There are at least three different versions of Brazil. The original 142 minutes European release, a shorter 132-minutes prepared by Gilliam for the American release and another different version, nicknamed the Sheinberg Edit or 'Love Conquers All' version, from Universal's then boss Sid Sheinberg, against whom Terry Gilliam had to fight to have his version released.
The European version contains a few changes from the American release:
- Shortly before the troops storm Mrs. Buttle's home, her daughter says to her "Father Christmas cant come if you haven't got a chimney." Mrs. Buttle replies with "You'll see."
- A brief scene involving Sam and his mother Ida entering the restaurant where they meet Mrs. Terrain and Shirley. They have to pass through a metal detector in order to gain entrance, and Ida's present to Sam (one of the "Executive Decision Makers", seen later in the movie) sets off the alarm.
- Part of the beginning of the first "Samurai" dream sequence, where Sam explores through the concrete labyrinth he finds himself in. In the European release, the Samurai sequence is one long sequence, whereas in the American version is is divided into three separate sequences.
- A scene where Sam and Jill lie in bed after the implied consummation of their relationship. Jill has taken off the wig she was wearing in the scene before, and has a pink bow tied around her naked body. She says to Sam: "Something for an executive?" and he unties her.
- The "Interrogation" scene, where Sam is charged with all of the violations of the law he committed throughout the film, including "wasting Ministry time and paper."
- The "Father Christmas" scene where Helpmann visits Sam after his booking, Helpmann is dressed as Santa Claus. Among other things, Helpmann informs Sam that Jill Layton has been killed... twice.
- The European release begins abruptly with the 'Central Services' advert about ducts, and ends with a held shot of Lowry in the cooling tower. No clouds.
- When Sam goes back to the MOI building after taking Jill to his mother's apartment, action between his conversation with Dawson in the lobby and his walk down the stairs is missing, so we don't see his mode of action and we miss a revealing near-encounter with Harvey Lime.
The Criterion LaserDisc and DVD version contains both the Sheinberg/TV/"love conquers all" version and what Terry Gilliam believes to be the "final director's cut" (142 minutes). The Universal "bare-bones" DVD contains only the longer version (though it is misidentified on the DVD cover as the American cut)."
The American release has a few scenes that are not present in the European one.
- There are clouds that open and close the film in the American Release. Some of the footage of these clouds was extraneous footage from The NeverEnding Story (1984).
- After watching Mrs. Lowry's first plastic surgery treatment, Sam exclaims "My god, it works!"
- Jack says "You look like you've seen a ghost, Sam..." to Sam at the entrance of the Ministry of Records when Sam sees Jill Layton.
The Sid Sheinberg Edit, never released but prepared for syndicated television, makes many significant changes. Several lines of dialogue were changed, using many alternative and unused shots. The movie was edited down to 94 minutes, removing many major scenes, placing more emphasis on Tuttle's character and Sam's relationship with Jill.
- The opening Central Services advertisement for ducts stops just before the shop window explodes. It then cuts straight to the restaurant explosion scene, with none of the dialogue leading up to it, beginning only with Shirley offering Sam the salt and the following explosion. The title "Brazil" then appears and the scene ends.
- During the prologue in which the fly falls in the typewriter, the scene cuts back and forth to text on a computer screen explaining the plot premise, including a voice over reading it aloud.
- All the fantasy sequences are missing, except the scene of Sam flying through clouds - which is shortened and has a glowing effect applied to indicate it is a dream.
- Extended dialogue in the scenes where Sam meets Jack at Information Retrieval, before he is distracted by Jill on the TV screens. The screens change to show Jill as she appears in Sam's dreams.
- It is never stated that Mr Buttle is dead, only asked by his wife.
- When Sam goes to visit Mrs Buttle at Shangri-La Towers, instead of morosely screaming "What have you done with his body?" she begins hitting Sam with paper with the line "Lousy bastard" dubbed over.
- Lots of the swearing was dubbed over with tamer dialogue, often very badly. Several of Sam's swears are replaced with "Judas!".
- Alternative dialogue in the scene in Jack's office. In this version, Sam puts on the suit earlier before having a conversation with Jack about Tuttle, and Jack's daughter is never shown on screen.
- A cut of Casablanca featuring the line "Here's lookin' at you, kid." Right after Sam leaves Kurtzmann's office.
- Extended dialogue between Jill and Sam in the truck.
- You don't see the guard on fire when the Police vehicle crashes after the truck chase.
- When armed guards manhandle Jill after the apartment store explosion, Sam simply picks up a plastic arm from a shop dummy and prepares to fight. The giant samurai warrior is not seen at all in this version.
- Extended, more romantic dialogue between Sam and Jill after Tuttle switches the pipes at Sam's flat. Jill explains to Sam that she "looked him up" to find out where he lived.
- After Sam is arrested, it cuts straight to the torture chamber scene, as in the US theatrical cut. However, Jack's mask is never explicitly shown and a different, close-up shot is used when Jack confronts Sam in the chair.
- After the ministry building is blown up, a 'deleted' form ordering the arrest of Harry Tuttle is shown on screen. The following scene of Tuttle being attacked by paper is then taken out of context, implying the Ministry is eliminating him using supernatural powers (it is not revealed to be a dream in this version).
- After Tuttle's disappearance, it cuts immediately to Sam and Jill driving in the truck, with no explanation for how they escaped arrest. There is then a sequence set in the countryside showing Jill on a farm. Sam is shown asleep in bed (re-using a shot from earlier the film). The camera zooms to show a picture on the wall of a winged Sam, before cutting to a dream shot of Sam carrying Jill and flying up into the clouds.
- The credits are displayed on a background of clouds. However, the image of Sam sitting in the torture chair is still visible superimposed over it, as seen in the US theatrical cut.