Evita is a 1996 American musical drama film based on the 1976 concept album of the same name produced by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, which also inspired a 1978 musical. The film depicts the life of Eva Perón, detailing her beginnings, rise to fame, political career and death at the age of 33. Directed by Alan Parker, and written by Parker and Oliver Stone, Evita stars Madonna as Eva, Jonathan Pryce as Eva's husband Juan Perón, and Antonio Banderas as Ché, an everyman who acts as the film's narrator.
Following the release of the 1976 album, a film adaptation of the musical became mired in development hell for more than fifteen years, as the rights were passed on to several major studios, and various directors and actors considered. In 1993, producer Robert Stigwoodsold the rights to Andrew G. Vajna, who agreed to finance the film through his production company Cinergi Pictures, with the Walt Disney Studios distributing the film through Hollywood Pictures. After Stone stepped down from the project in 1994, Parker agreed to write and direct the film. Recording sessions for the songs and soundtrack took place at CTS Studios in London, England, roughly four months before filming. Parker worked with Rice and Lloyd Webber to compose the soundtrack, reworking the original songs by creating the music first and then the lyrics. They also wrote a new song, "You Must Love Me", for the film. Principal photography commenced in February 1996 with a budget of $55 million, and concluded in May of that year. Filming took place on locations in Buenos Aires andBudapest, and on soundstages at Shepperton Studios. The film's production in Argentina was met with controversy, as the cast and crew faced protests over fears that the project would tarnish Eva's image.
Evita premiered at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, on December 14, 1996. Hollywood Pictures gave the film a platform release, which involved releasing it in select cities before expanding distribution in the following weeks. The film had a limited release on December 25, 1996, before opening nationwide on January 10, 1997. It grossed over $141 million worldwide. The film received a mixed critical response; reviewers praised Madonna's performance, the music, costume designs and cinematography, while criticism was aimed at the pacing and direction. Evita received many awards and nominations, including the Academy Award for Best Original Song ("You Must Love Me"), and three Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture – Comedy or Musical, Best Original Song ("You Must Love Me") andBest Actress – Comedy or Musical (Madonna).
In a cinema in Buenos Aires on July 26, 1952, a film is interrupted when news breaks of the death of Eva Perón, Argentina's First Lady, at the age of 33. As the nation goes into public mourning, Ché, a member of the public, marvels at the spectacle and promises to show how Eva did "nothing, for years". The rest of the film follows Eva (born Eva Duarte) from her beginnings as an illegitimate child of a lower-class family to her rise to become First Lady and Spiritual Leader of the Nation of Argentina; Ché assumes many different guises throughout Eva's story.
At the age of 15, Eva lives in the provincial town of Junín, and longs for a better life in Buenos Aires. She persuades a tango singer, Agustín Magaldi, with whom she is having an affair, to take her to the city. After Magaldi leaves her, she goes through several relationships with increasingly influential men, becoming a model, actress and radio personality. She meets Colonel Juan Perón at a fundraiser following the 1944 San Juan earthquake. Perón's connection with Eva adds to his populist image, since they are both from the working class. Eva has a radio show during Perón's rise and uses all of her skills to promote him, even when the controlling administration has him jailed in an attempt to stunt his political momentum. The groundswell of support that Eva generates forces the government to release Perón, and he finds the people enamored of him and Eva. Perón wins election to the presidency and marries Eva, who promises that the new government will serve the descamisados.
At the start of the Perón government, Eva dresses glamorously, enjoying the privileges of being the First Lady. Soon after, she embarks on what is called her "Rainbow Tour" to Europe. While there, she receives a mixed reception. The people of Spain adore her, the people of Italy call her a whore and throw things at her, and Pope Pius XII gives her a small, meager gift. Upon returning to Argentina, Eva establishes a foundation and distributes aid. The film suggests the Perónists otherwise plunder the public treasury.
Eva is hospitalized and learns that she has cancer. She declines the position of Vice President due to her failing health, and makes one final broadcast to the people of Argentina. She understands that her life was short because she shone like the "brightest fire", and helps Perón prepare to go on without her. A large crowd surrounds the Casa Rosada in a candlelight vigil praying for her recovery when the light of her room goes out, signifying her death. At Eva's funeral, Ché is seen at her coffin, marveling at the influence of her brief life. He walks up to her glass coffin, kisses it, and joins the crowd of passing mourners.
- Madonna as Eva Perón
- Antonio Banderas as Ché
- Jonathan Pryce as Juan Perón
- Jimmy Nail as Agustín Magaldi
- Victoria Sus as Dona Juana Ibarguren
- Julian Littman as Juancito Duarte
- Olga Merediz as Bianca Duarte
- Laura Pallas as Elisa Duarte
- Julia Worsley as Erminda Duarte
- Peter Polycarpou as Domingo Mercante
- Gary Brooker as Juan Atilio Bramuglia
- Andrea Corr as Juan's mistress
- Alan Parker as Tormented film director