In a highly structured and bureaucratic state, the government has installed extreme and highly counterproductive measures for which to track down terrorists. A "bug" in the system mixes up the last name of a terrorist (Tuttle) and an innocent man (ironically enough Buttle). Thus, the wrong man (Buttle) is arrested and killed while Tuttle continues to roam free. Sam Lowry, an average man with a mother who "knows people", is assigned to investigate the error. At the same time, Jill layton, Buttle's neighbor, is trying to report the mistake to authorities. Due to the extremely inefficient bureaucracy, she finds the process to be very tedious. Meanwhile, Sam Lowry, who has been dreaming about Jill, gets sidetracked by his fantasies and ends up also being a victim of the counter productivity of the government.
Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond and Ian Holm.