apartment, as does Sam Lowry. The only difference is that Sam doesnt have Big Brother watching over him, but the level of fascism between the two pieces isnt that different.
Bartz 2 Along with both characters living in pathetic little flats, they both hold boring, middle-management type jobs for their respective governments. Winston Smith works in the Ministry of Truth, which controls the news, and Lowry works at the Ministry of Information in the Department of Records. The Department of Records basically makes sure that all records of any kind are properly filed and taken care of. They both find their jobs monotonous for the most part, but they both love them as well. Winstons greatest pleasure in life was in his work. Most of it was a tedious routine, but included in it there were also jobs so difficult and intricate that you could lose yourself in them as in the depths of a mathematical problem delicate pieces of forgery in which you had nothing to guide you except your knowledge of the principles of Ingsoc and your estimate of what the Party wanted you to say. Winston was good at this kind of thing. (Orwell 39) Just as Winston loves his boring job, so does Sam. As Sams friend says to him, Let a friend tell you that your life is going wrong. Records is a dead-end department. Your security is never worth a damn; its impossible to get noticed, and Sam replies, I know. Wonderful. Marvelous. Perfect. It is obvious that these two men are quite happy when they are at work, and they dont feel the need to be promoted or have too much success. Sam Lowry actually says to his mother that he doesnt have any dreams or aspirations, and he definitely does not feel the need to be promoted to a better job. Another ironic similarity between these two heroes is that they are both employed by governments they end up trying to destroy. While Winston secretly wants to corrupt his government from the beginning of 1984, Sam doesnt desire to go against his
Bartz 3 government until he meets Jill, the girl of his dreams. The reasons behind these two characters attempting to destroy their governments are extremely similar in that a woman propels both of them to act. The main motivation for Winston to continue his secret affair with Julia is because he knows that he is being corrupt and straying from his government. Winston does everything he can to stray from the ideals of Ingsoc, but in sleeping with Julia, he eventually falls in love with her, which happens to be yet another crime. The main reason that he falls in love with Julia is because he loves the corruptness of the whole affair. Winston says to Julia at their first encounter, Listen. The more men youve had, the more I love you. Do you understand that? I hate purity, I hate goodness. I dont want any virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone to be corrupt to the bones (Orwell 104). Sam, on the other hand, doesnt lust for Jill because he wants to break the law; Jill just happens to be the girl of his dreams, literally. Even though Sam has no intention of being fraudulent toward his government, his love for Jill causes him to become so. He ends up breaking several laws just to be with her, and in the end he is tortured to insanity, just like Winston. Eventually, the two couples are caught, and the circumstances under which they are captured are strikingly similar. Both couples are lying in bed after a session of lovemaking, and they are awoken by the sound of people rushing into the room. Winston and Julia are both captured and seen on the infamous telescreen, and they are then both taken to the Ministry of Love where they will be forced to love Ingsoc. Sam and Jill are caught in bed as well, and as Sam is being taken away, their capturers kill Jill. While both Winston and Julia had to endure being tortured in Orwells work, only Sam was tortured in Brazil. Jill was lucky enough to be shot to death before they could torture her.
Bartz 4 The way in which the two men are dealt with by their governments is also quite similar. Winston is caught by deceit and betrayal. The one man he admires and trusts most in the entire world, OBrien, betrays, captures, and tortures him. It is the same in Sams case as well. He isnt captured by betrayal, but he is betrayed by two of his best acquaintances. Sams quasi-friend, Jack, is the man assigned to torture him, and even though the two have known each other for a long time, Jack still goes about his job of probing and cutting Sam. There are two major differences between the two men, and the first is that Sam never betrays Jill, but Winston betrays Julia. While Winston is at the Ministry of Love, he is tortured by the thing that frightens him the most, and while he is being tormented, he begs that they stop. He asks his torturer to perform this act on anybody else, even Julia. In that sentence Winston betrays his love, and that is what drives him insane. Sam, on the other hand, never betrays Jill. Even after he has been caught, he constantly asks about her, and he is always wondering if she is all right. Eventually, Sam learns that Jill was killed during his arrest, but even after he learns of her death, he dreams of being rescued by Tuttle and moving to the countryside with the girl of his dreams. The two men follow similar paths, and they both wind up at similar destinations. The only difference is that Sam has a clear conscience, and Winston has to live with the fact that he betrayed the only love he will ever have. The other major difference between the two men is that Winston knew that he had begun to stray from the convention of his time. Winston Smith, though in his thoughts alone, has begun to deviate. He knows that such deviations, even if they remain forever unspoken, must lead to his death under torture; but he cannot or will not, wholly control
Bartz 5 his thoughts (Strachey 57). Winston has already accepted his path at the beginning of 1984. Sam, on the other hand, walked blindly down his path. He had no intentions of becoming a terrorist against his government, but it turned out that way. In the end, he actually seemed to derive a great deal of pleasure just thinking about destroying his government. Part II: Similarities and Differences in Governments The similarities and differences between the governments in these pieces are quite complicated. Orwell writes a nightmarish story about a purely fascist government whose goal is thought control. The novel represents the horrors of a fascist government so w