IMDb > The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 45 | slideshow)

Overview

User Rating:
7.4/10   23,194 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Down 1% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers (WGA):
Milan Kundera (novel)
Jean-Claude Carrière (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Unbearable Lightness of Being on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
5 February 1988 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
A Lovers Story.
Plot:
In 1968, a Czech doctor with an active sex life meets a woman who wants monogamy, and then the Soviet invasion further disrupts their lives. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 7 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
One of the finest works of the '80s. See more (129 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Daniel Day-Lewis ... Tomas

Juliette Binoche ... Tereza

Lena Olin ... Sabina

Derek de Lint ... Franz

Erland Josephson ... The Ambassador
Pavel Landovský ... Pavel

Donald Moffat ... Chief Surgeon

Daniel Olbrychski ... Interior Ministry Official

Stellan Skarsgård ... The Engineer
Tomasz Borkowy ... Jiri (as Tomek Bork)
Bruce Myers ... Czech Editor
Pavel Slabý ... Pavel's Nephew
Pascale Kalensky ... Nurse Katja
Jacques Ciron ... Swiss Restaurant Manager
Anne Lonnberg ... Swiss Photographer
László Szabó ... Russian Interrogator
Vladimír Valenta ... Mayor

Clovis Cornillac ... Boy in Bar
Leon Lissek ... Bold Man in Bar
Consuelo De Haviland ... Tall Brunette
Jacqueline Abraham-Vernier
Judith Atwell
Claudine Berg
Jean-Claude Bouillon (as Jean-Claude Bouillion)
Miroslaw Beuer
Niven Busch
Margot Capelier
Victor Chelkoff
Monica Constandache
Jean-Claude Dauphin
Dominique De Moncutt
Bernard Lepinaux
Josiane Lévêque
Peter Majer
Charles Millot
Gérard Moulévrier
Jan Nemec
Charly Oleg
Sylvie Plantard
Olga Baïdar-Poliakoff
Christine Potter
Hana Maria Pravda
Romano
André Sanfratello
Jirí Stanislav
Milos Szoboda
Helenka Vernier
Marrian Walters
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Philip Kaufman ... Man walking on street outside Sabina's flat (uncredited)
Isabelle Noérie ... Student (uncredited)

Directed by
Philip Kaufman 
 
Writing credits
(WGA)
Milan Kundera (novel)

Jean-Claude Carrière (screenplay) &
Philip Kaufman (screenplay)

Produced by
Bertil Ohlsson .... executive producer
Paul Zaentz .... associate producer
Saul Zaentz .... producer
 
Original Music by
Mark Adler 
 
Cinematography by
Sven Nykvist 
 
Film Editing by
Vivien Hillgrove Gilliam  (as Vivien Hillgrove)
Michael Magill 
Walter Murch 
B.J. Sears (co-editor)
 
Production Design by
Pierre Guffroy 
 
Costume Design by
Ann Roth 
 
Makeup Department
Suzanne Benoit .... key makeup artist
Rosalina Da Silva .... makeup artist: Lena Olin
 
Production Management
Daniel Baschieri .... assistant unit manager
Frank Simeone .... unit production manager: USA unit
Daniel Szuster .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Eric Bartonio .... first assistant director
Simon Brook .... assistant director
Robert Kechichian .... second assistant director
Charles Paviot .... first assistant director
 
Art Department
Jean-Michel Ducourty .... second assistant art director
Michael G. Ploog .... storyboard artist
Jean-Yves Rabier .... carpenter
 
Sound Department
David Franklin Bergad .... sound editor
Mark Berger .... supervising re-recording mixer
Jean-Marie Blondel .... sound assistant
Todd Boekelheide .... sound re-recording mixer
Luis Colina .... sound effects editor
Ernie Fosselius .... foley editor
Ruth Hasty .... apprentice sound editor
Pat Jackson .... sound effects editor
Ann Kroeber .... sound effects
Barbara McBane .... dialogue editor
Christopher Newman .... production sound mixer
David Parker .... sound re-recording mixer
Philip Rogers .... sound recordist
Karen Spangenberg .... dialog editor
Alan Splet .... sound designer
Dianna Stirpe .... sound apprentice
Ewa Sztompke .... sound effects assistant
Gwendolyn Yates Whittle .... assistant dialogue editor
 
Special Effects by
Jozef Ort-Snep .... trick photography
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Phil Bray .... still photographer
Richard Brodet .... best boy electric
Philippe Houdart .... camera operator
George Michael Pantages .... gaffer: US production crew (as Michael Pantages)
 
Casting Department
Marie-Sylvie Caillierez .... extras casting
Patricia de Oliveira .... casting: US production crew
Sarah C. Koeppe .... casting associate
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Donna Maloney .... wardrobe
 
Editorial Department
Donah Bassett .... negative cutter
Jack Garsha .... color timer
Robert Grahamjones .... assistant editor
 
