7.8/10
34,719
112 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 ...
Dr. Sindell
Marvin Chatinover ...
Glandular Diagnosis Doctor
Stanley Swerdlow ...
Mexican Food Doctor
Paul Nevens ...
Dr. Birsky
Howard Erskine ...
Hypodermic Doctor
George Hamlin ...
Experimental Drugs Doctor
Ralph Bell ...
Other Doctor
Richard Whiting ...
Other Doctor
Will Hussung ...
Other Doctor (as Will Hussong)
Robert Iglesia ...
Man in Barber Chair
Eli Resnick ...
Man in Park
Edward McPhillips ...
Scotsman
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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:

 »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$60,119, 17 July 1983, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$11,798,616
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first cut ran only 45 minutes, so Woody Allen had to include more archive footage and shot some scenes to fill up the time (mostly public scenes with narration). See more »

Goofs

Last name of Broadway impresario Florenz Ziegfeld is misspelled (Zeigfeld) on title card for Pathe newsreel. See more »

Quotes

[Zelig thinks he's a psychiatrist.]
Leonard Zelig: I worked with Freud in Vienna. We broke over the concept of penis envy. Freud felt that it should be limited to women.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Just Shoot Me!: My Dinner with Woody (1997) 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

 
Zenith Zelig.
23 February 2008 | by 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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