6.7/10
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The Competition (1980)

The movie centers on a piano competition whose winner is assured of success. It is Paul's last chance to compete, but newcomer Heidi may be a better pianist. Can romance be far away? Will ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (story) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Paul Dietrich
...
Heidi Joan Schoonover
...
Greta Vandemann
...
Andrew Erskine
...
Jerry DiSalvo
Ty Henderson ...
Michael Humphries
Vicki Kriegler ...
Tatjana Baronova
Adam Stern ...
Mark Landau
...
Mr. Dietrich
Gloria Stroock ...
Mrs. Dietrich
Bea Silvern ...
Madame Gorshev
...
Brudenell (as James B. Sikking)
Delia Salvi ...
Mrs. DiSalvo
Jimmy Sturtevant ...
Vinnie DiSalvo
Kathy Talbot ...
Denise DiSalvo
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Storyline

The movie centers on a piano competition whose winner is assured of success. It is Paul's last chance to compete, but newcomer Heidi may be a better pianist. Can romance be far away? Will she take a dive despite the pressure to win from her teacher, Greta, or will she condemn Paul to obscurity? Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They broke the cardinal rule of the competition...they fell in love. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Music

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 December 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La competición  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Conducting coach and consultant Leo Arnaud prepared the symphony orchestra which was conducted onscreen by actor Sam Wanamaker. Wanamaker's first appearance on the set prompted several comments on his physical resemblance to composer, conductor, arranger, and pianist Leonard Bernstein. Thereby, said producer William Sackheim, hangs a tale. When he and Joel Oliansky teamed on The Law (1974), an actor was needed to play a flamboyant trial lawyer in the tradition of Melvin Belli and F. Lee Bailey, Sackheim asked the writer-director whom he saw in the role? "Leonard Bernstein" Oliansky replied. "Fine," said the producer, "I'll get him for you". Sackheim recalls that, "at first, Joel thought I was serious. But when he met Sam Wanamaker he knew what I'd meant. Both men not only have similar aquiline features and flowing white hair, but the same great theatrical sense". See more »

Goofs

Greta, a legendary pianist, mentions the "una corda" pedal, but pronounces it "yoo-na kor-da". This is not the proper way and any musician knows it is "oo-na", not "yoo-na". See more »

Quotes

Greta Vandemann: [Referring to the piano] That is your first husband, that, you... you marry it the way a nun marries Jesus. You cleave to it, because it gives your life a center that no man... that very few men can possibly give you, least of all a rival for the thing your life is centered on.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sabrina, the Teenage Witch: The Competition (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Piano Concerto, No. 1
Composed by Johannes Brahms (as Brahms)
Performed by Ralph Grierson, piano
See more »

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User Reviews

A flawed movie with moments of greatness
10 August 2001 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

First the flaws: the extraneous characters of the various competitors are pretty blatant stereotypes, not offensive, but not particularly compelling either. The time spent on them would have been better spent on further development of the relationship between Paul (Richard Dreyfuss) and Heidi (Amy Irving) two pianists facing off in the same competition who fall in love while preparing for it. Secondly, the "contemporary" music...it was released in 1980, but all you hear in bars and at parties is disco music. It makes everything seem a little too quaint and cute to be real.

Moments of greatness: The clashes and arguments that ensue between Paul and Heidi make it obvious why they fall in love, but it happens very quickly. Which is fine in a standard romance, but that isn't what this movie is. These two people are complex individuals with various insecurities and desires that make the love story so great, so interesting and so real. But the ending feels strange...a lot happens before the film's resolution, and leaves me feeling that the characters haven't been explored enough. The movie's shining moment is during the second half of the competition, when Paul has already played and Heidi proceeds to blow him out of the water. Irving's performance onstage is totally convincing, and Dreyfuss conveys an incredible amount of emotion and intelligence simply in his reactions to the piece.

The tension here is incredible, and very, very real. A good movie--one that dares to show its characters in an unglamorous, real way few movies have


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