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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 shouldn't like each other. Instead, they fall 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:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The concerti heard in the film are carefully selected excerpts; the actual pieces run in the half-hour range to perform in their entirety. See more »

Goofs

Music for piano four-hands, that is two pianists playing at the same piano, is often printed with the two parts on different pages. The "primo" (top) is on the right pages, and the "secondo" (bottom) is on the left pages. So the two players of that Mozart sonata would not be looking at the same place. See more »

Quotes

Paul Dietrich: I don't think it's possible to rehearse two concerti at once, Heidi-Ho!
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Love Theme - The Competition (People Alone)
Music by Lalo Schifrin
Lyrics by Will Jennings
Sung by Randy Crawford
Produced & Arranged by Ed Freeman (uncredited)
Courtesy of MCA Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Romance and rivalry between two classical pianists
12 May 2006 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

It's been quite a few years since I've seen this movie so forget all the details, but remember it more as an engrossing character study than a romance...and all with the added attraction of the classical piano context. The story is set at a prestigious piano competition in San Francisco. Paul is considered an older contestant at age 25. This is his last chance for a prestigious win that will spare him a teaching career and also please the father who is so proud of his son. Heidi is the lovely young newcomer virtuoso who poses his major competition. Winning is much more crucial here to Paul than to Heidi. Not unexpectedly, romantic feelings develop between the two rivals, who must both strive to be at their peak for the competition performances.

The lead roles are well cast with Richard Dreyfuss portraying the talented but desperate musician, Paul, and Amy Irving his gifted & more relaxed competitor, Heidi. I was impressed at the finger synching method used during the piano performances. Though not a musician myself, it seemed convincing to me that these actors were actually playing the pieces. I've remembered all these years that it was a Prokofiev Concerto that Heidi played so brilliantly. Lee Remick is Heidi's teacher, Gretchen, a possessive and demanding taskmaster who naturally does not approve of the budding romance.

The movie is not limited simply to rivals Paul and Heidi, but an assortment of other admittedly rather stereotypical competitors are also featured. This is a drama depicting in general the tension, rivalry, ambition, disappointment & triumph of high stakes competition, whatever the field. Therefore, the themes are something a lot of viewers, even non musicians, can relate to in one way or another. Of course there is a question of potential sacrifice here, as these two competitors have fallen in love. Whatever the chemistry between Paul & Heidi, the romance itself is quite forgettable. The fierce competition rivalry and the backdrop of classical piano are the memorable elements that distinguish this film from all the other love stories out there. This is a must see movie for pianists and indeed all classical music lovers.


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