12 user 4 critic

Anna (1987)

PG-13 | | Drama | 28 November 1987 (USA)
Anna is a middle-aged actress looking for work in New York City, with the help of her sometime lover, Daniel. She used to be a Czech film star married to the director Tonda, who is now ... See full summary »



(story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Fields ...
Director #1
John Robert Tillotson ...
Director #2
Julianne Gilliam ...
Woman Author
Joe Aufiery ...
Stage Manager
Assistant #1
Assistant #2
Ruth Maleczech ...
Woman #1 / Woman Named Gloria
Holly Villaire ...
Woman #2 / Woman with Bird
Shirl Bernheim ...
Woman #3 / Woman in White Veil
Woman #4 / Woman in Bonnet
Woman #5 / Woman in Black (as Gabriela Farrar)
Jordana Levine ...
Woman #6 / Woman in Turban


Anna is a middle-aged actress looking for work in New York City, with the help of her sometime lover, Daniel. She used to be a Czech film star married to the director Tonda, who is now successfully making commercials in New York. After the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia, Anna was imprisoned and eventually exiled. Anna takes in the young girl Krystyna, who has just arrived from Czechoslovakia, and speaks no English. Anna and Daniel help Krystyna learn English and start a promising acting career. However, the only job Anna can find is as an understudy. Written by Will Gilbert

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Lately, she's been contemplating love, exile, murder, and acting.




PG-13 | See all certifications »




Release Date:

28 November 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Anna - Exil in New York  »

Box Office


$1,236,848 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


The film is loosely based on the life of Polish actress Elzbieta Czyzewska, who had trouble establishing herself as an actress in New York after fleeing her homeland. She made a comeback after the film's release, winning an Obie Award for her performance in the play "Crowbar," and appearing in movies like Running on Empty (1988) and Music Box (1989). See more »


Featured in The Simple Life: Almost Fame-Less (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Compelling portrait of Czech emigre theater people in New York, and the trickiness of memory.
7 May 2002 | by (Beer-Sheva, Israel) – See all my reviews

"Anna" is the movie with perhaps the greatest disparity between my opinion and everyone else's, so seems appropriate for my first comment on IMDb.

Anna (Sally Kirkland) was a legendary actress in Czechoslovakia, and in New York suffers a career in shabby productions with avant garde or artistic pretensions. Krystyna (Paulina Porizkova), an immigrant from Czechoslovakia with acting aspirations, spends her first days on the streets of New York searching for Anna, fainting from hunger virtually on her doorstep. Anna takes her in, and they become intimate friends.

Porizkova's Krystyna is as compellingly ambitious and wily as any of Werner Herzog's roles -- and this in an area calling for a subtler social sense. Krystyna seems not to be Anna's daughter, given up for adoption at a young age. But the malleability of memory -- Krystyna's in an obvious way, though perhaps also Anna's -- is treated more interestingly than in some of Agnieszka Holland's better known movies, such as "Olivier, Olivier" or "Europa, Europa." Almost as interesting as some real life cases: The erstwhile mental illness "fugue" comes to mind (see, for example, the Times Literary Supplement, 16 July 1999; as this is a movie database, I'll also point to "Paris, Texas" for a portrayal of the phenomenon). So does the case of Benjamin Wilkomirski. I could but won't extend this list.

On the negative side, the description of Jewish life in New York is a mixture of inappropriately projected Christian norms and condescension (maybe due to unfamiliarity, or laziness of imagination).

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