- Cast: Vincent Gallo, Maribel Verdú, Alden Ehrenreich, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Carmen Maura, Rodrigo De la Serna, Leticia Brédice, Mike Amigorena, Sofía Castiglione, Francesca De Sapio, Adriana Mastrángelo, Silvia Pérez, Erica Rivas
- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Writer: Francis Ford Coppola
- Producer: Francis Ford Coppola
- Associate Producer: Masa Tsuyuki
- Executive Producers: Anahid Nazarian, Fred Roos
- Costume Design: Cecilia Monti
- D.O.P.: Mihai Malaimare Jr.
- Editor: Walter Murch
- Makeup: Beata Wojtowicz
- Music: Osvaldo Golijov
- Production Design: Sebastián Orgambide
- Set Decoration: Paulina López Meyer
Fresh faced and naive, 17-year-old Bennie arrives in Buenos Aires to search for his older brother who has been missing for more than a decade. The family had emigrated from Italy to Argentina, but with the great musical success of their father Carlo, an acclaimed symphony conductor, the family moved from Argentina to New York.
When Bennie finds his brother, the volatile and melancholy poet Tetro, he is not at all what he expected. In the course of staying with Tetro and his girlfriend Miranda, the two brothers grapple with the haunting experiences of their shared past.
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Filming Locations: Buenos Aires, Argentina; Valenciana, Spain
- Production Budget: $15 million
- Production Companies: American Zoetrope, BIM Distribuzione, Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales, Tornasol Films, Zoetrope Argentina
- Production Schedule: 31 March 2008 - May 2008
In September 2007, thieves broke into Francis Ford Coppola's home studio in Buenos Aires and stole all the electronics, including his computer with the film's script.
Originally, the tutor Alone was going to be played by Javier Bardem, but upon revising the script Francis Ford Coppola decided the relationship between Alone and Tetro would be more appealing if it was between a man and a woman, so Alone became a woman played by Carmen Maura.
Francis Ford Coppola wanted Matt Dillon in the title role, but Dillon was unavailable due to conflicting schedules with other films. Later, Coppola realized it would be too close to Rumble Fish (1983) (which also starred Dillon), so after a long search he settled on Vincent Gallo for the title role.
Adriana Mastrangelo, an Uruguayan opera singer who settled in Buenos Aires, has a cameo as herself as the singer at a party.
Francis Ford Coppola decided to shoot this film the same way he shot Rumble Fish (1983) (in black-and-white, with occasional bursts of colour), since both films held "a spiritual connection" with each other (both are dramas about relationships, primarily that of brotherhood).
To attain the film's visual style, director Francis Ford Coppola and cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr. watched La notte (1961), Baby Doll (1956) and On the Waterfront (1954); films Coppola had admired during his student years.
According to Mihai Malaimare Jr., the flashback scenes were filmed in colour, but treated to give a slightly faded texture: "Usually, when we think about the past, we think about photos and home movies, so it's nice to preserve that feeling even if there wasn't someone shooting there..."
According to Francis Ford Coppola, the film was shot on widescreen to evoke the films of Akira Kurosawa.
The flashback scenes were originally to be shot using 16mm film to truly emphasize past events, but since this type of film/camera was almost out of date the whole film was shot with a digital camera and the flashbacks had to be digitally treated.
A scene where Tetro holds a bouquet of flowers pays tribute to On the Waterfront (1954), where Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) does the same thing.
Francis Ford Coppola was attracted to Argentina as a location to set the film/story: "I knew Argentina has a great cultural/artistic/literary/musical/cinema tradition, and I like those kinds of atmospheres very much because you usually find creative people to work with."
According to Francis Ford Coppola in an interview with Empire magazine, this is what he considers to be "the most beautiful film [he's] ever made", and a very "personal" project.