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The Competition (1980)

 -  Drama | Romance | Music  -  3 December 1980 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 1,302 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 7 critic

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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Title: The Competition (1980)

The Competition (1980) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Dietrich
Heidi Joan Schoonover
Greta Vandemann
Andrew Erskine
Joseph Cali ...
Jerry DiSalvo
Ty Henderson ...
Michael Humphries
Vicki Kriegler ...
Tatjana Baronova
Adam Stern ...
Mark Landau
Philip Sterling ...
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


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


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


Drama | Romance | Music


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

3 December 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Competition  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The value of prize for "The Competition" was $20,000 plus a debut recital at Carnegie Hall and two years of concert bookings throughout the USA. See more »


The piano fingering is often out of sync with the music, especially during Heidi's performance of Prokofiev's 3rd. See more »


Andrew Erskine: [Heidi's piano needs adjusting and she wants to play a different concerto] Well, maybe I'm not in the mood to conduct the Profofiev Third!
Greta Vandemann: [to Andrew Erskine] Andrew! It costs extra to carve "schmuck" on a tombstone, but you would definitely be worth the expense!
See more »


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


Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major
Composed by Sergei Prokofiev (as Prokofiev)
Performed by Daniel Pollack, piano
See more »

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User Reviews

Great movie for pianists and musicians!
20 March 1999 | by (US) – See all my reviews

Richard Dreyfuss (Mr. Holland's Opus, The Good Bye Girl), plays Paul Dietrich. a very problematic and sometimes annoying pianist. Paul is supported by his parents that puts pressure on him. He is also thirty years old and this is the cutting edge for this type of music competition. This is his last competition. All he wants to do is win, no matter how, and is hurting himself because of it. Amy Irving (Yentl), plays another pianist who is much more relaxed with herself and her music. Her teacher, Greta Vandemann, played by Lee Remick (Anatomy of a Murder) is possessive about Heidi. Greta Vandemann can trace her teachers all the way up to Beethoven himself! Heidi does not have the pressures that Paul has, she does not even care about winning. She stays in this beautiful house in San Francisco where she can practice on her nice piano, and Paul stays in a cheap hotel. He is a walking volcano. He is petulant, arrogant and annoying but at the same time can cry, which shows that he is human, vulnerable and also very afraid. He hides his feelings but it shows in his behavior. There are other musicians: the black guy who likes practicing the piano naked, the Italian who can play only one concerto but he is really looking for a way to become another De Niro, Pacino or Travolta. There is a very young Russian that adds a little suspense to the plot. They are all stereotypes. My favorite scenes are: Paul teaching Heidi how to drive a car; Heidi stopping playing in the middle of her performance because the middle register is uneven; how beautifully she played Prokofiev ‘s 3rd Concert; Paul been astonished because he was unaware that she could really play; Paul telling Greta that must to be a tremendous responsibility in having to know everything. Greta jumping for joy because she is always so proper. That shows another side to her. This is an enjoyable movie especially for pianists and musicians.

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Not her mother! adam-stern
Why'd she pick the bad piano ccguy
Things I learned from 'The Competition' ccguy
How realistic/correct are the details of the competition? ciocio-2
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