Nijinsky (1980)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, Music  |  24 September 1980 (France)
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Set in the early 1910s at a time of passionate artistic experimentalism, and based on biographical fact, this is the story of Vaslav Nijinsky, the young and brilliant but headstrong premier... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
George De La Pena ...
Alan Badel ...
Baron de Gunzburg
Carla Fracci ...
Tamara Karsavina
Colin Blakely ...
Ronald Lacey ...
Leon Bakst
Sergei Grigoriev
Mikhail Fokine
Frederick Jaeger ...
Gabriel Astruc
Anton Dolin ...
Maestro Cecchetti
Emilia Marcus
Adolph Bolm
Hetty Baynes ...


Set in the early 1910s at a time of passionate artistic experimentalism, and based on biographical fact, this is the story of Vaslav Nijinsky, the young and brilliant but headstrong premier danseur and aspiring choreographer of the Ballets Russes. The company is managed by the famous Sergei Diaghilev, himself a controlling and fiercely possessive impresario. The increasing tension between these powerful egos, exacerbated by homosexual desire and jealousy, becomes triangular when the young ballerina Romola de Pulsky determinedly attempts to draw the increasingly mentally unstable Nijinsky away from Diaghilev, Written by Eric Wees <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Genius. Madman. Animal. God. Nijinsky. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 September 1980 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Nijinsky - Uma História Real  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Executive producer Harry Saltzman had wanted to make a film about Nijinsky for many years, first attempting to produce a version in 1970 with partner Albert R. Broccoli. The film was started but was never finished, it being canceled by Broccoli and Saltzman. It is known as Nijinsky: Unfinished Project (1970). It starred Rudolf Nureyev, was written by Edward Albee, and directed by Tony Richardson. _Nijinsky_ though had a completely different script and cast. See more »


Referenced in Harry Saltzman: Showman (2000) See more »


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User Reviews

sumptuous ballet film
13 February 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This little-seen film by Herbert Ross chooses to focus on the rise and fall of Vaslav Nijinsky, petulant and superb dancer, and his stormy relationship with his producer-lover, Sergei Diaghilev. This story from with the heart of Ballet Russes has been well-documented before and here we see the descent into madness of a great, if unhinged artist.

George De La Pena plays the title role, and his dancing is a dream. Alan Bates is excellent as Diaghilev, all repressed passion and deep thoughts. The film tries its best to portray this unorthodox relationship with the ballet at its core, but doesn't quite get there - a sign of the times, perhaps? A strength of 'Nijinsky' is the dance sequences which are replicated as they would have originally been performed, right up to the scandalous performance of the Fawn piece. The scenes where the unhappy dancer is confined to an asylum have less power but are as valid as any other sequence in the film.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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