Water for Elephants (2011)

 ●  English ● 2 hrs 0 mins

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After his parents' death, Jacob Jankowski is left penniless and homeless. Events lead him to joining the circus as their vet, working under their unstable boss August whose violent tendencies give everyone reason to be cautious around him, including his beautiful and quiet wife Marlena, whom August is very possessive of and who Jacob finds himself soon falling in love with.
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Christoph Waltz, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson

Crew: Francis Lawrence (Director), Rodrigo Prieto (Director of Photography), James Newton Howard (Music Director)

Rating: U/A (India)

Genres: Drama, Romance

Release Dates: 22 Apr 2011 (India)

Tagline: Life is the most spectacular show on earth.

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Did you know? Scarlett Johansson turned down the role of Marlena. Read More
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Screenplay Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography


Music Director


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Casting Director

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Colour Info:
Sound Mix:
Datasat Digital Sound, Dolby Digital, Sony Dynamic Digital Sound
Frame Rate:
24 fps
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Life is the most spectacular show on earth.
When August hits Marlena, her diamond necklace disappears and reappears throughout the scene.

The night Jacob and Marlena run away, when Marlena rushes in Jacob's compartment, she wears a black satin robe over her dress which can also be seen when they are standing over the edge of the train ready to jump. However, when they jump and start walking away from the trails, Marlena wears only her dress. The satin robe reappears when they get in the hotel room.

After the altercation at the hotel, the bruises on Jacob's face keep changing between scenes.

As Jacob shakes Earl's hand, when he is about to meet August for the first time, the powder on Jacob's shoulders is gone.

While in the speakeasy August leaves the table that he, Marlena and Jacob are sitting at. Marlena is smoking a fairly short cigarette. In the next scene, the cigarette is noticeably longer.

After their first dinner together, August is very drunk and Marlena carries him in their bedroom. When she comes out again, where Jacob is sitting, she pulls the drapes together, but doesn't close them completely - there is a significant gap between them. However, when Jacob leaves after Marlena has asked him to, the drapes are completely closed.

When Marlena first appears with her horses and Silver Star before the performance, the horses wear halters. However, in the circus ring when she is working them at liberty, they don't have halters on. Cut to Marlena as she takes her bow, the line of horses rear behind her and all have on halters again.

Factual Mistake
August incorrectly states that Jacob is an Ivy League grad. The movie which if follows the book takes place during 1931. Although the term "Ivy Colleges" was in use early 1930's, "Ivy League" wasn't first used until the Christian Science Monitor published an article using it on February 7, 1935. The "Ivy League" wasn't officially established until 1954.

Revealing Mistakes
Rex the lion is supposed to be without teeth, but in many shots can be seen with all of his teeth intact.
Sara Gruen wrote the novel 'Water for Elephants' as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

Hal Holbrook had been recently widowed of his wife in real life when he filmed his scenes.

Channing Tatum, Kyle Gallner, Anthony Fitzgerald, Andrew Garfield and Emile Hirsch all auditioned for the role of Jacob Jankowski.

Sean Penn was cast but dropped out and was replaced by Christoph Waltz.

Scarlett Johansson turned down the role of Marlena.

In a deleted scene of Vanity Fair (2004), Reese Witherspoon plays Robert Pattinson's mother. In Water for Elephants (2011), they play lovers.

Both Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson have starred in different movies titled Twilight; Witherspoon's being in 1998 and Pattinson's being in 2008.

The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2009 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year.

The spike and chain is a method used to condition young elephants. Shackled to a short chain with the spike driven into the ground, the young elephant struggles until it breaks the skin around its shackled leg. That painful memory is used to control the full grown elephant, even though it could easily pull out the spike as an adult. Rosie accepts Jacob by giving him the spike and ultimately kills August with the same.