Evita is a 1996 musical drama film of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical of the same name based on the life of Eva Perón. It was directed by Alan Parker and written by Parker and Oliver Stone. It starred Madonna, Antonio Banderas, and Jonathan Pryce. The film was released on December 25, 1996 by Hollywood Pictures and Cinergi Pictures.


Evita traces the life of Eva Duarte (later Eva Duarte de Perón) (Madonna) from a child from the lower class to becoming the first lady and spiritual leader of Argentina.

Eva's death is announced in a movie theater and a public funeral is held in Buenos Aires. Che (Antonio Banderas), an everyman, narrates the story of Eva's rise to power and later illness and death, appearing in many different guises and serving as Eva's conscience and critic. As a young child, Eva attempts to attend her father's funeral in the town of Junín with her mother and siblings. Despite her father's wife and other family denying her family from entering, Eva pays her last respects to her father.

Years later, Eva decides to leave Junín to seek a better life in Buenos Aires with a tango singer, Agustín Magaldi (Jimmy Nail), with whom she is having an affair. After Magaldi leaves her, she progresses through several relationships with increasingly influential men, becoming a model, actress and radio personality, until her fateful meeting with Colonel Juan Perón (Jonathan Pryce) at a fundraiser. Perón's connection with Eva lends him a populist air, since she is from the working class (as is Perón himself). Eva has a radio show during Perón's rise and uses all her skills to promote Perón, even when the controlling administration has him jailed in an attempt to stunt his political momentum. The groundswell of support 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 Eva promises the new government will serve the "descamisados" (literally, "those without shirts"—i.e., the poor).

At the start of the Perón government, Eva glamors herself up in fur and jewels and enjoys the privileges of being the first lady. Soon after, Eva embarks on the infamous "Rainbow Tour" to Europe. While there she gets mixed receptions from the people; the people of Spain adore her; the people of Italy call her whore and throw things (such as eggs) at her, while the Pope gives her a small, meager gift; and the French, while kind to her were also upset that she was forced to leave early as "she seemed to lose interest, she seemed tired"; (Hinting at the early stages of the sickness that will eventually claim her). Upon returning to Argentina, Eva establishes a foundation and distributes aid while the Perónists otherwise plunder the public treasury. Argentine society is very class-based, and the military officer corps and social elites despise Eva's common roots and affinity for the poor.

However, over time, as Eva's illness begins to worsen, she is hospitalized and told she is terminally ill. Eventually, as her illness progresses, she declines the position of Vice President she was offered and makes one final broadcast to the people of Argentina. Towards the end of her life, 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. Eva's funeral is shown again. Ché is seen at her coffin, laying the blame of her death on Perón. Then he walks up to her glass coffin; kisses it; and walks into the crowd of passing mourners.


  • Madonna as Evita Perón
  • Antonio Banderas as Ché
  • Jonathan Pryce as Juan Perón
  • Jimmy Nail as Agustín Magaldi
  • Peter Polycarpou as Domingo Mercante
  • Gary Brooker as Juan Atilio Bramuglia
  • Olga Merediz as Bianca Duarte
  • Andrea Corr as Juan Perón's mistress



Discussion of the film production began soon after the original production was staged in London in 1978. Several actresses were considered for the role of Eva Perón. At one point, Lloyd Webber favoured an actress of Spanish descent to play the lead role and he suggested Charo. Next, Meryl Streep was offered the role, but the production was delayed, and she could not participate.

Meanwhile, Madonna had been campaigning for the part, but when Parker was ready for filming, several people objected to Madonna's playing the part. When director Ken Russell was attached to the project, he favored Liza Minnelli, who spent some time researching background and locations in Argentina.

Cher, Barbra Streisand, Glenn Close, Olivia Newton-John, and Michelle Pfeiffer were thought to have been involved. Pfeiffer, who recorded a number of demonstration musical tracks, was almost cast for the role, but Parker wanted to shoot the picture on location, not in Pfeiffer's preferred Hollywood sound studio.

Patti LuPone was not offered the opportunity to repeat her Broadway role as Evita. As an actress in her forties she was believed to be too old to play the part of Eva Perón, who died at the age of 33.

When Madonna was announced to play the lead, Patti LuPone was asked to play the role of Eva's mother, but she declined to do so. English singer/actress Billie Piper and Irish singer Andrea Corr had minor parts in the film at what was the start of both their careers.


The music for the film had already been completed in a London recording studio in the fall of 1995. Madonna was paid a salary of $1 million for her role in the project. The cast and crew faced protests in Argentina upon arrival over fears that the project would tarnish Eva Perón's image. Filming began in February 1996 and it finished in May. They filmed in Buenos Aires for five weeks before moving to Budapest for a month. Madonna related to the difficulties in the transition of filming locations; "We went from 100-degree weather in Argentina, the Latin culture, very embracing, warm, passionate, to a country where people are just learning to be expressive without being afraid. Everybody has a sad expression on their face. And it's difficult to work in an environment where there is no joy. It was the toughest experience of my life."


Madonna personally lobbied the President of Argentina at the time, Carlos Menem, for the right to film at the Casa Rosada. Midway through production, Madonna discovered she was pregnant with daughter Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon, who was born on October 14, 1996. She also published a diary of the film shoot in Vanity Fair.

