7.6/10
67,270
246 user 83 critic

The Piano (1993)

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

Director:

Writer:

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Popularity
2,179 ( 696)

On Disc

at Amazon

Won 3 Oscars. Another 57 wins & 42 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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Storyline

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 <ptd@ccadfa.cc.adfa.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

|

Release Date:

11 February 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Piano  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£2,301,338 (UK) (10 December 1993)

Gross:

$40,158,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (Dolby 5.1)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The play performed in the movie is an adaptation of "Bluebeard", which is a French fairy tale recorded by Charles Perrault about a man who marries, kills his wives after they fail a test, stashes their bodies in a small chamber, then marries again. In the original story, the main character (Bluebeard's current wife) escapes her psychopathic husband and finds happiness elsewhere. See more »

Goofs

Pianos of the period portrayed in the film were made almost entirely of wood, no metal framing at all, and the piano would therefore float, not sink. See more »

Quotes

[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?" '...
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Connections

Referenced in Dogma (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Coupling
Michael Nyman
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A sensual and surprising film
4 March 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Jane Campion's Oscar-winning movie follows Ada (played by Holly Hunter), an immigrant to the New Zealand outback and an arranged marriage, who has not spoken for years and lives her life through the sound of her piano. Her husband (played by Sam Neill) is a man without much understanding, who tries to break the connection between his new wife and her piano; in contrast to him is the wild illiterate Baines (played by Harvey Keitel), a tattooed loner, who reaches into Ada's soul and helps her to regain contact with her emotions and ultimately, her voice too.

The film is visually compelling, with its muted colours and wide open spaces, and uses the soundtrack by Michael Nyman in such a way so all the elements fit together. Keitel and Hunter give excellent performances within a sensitive and sensual screenplay, while Anna Paquin is impressive as Ada's wise daughter, always watching and always aware. Campion managed to make the story touching, involving, and sexy, and it well deserved the plaudits heaped on it.


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