7.8/10
33,305
109 user 62 critic

Zelig (1983)

"Documentary" about a man who can look and act like whoever he's around, and meets various famous people.

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Patrick Horgan ...
The Narrator (voice)
John Buckwalter ...
Marvin Chatinover ...
Stanley Swerdlow ...
Paul Nevens ...
Howard Erskine ...
George Hamlin ...
Ralph Bell ...
Richard Whiting ...
Will Hussung ...
Other Doctor (as Will Hussong)
Robert Iglesia ...
Eli Resnick ...
Edward McPhillips ...
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Storyline

Fictional documentary about the life of human chameleon Leonard Zelig, a man who becomes a celebrity in the 1920s due to his ability to look and act like whoever is around him. Clever editing places Zelig in real newsreel footage of Woodrow Wilson, Babe Ruth, and others. Written by Scott Renshaw <as.idc@forsythe.stanford.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

25 August 1983 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Identity Crisis and Its Relationship to Personality Disorder  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$11,800,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Irving Howe: The political writer as himself. See more »

Goofs

The speaking person in his 60s in one of the modern interviews in the film is subtitled as "Former SS-Obergruppenführer Oswald Pohl". If the interviews were conducted in the early 1980s, the person is evidently too young; the real Pohl was born in June 1892, so he would have been in his late 80s/early 90s at the time - of course if he had not been hanged for war crimes in 1951. See more »

Quotes

The Narrator: The Ku Klux Klan, who saw Zelig as a Jew, that could turn himself into a Negro and an Indian, saw him as a triple threat.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Ron Reagan/The Nelsons (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Leonard the Lizard
(1983)
Composed by Dick Hyman
Sung by Bernie Kuce, Steve Clayton and Tony Wells
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Zenith Zelig.
23 February 2008 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

ZELIG is simply a jaw-dropping sight and sound as a film; hilarious.... out loud. The funny premise is polished to some astonishing level of trickery with editing and matte effects seamlessly blending real 20s with recreated 20s adding Allen and Farrow and dialog and interviews that will have you recalling and roaring with laughter for days. I had not seen it since 1983 and now in 2008 to be reminded how stunning and hilarious this creation is, well, I am just delighted to be back on the wavelength of this genuinely brilliant hoax documentary. Now I can see how FORREST GUMP came about, given that it is a similar 'historic' premise using real footage of events and eras mixed with the lead character. But ZELIG is another perfection altogether; if you know your 20s, silent films, the imagery, the early sound newsreels and all those silly songs, then ZELIG is a superlative treat. It even features Mae Questrel singing a new Betty Boop song and for that alone I cheer this almost perfect film. What a delight. If you also get to see the early Peter Jackson hoax documentary FORGOTTEN SILVER or Stanley Donen's MOVIE MOVIE you will be equally rewarded.


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