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Shine (1996)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama, Music  |  14 February 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 41,000 users   Metascore: 87/100
Reviews: 104 user | 71 critic | 25 from

Pianist David Helfgott, driven by his father and teachers, has a breakdown. Years later he returns to the piano, to popular if not critical acclaim.



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Won 1 Oscar. Another 45 wins & 43 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Justin Braine ...
Alex Rafalowicz ...
Gordon Poole ...
Eisteddfod Presenter
Ben Rosen
Danielle Cox ...
Suzie - Child
Rebecca Gooden ...
Marta Kaczmarek ...
John Cousins ...
Jim Minogue
Paul Linkson ...
State Champion Announcer


Based on the true story of Australian pianist David Helfgott, this delightful movie charts the traumatic early years through adulthood. Telling the story in flashback we see David as a child prodigy and as he grows up while his patriarchal father abuses him and his siblings with the memory of his childhood in Europe and the loss of his family in the concentration camps. David finally breaks away from his father and goes away to study overseas, he later suffers a breakdown and returns to Australia and a life in an institution. Many years later he is released and through several twists of fate (in reality even more unlikely than film portrays) he starts playing a piano in a bar before finally returning to the concert hall. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A father whose life was his family. A son whose music was his life. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for nudity/sensuality and intense thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

14 February 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Claroscuro  »

Box Office


$5,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$162,179 (USA) (22 November 1996)


$35,811,509 (USA) (30 May 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film cast includes two Oscar winners: Geoffrey Rush and John Gielgud; and two Oscar nominees: Armin Mueller-Stahl and Lynn Redgrave. See more »


The mezzuzah, a Jewish religious scroll attached to a home's door posts, on Ben Rosen's home is angled the wrong way; it should be angled toward the entrance of the home. See more »


Isaac Stern: America. You know, land of the free, home of the brave. You know, Mickey Mouse.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Himself: hand double for Geoffrey Rush See more »


Referenced in What Women Want (2000) See more »


Gloria, rv 589
Composed by Antonio Vivaldi
Arranged by David Hirschfelder & Ricky Edwards
© PolyGram Music Publishing/Mushroom Music
See more »

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User Reviews

A Beautiful Mind
22 April 2003 | by (fairview, nj) – See all my reviews

SHINE (1996) **** Geoffrey Rush, Noah Taylor, Alex Rafalowicz, Armin Mueller Stahl, Lynn Redgrave, Sir John Gielgud, Googie Withers. Excellent Oscar nominated bio pic about acclaimed Australian pianist virtuoso David Helfgott (played equally brilliant by Rush {deservingly winning the Oscar as Best Actor} as an adult, Taylor as a young man and Rafalowicz as the child prodigy) who suffered mental anguish thru his art largely due to his overbearing father (Mueller Stahl, Best Supporting Actor nominee, in a demanding yet effective role) that led to his nervous breakdown that nearly destroyed him. Poignant and beautifully directed by newcomer Scott Hicks (Best Director nominee), the film never panders, preaches or offers any simple answers yet does depict mental illness earnestly with devestating clarity. Rush gives a bravura performance that deserves a standing ovation. Best sequence: the lead-in to Helfgott's crash as he attempts the monumental musical challenge, Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto #3, or notoriously known as "The Rach 3".

30 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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