MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 528 this week

Shoot the Pianist (1960)
"Tirez sur le pianiste" (original title)

 -  Crime | Drama | Thriller  -  23 July 1962 (USA)
7.7
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 10,069 users  
Reviews: 52 user | 60 critic

Charlie Kohler is a piano player in a bar. The waitress Lena is in love with him. One of Charlie's brother, Chico, a crook, takes refuge in the bar because he is chased by two gangsters, ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (adaptation), 2 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 35 titles
created 04 Apr 2011
 
a list of 36 titles
created 11 Apr 2011
 
a list of 23 titles
created 29 Dec 2012
 
a list of 23 titles
created 11 months ago
 
a list of 49 titles
created 9 months ago
 

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Shoot the Pianist (1960)

Shoot the Pianist (1960) on IMDb 7.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Shoot the Pianist.

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Badlands (1973)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An impressionable teen girl from a dead-end town and her older greaser boyfriend go on a killing spree in the South Dakota badlands.

Director: Terrence Malick
Stars: Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek, Warren Oates
Fireworks (1997)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A police officer leaves the force in the face of harrowing personal and professional difficulties. Spiraling into a depression he makes questionable decisions.

Director: Takeshi Kitano
Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Kayoko Kishimoto, Ren Ohsugi
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A military deserter finds love and trouble (and a small dog) in a smoky French port city.

Director: Marcel Carné
Stars: Jean Gabin, Michel Simon, Michèle Morgan
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Convicted felon Nikita, instead of going to jail, is given a new identity and trained, stylishly, as a top secret spy/assassin.

Director: Luc Besson
Stars: Anne Parillaud, Marc Duret, Patrick Fontana
Daybreak (1939)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

After committing a murder, a man locks himself in his apartment and recollects the events the led him to the killing.

Director: Marcel Carné
Stars: Jean Gabin, Jacqueline Laurent, Arletty
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Abel Davis is a criminal, hunted in Italy. The police are closing in, so he and his pal Raymond arrange to flee back to France with Abel's wife, Thérèse, and their two young sons. Abel and ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Sautet
Stars: Lino Ventura, Sandra Milo, Jean-Paul Belmondo
Mona Lisa (1986)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

George, after getting out of prison, begins looking for a job, but his time in prison has reduced his stature in the criminal underworld. The only job he can find is to be a driver for ... See full summary »

Director: Neil Jordan
Stars: Bob Hoskins, Cathy Tyson, Michael Caine
Revanche (2008)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Ex-con Alex plans to flee to the South with his girl after a robbery. But something terrible happens and revenge seems inevitable.

Director: Götz Spielmann
Stars: Johannes Krisch, Irina Potapenko, Andreas Lust
Breathless (1960)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A young car thief kills a policeman and tries to persuade a girl to hide in Italy with him.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The tale of two brothers with serious financial woes. When a third party proposes they turn to crime, things go bad and the two become enemies.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Colin Farrell, Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An obese, embittered nurse doesn't mind if her toupee-wearing boyfriend romances and fleeces other women, as long as he takes her along on his con jobs.

Directors: Leonard Kastle, Donald Volkman
Stars: Shirley Stoler, Tony Lo Bianco, Mary Jane Higby
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A debonair, adventuresome bank executive believes he has pulled off the perfect multi-million dollar heist, only to match wits with a sexy insurance investigator who will do anything to get her man.

Director: Norman Jewison
Stars: Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, Paul Burke
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Marie Dubois ...
Léna
Nicole Berger ...
Thérèse Saroyan
Michèle Mercier ...
Clarisse
Serge Davri ...
Plyne
Claude Mansard ...
Momo
Richard Kanayan ...
Fido Saroyan (as Le jeune Richard Kanayan)
Albert Rémy ...
Chico Saroyan
Jean-Jacques Aslanian ...
Richard Saroyan
Daniel Boulanger ...
Ernest
Claude Heymann ...
Lars Schmeel
Alex Joffé ...
Passerby
Boby Lapointe ...
Le chanteur
Catherine Lutz ...
Mammy
Edit

Storyline

Charlie Kohler is a piano player in a bar. The waitress Lena is in love with him. One of Charlie's brother, Chico, a crook, takes refuge in the bar because he is chased by two gangsters, Momo and Ernest. We will discover that Charlie's real name is Edouard Saroyan, once a virtuose who gives up after his wife's suicide. Charlie now has to deal wih Chico, Ernest, Momo, Fido (his youngest brother who lives with him), and Lena... Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

brother | gangster | bar | suicide | pianist | See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 July 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tirez sur le pianiste  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(1963)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Dyaliscope)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was released in France under the title, "Ne tirez pas sur le pianiste" ("Don't Shoot the Piano Player"), or the exact opposite of the title in the United States. See more »