Music Department
Mark Adler .... music arranger
Ernie Fosselius .... music arranger: Gevena production crew
Leos Janácek .... music: selected works from
Alan Splet .... music selection: Janacek's works
Jeffery Stephens .... assistant music editor
 
Other crew
Patrick Boshart .... location scout
Kent Brown .... production assistant
Peter Kaufman .... assistant to the director
Walter Slater Murch .... production assistant
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
171 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Argentina:16 | Australia:M | Canada:R (Nova Scotia/Ontario) (original rating) | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | Canada:R (Manitoba) (2005) | Canada:18 (Nova Scotia) (re-rating) (2005) | Canada:PG (Ontario) (re-rating) (2005) | Finland:K-16 | Hong Kong:III | Iceland:14 | New Zealand:M | Peru:14 | Portugal:M/16 | Singapore:R21 | Spain:13 | Sweden:15 | UK:18 | USA:R | West Germany:16
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
After the Soviet invasion, several shots actually show Lyon : the church in front of which a Soviet tank is parked is the cathedral of Lyon, the one on top of the hill is the basilica of Fourvière.See more »
Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: During Sabina's final monologue at the end of the film, Lena Olin's Swedish accent is quite noticeable.See more »
Quotes:
[first lines]
First Title Card:In Prague, in 1968, there lived a young doctor named Tomas...
Tomas:Take off your clothes.
[line recurs several times during film]
See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
14 out of 16 people found the following review useful.
One of the finest works of the '80s., 4 November 2007
Author: dead47548 from United States

Using the Prague Spring of 1968 as a backdrop, The Unbearable Lightness of Being weaves a story of three very real artists and their journey through love, sex and revolution. The film begins by introducing us to Tomas (Daniel Day-Lewis) a very charming womanizer and very intelligent, political doctor. Through all of his one night stands and emotionless sexual encounters, he only has one real lover; Sabina (Lena Olin) is a seductive, carefree artist. When Tomas gets a call to perform an operation in a spa town, he meets the woman of his dreams; Tereza (Juliette Binoche) the shy waitress who dreams of leaving her dull, unchallenging life and heading to a place with intellectuals. When Tomas heads back to Prague, she shows up at his door and they quickly move in together.

This move changes his life completely. He no longer has numerous flings and one night stands, but instead only makes time for Tereza at home and Sabina on the side. When Tomas begs Sabina to provide Tereza with a job, the three embark on a journey of sexual tension, intellectual discussion and artistic wonder. However this love triangle is cut short as Soviet tanks come roaring through Czechoslovakia endangering the freedom of all three characters, who then decide to flee to Switzerland. By this time Tomas and Tereza have been long married, and Sabina meets a new man in the form of Franz (Derek de Lint) a married man who eventually leaves his wife and family for her. The danger of commitment drives Sabina away and she moves to the United States, disappearing for the entire third act of the film.

It's this act that is the most interesting, as it truly examines Tomas and Tereza's tumultuous relationship. Tereza realizes that she is too dependant on him, while he could leave her at any time so she moves back to the now Soviet-controlled Prague and Tomas' love for her drives him to return there. Of course Tomas' political values, including an article he wrote criticizing the Soviet Union and 'implying' that they should all pluck their eyes out doesn't shine too well with the Soviets and they ask him to sign a letter to repudiate his article. Tomas is too proud and declines this offer, which leads to him losing his license and he has to settle to becoming a lowly window washer. But he can't hide his womanizing desires, and his infidelity drives Tereza to the same crime. Eventually her shame and the potential of her awkward lover being a Soviet who will blackmail the couple leads to the two of them moving to a rural village and living their life their together.

The most beautiful and romantic elements of the film are portrayed once they move to the village. Without the temptation of infidelity and the power of political intrigue, their life becomes euphoric and simple. Tomas works in the field all day, while Tereza cooks and cleans and they are never too far away from one another. During a trip to a relatively local bar, Tomas is presented with the opportunity of an affair but quickly brings his gaze back to Tereza showing that he is finally complete with her. This blissful relationship provides overwhelming satisfaction and closure to the chaotic life they had led up to this point.

Highlighting this impeccable picture are three sensational performances, a masterfully adapted screenplay full of beautiful and intriguing dialogue and quite possible the finest cinematography of the '80s. Day-Lewis perfectly encompasses the charm of Tomas with a subtle charisma that keeps my eyes glued to him every time he appears on screen. The young Juliette Binoche is adorable, shy and emotionally powerful but also plays it off very subtly. Lena Olin is overwhelmingly seductive and crafts a sense of freedom unlike any I've ever seen. These characters are all very human which means they have their fair share of flaws and the performances capture every essence of them so perfectly.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (129 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Awful, bad, horrible movie. schtrunfe
I've heard DDL say... chizdippler
The nude photography scene michaelsmith81
Kundera's thoughts? JellybeanJack
Where in California was Sabina? (beach scene) sweetloum
ONCE AGAIN: the ending - plothole? wim_mols
See more »

Recommendations

If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
The English Patient Children of the Revolution 1900 Salon Kitty Persepolis
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Drama section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.