Banned for over a decade for its outspoken criticism of the post-WWII communist regime in Hungary, Péter Bacsó's 'The Witness' has since then achieved unparalleled cult status in its native... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Ferenc Kállai ...
Pelikán József, gátõr
Lajos Öze ...
Virág Árpád (as Õze Lajos)
Béla Both ...
Bástya elvtárs
...
Dániel Zoltán
Lili Monori ...
Gizi
Károly Bicskey ...
Gulyás Elemér
György Kézdy ...
Virág testõre
József Horváth ...
Vasutas
Róbert Rátonyi ...
Operettszínész
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
György Bálint
Pál Bánó ...
Bíró
Mária Dudás ...
Gépírónõ
Tibor Fehér ...
Börtönõr
György Györffy ...
Börtönigazgató
József Iványi ...
Rendõr
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Storyline

Banned for over a decade for its outspoken criticism of the post-WWII communist regime in Hungary, Péter Bacsó's 'The Witness' has since then achieved unparalleled cult status in its native land. Known as the best satire about communism, 'The Witness' has become a cult classic, which was also well received by critics and general audiences alike when it was finally released outside of Hungary. Its candid and realistic portrayal of the incompetent communist regime has earned great acclaim for both the director and the film itself when it was shown at Cannes Film Festival in 1981. 'The Witness' takes place during the height of the Rákosi Era, which was closely modeled after the ruthless and brutal Stalin regime. The film follows the life of an ordinary dike keeper, József Pelikán, who has been caught for illegally slaughtering his pig, Dezsõ. Instead of doing hard time for his "heinous" crime, Pelikán is elevated into an important position, generally reserved for the communist elite. Of ... Written by Zoltan Furedi

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

hungary | comrade | dike | pig | satire | See All (42) »

Genres:

Drama | Comedy

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

18 June 1982 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Avaintodistaja  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Several quotes from the movie, especially the ones "the international situation is intensifying" and "life is not a whipped-cream cake" have become part of everyday speech in Hungary. See more »

Quotes

Virág Árpád: The international situation is intensifying. We've caught up with the latest group of inner parasites.
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Connections

Referenced in Ereszd el a szakállamat! (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Jaj, cica
Music by Emmerich Kálmán
Lyrics by Leo Stein and Béla Jenbach
Performed by Róbert Rátonyi
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Well, comrade Pelikan, life is not all beer and skittles.." (8/10)
13 August 2003 | by (Hungary) – See all my reviews

As being a Hungarian myself, I might have a soft spot for this film, but I find it extremely funny anyway.

However, I feel I should add some background to those who never lived in a totalitarian personality cult. An era where the best was to keep your mouth shut even among your best friends, for you could not be sure who will report on you. In an era where a big black car might have stopped at your house in the middle of the night to take you and never let you go again. In an era where when deciding about executives, it was your loyalty that mattered not your skill or know-how. Where everyone stated the lemon to be an orange, if it was the dictum of the leaders. Where not clapping hard enough when "our leader" Rakosi addressed the crowd was enough for imprisonment.

All the events described in this film might seem absurd - but I have to say they easily could have and did happen during the '50s in the East of Europe.

Although the regime softened a bit, in 1969 making this film was still not the safest thing to. Not surprisingly it wasn't aired for almost a decade. But since then, it became a cult film by any means. Lines like "Well, comrade Pelikan, life is not all beer and skittles.." are known and quoted by everyone. Yes, laughing at them is mortal to any dictatures...


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