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:

Tears on my boobs, great country-western standards. 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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Richard Dreyfuss and Amy Irving arrive at the auditorium, with its polished stone steps and gleaming glass doors, they are actually at the entrance to the San Francisco Museum of Natural History. Once inside, they are in the Scottish Rites Temple on Wilshire Boulevard, east of Highland Avenue, in downtown Los Angeles, some five hundred miles away. See more »

Goofs

When Heidi and Paul are playing piano together (looking at vs. reading the sheet music), they're obviously not playing the same measure, as he's looking at the left page and she's looking at the right page. It's right before Heidi laughs and points out something, to Paul, about the way it was played before by a certain musician. It revealed the fact that the actors were not real musicians, knowing how to read music. 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

Sonata for Piano
Composed by Alberto Ginastera (as Ginastera)
Performed by Eduardo Delgado, piano
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ambition, disappointment, sacrifice, love, betrayal...
25 March 2001 | by (Indianapolis, IN) – See all my reviews

Ostensibly about the competitiveness between gifted young pianists, this picture is actually about ambition, disappointment, sacrifice, love, betrayal and a lot more. By the time this film was made, Dreyfuss had already fallen into his period of self-adulation during which he exalted himself, but sometimes, sadly, not his work. Amy Irving had not yet married (and divorced) Steven Spielberg, a move that for many reasons probably ended her career in Hollywood. As leads, they both came to their roles in perfect form, and their intelligent and layered performances are the centerpiece of this astounding ensemble cast.

The movie does a great job of convincing us that we are looking through the keyhole into the rarefied world of young pianists who look upon the likes Vladimir Ashkenazy as a peer while still finding themselves as adults. They angst over their futures, which always seem just out of reach, and then render performances of the classical repertoire that amaze and delight. All the while, they trip through the comically serious pas de deux of youthful obsession.

Lee Remick is stunning as the demanding teacher to Heidi Joan Schoonover (Irving). I get the feeling that the original character was supposed to be a lesbian, but Remick's instrument won't play that note. Instead, she is a hard-nosed, totally serious, single-minded taskmaster who demands, and brings forth, the best from her pupil. Dreyfuss is the driven and desperate young man who, while gifted, has never been able to break through as a serious musician, and who, hounded by financial responsibilities and tempted by a job that cannot possibly provide more than a paycheck, runs the risk of being washed up at 25.

They become romantically involved, much to Remick's dismay, only to find themselves competing head to head for the most coveted prize in their field. Can they work it out knowing that only one of them can win? Hey, it's the 80's!

There are basically two kinds of movies. Those in which things happen, and those in which we get to know the characters. This is a shining example of the latter. I've loved this film since its original release, but I still yearn for a DVD edition.


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