Goofs

When Lena and Charlie walk home after work you can see the shadow of the camera on their coats. See more »

Quotes

Momo: My pop used to say, "If someone knocks, assume it's a murderer. If it's just a robber, you'll be happy."
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Truth About Charlie (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Dialogue d'Amoureux
Written by Félix Leclerc
Performed by Félix Leclerc and Lucienne Vernay
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Classic, inspired film-making
30 July 2007 | by (Spain) – See all my reviews

Francois Truffaut was a film critic for the magazine Cahiers du cinéma. He was disenchanted with what he saw as a lack of originality and honesty in contemporary cinema. He developed the theory of the auteur in cinema - an idiosyncratic force such as his hero Hitchcock rather than a 'civil servant of the cinema'.

His motivation for entering the cinema was to make films which he, and others like him, wanted to see and which then didn't exist. Cinema with breadth and imagination, which took risks and broke rules. The zest and vitality of his vision is still evident so many years on.

After his impeccable full -length debut, Les Quatre Cents Coups (aka The 400 Blows), which was a slice of life / coming of age tale, Truffaut took a completely different subject matter for this second feature. The source novel is 'Down There', typical US pulp fiction by the little known David Goodis. Its a tale of crime set in seedy locations with a graceless linear plot. Obviously its the way the filmmakers use this source that makes Tirez Sur Le Pianiste the film it is.

Charles Aznavour, a mainstream celebrity in France, is the bizarre but perfect choice for the lead role of Charlie Kohler. His passive, indifferent demeanour makes him an anti-hero of a different kind to Cagney or Brando - one who is ineffective in either solving or preventing crime. This minor cinematic tradition I see as continuing with John Klute in Klute (1971), Marlowe in The Long Goodbye (1973), reaching its comical apex with The Dude in The Big Lebowski (1998).

Not, in fact, that Charlie has to solve any crimes. He is simply out to save his skin - and those of his brothers. His life is in danger throughout the film yet he is more preoccupied with whether or not he should take the arm of the attractive waitress Lena (Marie Dubois) from the dive where he plays the piano, as he walks her home in a scene that is a perfect marriage of its imagery and internal monologue. It is this kind of juxtaposition of themes (threat to life and romantic shyness) which makes this film such compelling and unpredictable viewing.

The film opens with a charming conversation about the secrets of a happy marriage, spoken by a character we never see again who simply runs into Charlie's brother Chico (Albert Rémy) - who is the catalyst for the 'plot'. The throwaway conversations are really more important to the creative spirit of the film than any of the plot's major concerns. This trend continues with the characters of Ernest and Momo, the pursuing heavies. Though evidently dangerous men, they speak tangentially on a range of subjects (mostly women, though) which cannot help but remind a modern audience of Tarantino's hit men in Pulp Fiction. Indeed much of what I said about Truffaut - how he was compelled to make rule-changing cinema that he and others wanted to see

  • could of course equally be applied to Tarantino.


The centrepiece of the film goes back to Charlie' past where he was a classical concert pianist. This beautiful vignette explains to us why Charlie is in the pits now. Nicole Berger as Thérèse Saroyan, Charlie's wife absolutely owns this part of the film. This section also features the celebrated and beautiful sequence where the camera chooses to follow a female violinist from the door of an apartment and out into the courtyard. Why? Just for the sake of artistic freedom, it seems.

As well as Aznavour and Berger, the casting is uniformly perfect. Claude Mansard and Daniel Boulanger as the waffling heavies, Marie Dubois as the sweet, maternal young waitress Léna, Michèle Mercier as a tart with a heart with a body to die for (bringing the total of female 'leads' to three!), Serge Davri and Catherine Lutz as Charlie's antagonistic and ultimately tragic employers. The obscure threesome (the latter two brothers have their only major film roles here) of Albert Rémy, Jean-Jacques Aslanian and the young Richard Kanayan are brilliantly effective as Charlie's brothers, all of whom display varying degrees of the criminal element - the 'curse' of Charlie and his family. Early on in the film there is also a terrifically amusing song (complete with karaoke-style lyrics) performed by Boby Lapointe, a real-life Parisian entertainer.

For all its wealth of ideas, though, this is generally not a pacey movie. Its pace is as laidback as Charlie himself at times. But with patience this will reward the audience with all kinds of unexpected delights.


16 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Someone post something!!!!! What a damn good film!!! briankmello27
impact on later directors kthelonius
Major themes isadork
Torrent? zeke_5000
The soundtrack? brett-shell
Third Man homage? BillyFisher
Discuss Shoot the Pianist (1960) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?