Soundtrack and musical numbers

Evita (soundtrack)

The soundtrack album was released in two versions on November 12, 1996 by Warner Bros. Records; a two-disc edition titled Evita: The Motion Picture Music Soundtrack and a one-disc version containing highlights from the soundtrack titled Evita: Music from the Motion Picture. The double disc edition includes the entire soundtrack to the film:

CD 1

All lyrics are written by Tim Rice, and all music is composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

  1. A Cinema in Buenos Aires, 26 July 1952 - John Mauceri
  2. Requiem for Evita - John Mauceri
  3. Oh What a Circus - Madonna, Antonio Banderas
  4. On This Night of a Thousand Stars - Jimmy Nail
  5. Eva and Magaldi / Eva Beware of the City - Madonna, Jimmy Nail, Antonio Banderas
  6. Buenos Aires - Madonna
  7. Another Suitcase in Another Hall - Madonna
  8. Goodnight and Thank You - Madonna, Antonio Banderas
  9. The Lady's Got Potential - Antonio Banderas
  10. Charity Concert / The Art of the Possible - Jimmy Nail, Jonathan Pryce, Antonio Banderas
  11. I'd Be Surprisingly Good for You - Madonna, Jonathan Pryce
  12. Hello and Goodbye - Madonna, Andrea Corr, Jonathan Pryce
  13. Peron's Latest Flame - Madonna, Antonio Banderas
  14. Dice Are Rolling / A New Argentina - Madonna, Jonathan Pryce
CD 2

All lyrics are written by Tim Rice, and all music is composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

  1. On the Balcony of the Casa Rosada (Part 1) - Jonathan Pryce
  2. Don't Cry for Me Argentina - Madonna
  3. On the Balcony of the Casa Rosada (Part 2) - Madonna
  4. High Flying, Adored - Madonna, Antonio Banderas
  5. Rainbow High - Madonna
  6. Rainbow Tour - Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Pryce, Gary Brooker, Peter Polycarpou
  7. The Actress Hasn't Learned the Lines (You'd Like to Hear) - Madonna, Antonio Banderas
  8. And the Money Kept Rolling In (and Out) - Antonio Banderas
  9. Partido Feminista - Madonna
  10. She Is a Diamond - Jonathan Pryce
  11. Santa Evita - John Mauceri
  12. Waltz for Eva and Che - Madonna, Antonio Banderas
  13. Your Little Body's Slowly Breaking Down - Madonna, Jonathan Pryce
  14. You Must Love Me - Madonna
  15. Eva's Final Broadcast - Madonna
  16. Latin Chant - John Mauceri
  17. Lament - Madonna, Antonio Banderas

Additional note:

  • "Dice are Rolling" comes immediately before "A New Argentina" on the 2-CD edition, hence the longer running time. This is not mentioned in the liner notes.

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards
  • Best Original Song ("You Must Love Me") (Won)
  • Best Art Direction (Nomination)
  • Best Cinematography (Nomination)
  • Best Film Editing (Nomination)
  • Best Sound (Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer and Ken Weston – Nomination)
MTV Movie Awards
  • Best Female Performance – Madonna (Nomination)
Golden Globe Awards
  • Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy (Won)
  • Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Madonna) (Won)
  • Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Nomination)
  • Best Director – Motion Picture (Nomination)
  • Best Original Song ("You Must Love Me") (Won)
BAFTA Awards
  • Best Cinematography (Nomination)
  • Best Costume Design (Nomination)
  • Best Editing (Nomination)
  • Best Makeup and Hair (Nomination)
  • Best Production Design (Nomination)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay (Nomination)
  • Best Sound (Nomination)
  • Best Film Music (Nomination)
Other awards
  • Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award – Best Production Design (Won)
  • Satellite Award – Best Film – Musical or Comedy (Won)
  • Satellite Award – Best Costume Design (Won)
  • Satellite Award – Best Original Song ("You Must Love Me") (Won)
  • Broadcast Film Critics Association Award – Best Picture (Nomination)
  • Satellite Award – Best Art Direction (Nomination)
  • Satellite Award – Best Cinematography (Nomination)


Critical reception

Evita received positive reception from critics; the film currently holds a 63% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was nominated for five Academy Awards and won the award for "Best Original Song" with "You Must Love Me", which Lloyd Webber and Rice re-teamed to write especially for the film after a gap of 20 years. Evita had five Golden Globe nominations and three wins (Best Picture – Comedy or Musical; Best Original Song, "You Must Love Me"; and Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical, Madonna) and was one of the National Board of Review's Top Ten Films of the Year.

Following the success of the film, the government of Argentina released its own film biography of Perón, entitled Eva Perón, to correct alleged distortions in the Lloyd Webber account.

Box office

On a budget of $55 million, Evita opened at #2 with $8.4 million in its wide opening weekend against The Relic. The film made $50,047,179 in the United States and an additional $91 million over-seas making $141,047,179 worldwide.

Home media

The film has no overall worldwide distributor, but was released on VHS, Laserdisc and DVD. Some DVD versions contain special features such as a making-of, the "You Must Love Me" music video, etc. Evita was also one of the first ever films to be released on the DVD format. A Blu-ray 15th Anniversary Edition was released on May 22, 2012 in the US.

World record

The film earned Madonna a Guinness World Record title, "Most costume changes in a film". The record was previously held by Elizabeth Taylor for the 1963 film, Cleopatra (65 costume changes). In Evita, Madonna changed costumes 85 times (which included 39 hats, 45 pairs of shoes, and 56 pairs of earrings).

External links

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