7.8/10
34,731
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.

Director:

Writer:

Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

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

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In his attempts to reconcile a lounge singer with his mistress, a hapless talent agent is mistaken as her lover by a jealous gangster.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Nick Apollo Forte
Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In New Jersey in 1935, a movie character walks off the screen and into the real world.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Mia Farrow, Jeff Daniels, Danny Aiello
Radio Days (1987)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A nostalgic look at radio's golden age focusing on one ordinary family and the various performers in the medium.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest, Mike Starr
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A wacky inventor and his wife invite two other couples for a weekend party at a romantic summer house in the 1900s countryside.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, José Ferrer
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

While attending a retrospective of his work, a filmmaker recalls his life and his loves: the inspirations for his films.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen, Charlotte Rampling, Jessica Harper
Comedy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In czarist Russia, a neurotic soldier and his distant cousin formulate a plot to assassinate Napoleon.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Georges Adet
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An ophthalmologist's mistress threatens to reveal their affair to his wife while a married documentary filmmaker is infatuated with another woman.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Martin Landau, Woody Allen, Bill Bernstein
Bananas (1971)
Certificate: GP Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When a bumbling New Yorker is dumped by his activist girlfriend, he travels to a tiny Latin American nation and becomes involved in its latest rebellion.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen, Louise Lasser, Carlos Montalbán
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Between two Thanksgivings two years apart, Hannah's husband falls in love with her sister Lee, while her hypochondriac ex-husband rekindles his relationship with her sister Holly.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest, Michael Caine
Sleeper (1973)
Comedy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A nerdish store owner is revived out of cryostasis into a future world to fight an oppressive government.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, John Beck
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

When their best friends announce that they're separating, a professor and his wife discover the faults in their own marriage.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Sydney Pollack
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Seven segments related to one another only in that they all purport to be based on sections of the book by David Reuben. The segments range from "Do Aphrodisiacs Work?" in which a court ... See full summary »

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen, Gene Wilder, Louise Lasser
Edit

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
Edit

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:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

25 August 1983 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Identity Crisis and Its Relationship to Personality Disorder  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$60,119, 17 July 1983, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$11,798,616
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Around the time the movie was made and released, lead actors Woody Allen and Mia Farrow were in a personal relationship, which had started around 1980. 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

Leonard Zelig: [in a hypnotic trance] My brother beat me. My sister beat my brother. My father beat my sister and my brother and me. My mother beat my father and my sister and me and my brother. The neighbors beat our family. The people down the block beat the neighbors and our family.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.11 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Sitting on Top of the World
(1925)
Music by Ray Henderson
Lyrics by Sam Lewis (as Samuel M. Lewis) and Joe Young
Sung by Norman Brooks
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Woody strikes again!
21 April 2000 | by See all my reviews

Woody can be clever. Woody can be funny. And when Woody's clever AND funny, you get "Zelig".

Telling the story of Leonard Zelig (Woody Allen, who else?) who transforms himself chameleon-like into anyone just to get people to like him, he finds himself the object of on-going observation from a kind doctor (Farrow), who eventually falls for him.

But lest you think this is simply a love story, there are also pot-shots at fame, fads, the 1930s (!!), medical conventions, product cash-ins and the joys and pitfalls of celebrity.

Then there's the sheer joy of the technical wizardry that allows Woody's Zelig to stand alongside such figures as Josephine Baker, Brickhouse, William Randolph Hearst, Marion Davies, "Red" Grange, Al Capone, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Lou Gehrig and Fanny Brice. This is the same type of FX visible in "Forrest Gump", and eleven years before the fact! Nice going.

But you haven't lived till you've seen Woody trying to blend in at an Adolph Hitler speech.

There's a lot of slapstick but there's also a lot of great lines ("I have to council a group of chronic masturbators", Zelig complains, "and if I'm late they'll start without me.") Classic.

But at the center of it all is Woody himself, just like his Zelig character, wanting only to be liked, if not loved. He succeeds. Once you see "Zelig", you'll love it.

Eight stars, plus one star more for watching Woody be serenaded by Fanny Brice. He's the cat's pajamas!


36 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 112 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Watch the Latest Episode of "The IMDb Show"

Katee Sackhoff talks about her characters on "Battlestar Galactica," "Star Wars: Rebels," and "The Flash." Plus, "The IMDb Show" learns what it takes to wield a lightsaber.

Watch the show