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The Piano (1993)

R  |   |  Drama, Music, Romance  |  11 February 1994 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 60,511 users   Metascore: 89/100
Reviews: 235 user | 80 critic | 20 from

A mute woman along with her young daughter, and her prized piano, are sent to 1850s New Zealand for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, and she's soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation.



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Won 3 Oscars. Another 66 wins & 31 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kerry Walker ...
Aunt Morag
Geneviève Lemon ...
Nessie (as Genevieve Lemon)
Tungia Baker ...
Ian Mune ...
Peter Dennett ...
Head Seaman
Te Whatanui Skipwith ...
Chief Nihe
Pete Smith ...
Blind Piano Tuner
Carla Rupuha ...
Heni - Mission Girl
Mahina Tunui ...
Mere - Mission Girl


It is the mid-nineteenth century. Ada is a mute who has a young daughter, Flora. In an arranged marriage she leaves her native Scotland accompanied by her daughter and her beloved piano. Life in the rugged forests of New Zealand's North Island is not all she may have imagined and nor is her relationship with her new husband Stewart. She suffers torment and loss when Stewart sells her piano to a neighbour, George. Ada learns from George that she may earn back her piano by giving him piano lessons, but only with certain other conditions attached. At first Ada despises George but slowly their relationship is transformed and this propels them into a dire situation. Written by Patrick Dominick <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for moments of extremely graphic sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:


Release Date:

11 February 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Piano  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£2,301,338 (UK) (10 December 1993)


£3,512,343 (UK) (4 February 1994)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh was the only man to receive an Oscar nomination for his work in this film. All the other nominations (7) were given to women (screenwriter and director Jane Campion, producer Jan Chapman, costume designer Janet Patterson, editor Veronika Jenet and actresses Holly Hunter and Anna Paquin a rare feat. See more »


When the boat leaves the island, Ada trails her hand in the water, which is still and calm. On long shots, it is foaming from the action of the oars, and the boat on the water. See more »


[first lines]
Ada: The voice you hear is not my speaking voice - -but my mind's voice. I have not spoken since I was six years old. No one knows why - -not even me. My father says it is a dark talent, and the day I take it into my head to stop breathing will be my last. Today he married me to a man I have not yet met. Soon my daughter and I shall join him in his own country. My husband writes that my muteness does not bother him - and hark this! He says, "God loves dumb creatures, so why not I?" '...
See more »


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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Is there something I'm not getting?
14 December 2008 | by (Spiderweb Software forums, as feo) – See all my reviews

A vaguely pornographic account of a love triangle between three completely repellent people. The woman hasn't spoken in years, but is absolutely obsessed with her piano, seeming to care more about it than about any living person. Her emotions are expressed in either childish outbursts or soft caresses, depending on what point the filmmakers want to make. The husband himself is clearly SUPPOSED to be repellent. We know this because he combs his hair, because he doesn't hold much stock in Aboriginal superstition, and because . . . well, I don't know, just because the movie needs an annoying white guy so it can argue that it's bad to discriminate against people. The love interest, meanwhile, is downright creepy, lying under the piano and looking up the woman's skirt, but he's apparently supposed to be cool and dashing. And don't get me started on the Aborigines, at once held up as trophies of natural living and made "exotic" in a manner that mostly involves making them seem stupid. I confess I cannot figure out what anyone could have liked about this film.

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Unflattering portrayal of Maoris? MisterDalliman
yuck sayawkimy
This movie is CREEPY hoot-16
Things You Didn't Notice Until Multiple Viewings of The Piano kathgray_k
WHY MARRY grace194
Who Tuned the Piano? lexnlido2
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