"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>

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Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

15 July 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Identity Crisis and Its Relationship to Personality Disorder  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Gross:

$11,800,000 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Like the ever-changing chameleon Zelig character, the film had an ever-changing title. The movie's working titles were "The Changing Man", "The Cat's Pajamas", "The Chameleon Man" and "Identity Crisis and Its Relationship to Personality Disorder" before finally the film was called "Zelig". "The Changing Man" title was still used for the picture as it became the name of a fictional film within this film. See more »

Goofs

A presidential pardon would not clear Zelig of the state-level crimes of which he was convicted. See more »

Quotes

Leonard Zelig: But I've never flown before in my life, and it shows exactly what you can do, if you're a total psychotic!
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Connections

Referenced in Calvary (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

I'll Get By
(1928)
Music by Fred E. Ahlert
Lyrics by Roy Turk
Performed by The Ben Bernie Orchestra
Courtesy of MCA Records
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User Reviews

 
Zealous about "Zelig"
1 October 1999 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

Leapin' lizards! This film is brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

"Zelig" was a revelation in 1983, an utterly ingenious faux-documentary, without any precedent, at least not on this scale. Hilarious then, it still is today. That quick glimpse you get of the all-Hasidic production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is priceless. It gives renewed meaning to "Lord, what fools these mortals be!"

Allen's technique is extraordinary. "Zelig" has the best bogus documentary footage quite probably since "Citizen Kane".

As the film urges, everyone should "Do the Chameleon", by seeing "Zelig". Woody Allen creates a trenchant comment on people's desire for conformity: "Everybody, go chameleon." We all tend to do that to some degree, but it's not usually so amusing. Try to blend in with the crowd rushing out to find "Zelig" on video.

It is probably worth noting that a Jewish Nazi is not as ridiculous a stretch as Woody makes it seem. Reinhard Heydrich, the vicious organizer of the Final Solution, fell into that category. The top Nazis were all misfits in one way or another.


58 of 73 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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