The Boys from Brazil

Movie made: 1978 | Set in: 1978

Summary Table
Event Likelihood Time frame
Human cloning high at any time

Approach to the future

Scenario exploration


Futurism: 6

Entertainment: 7

Plausibility: 7

Interesting depictions

Human cloning:
The Boys from Brazil takes human cloning seriously, acknowledging that all it creates is a baby with a familiar appearance and various inclinations.

To create new Hitlers, the Nazi survivors embark on a massive effort, cloning 94 embryos from the German dictator’s cells and bringing them to term in volunteers. The babies, they hope, will have Hitler’s nature, and they set out to supply the nurture.

They distribute the babies to families similar to Hitler’s. To recreate Hitler’s upbringing, Mengele orders the 94 fathers to be killed, so that the little proto-Hitlers will become fatherless at the same time as their progenitor.

The Nazis are doing what they can to reproduce the environment that shaped Hitler, but their efforts are probably futile without exposing the Hitlers to trench warfare, poison gas, and economic collapse. With slight changes to German history, the real Hitler might have died unnoticed in Munich in 1965, after a quiet career as a commercial illustrator.

Crippled victims of Mengele’s experiments wander his outpost, suggesting what a ruthless regime might do with biotechnology. (Nazi Germany and militarist Japan carried out horrific experiments on prisoners, but lacked the science to go much beyond butchery.)

The ethical problems of experimenting will be one of the primary obstacles to genetically changing humans, but a vicious government or fanatic group might set aside such qualms.

Other technologies/topics depicted


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The futures depicted in the movies