Music Box (1989)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  January 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 4,870 users  
Reviews: 32 user | 19 critic

A lawyer defends her father accused of war crimes, but there is more to the case than she suspects.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mike Laszlo
Jack Burke
Harry Talbot
Mikey Talbot
Georgine Wheeler
Mari Töröcsik ...
Magda Zoldan
J.S. Block ...
Judge Silver
Sol Frieder ...
Istvan Boday
Karchy Laszlo
Elzbieta Czyzewska ...
Melinda Kalman
Magda Szekely Marburg ...
Judit Hollo
Felix Shuman ...
James Nathanson
Michael Shillo ...
Geza Vamos
George Pusep ...
Vladimir Kostav


Hungarian immigrant Mike Laszlo has done well for himself since arriving in the USA nearly 50 years ago. He is particularly proud of his daughter, Ann, a successful lawyer. Following the release of some secret WWII records by the Russians, Mike finds himself accused of being a notorious war criminal. He's convinced it's a communist plot to discredit him and insists that Ann defend him in court. Written by Col Needham <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


As a lawyer all she wanted was the truth. As a daughter all she wanted was his innocence. How well do you really know your father?


Drama | Thriller


PG-13 | See all certifications »





Release Date:

January 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mucho más que un crimen  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$6,263,883 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Both Kirk Douglas and Walter Matthau wanted to play the father (Michael Laszlo) and were in contact with director Costa-Gavras. Costa-Gavras also considered Marlon Brando for the part. Instead, he picked Armin Mueller-Stahl, who a couple of years earlier had said he would love to work with him after seeing his movie, Missing (1982), at the theater. See more »


Jack Burke: You trust your heart, you gonna get it broken.
See more »


References 60 Minutes (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

Quietly effective and touching courtroom thriller with very good performances
23 June 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Jessica Lange is very good as Ann Talbot, a lawyer who takes up the task of defending her father (Armin Mueller-Stahl) against charges of Nazi war crimes. The charges are ridiculous to her at first, but she slowly begins to realize they might be true. Lukas Haas, giving an exceptionally bright-eyed and intelligent performance, plays Ann's 12-year-old son, who believes unquestioningly that his beloved grandfather is innocent.

Roger Ebert wrote that the father, while very well-played by Mueller-Stahl, does not devote enough time to helping us to understand his character, but I don't know that any film could do that for such a person. Mueller-Stahl and the script at least offer suggestions and let our imaginations do the rest.

I found this film, scripted by Joe Eszterhas and directed by Costa-Gavras, to be a quietly effective courtroom thriller (even though the idea of a lawyer defending her own father in this situation requires a high suspension of disbelief) and found the central drama of a woman discovering her father is, or at least was, a monster to be moving.

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