The Legend of 1900 (1998)
"La leggenda del pianista sull'oceano" (original title)

R  |   |  Drama, Music, Romance  |  28 October 1998 (Italy)
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A baby boy, discovered in 1900 on an ocean liner, grows into a musical prodigy, never setting foot on land.



(monologue Novecento),
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Danny Boodmann
Jelly Roll Morton
The Girl
Gabriele Lavia ...
'Pops', the Shopkeeper
Niall O'Brien ...
Harbor Master
Mexican Stoker
Luigi De Luca ...
Neapolitan Stoker
Black Stoker (as Femi Elufowoja Jr.)
Nigel Fan ...
Chinese Stoker
Roger Monk ...
Irish Stoker
Leonid Zaslavski ...
Polish Stoker
Bernard Padden ...


Shortly after the Second World War, Max, a transplanted American, visits an English pawn shop to sell his trumpet. The shopkeeper recognizes the tune Max plays as one on a wax master of an unreleased recording, discovered and restored from shards found in a piano salvaged from a cruise ship turned hospital ship, now slated for demolition. This chance discovery prompts a story from Max, which he relates both to the shopkeeper and later to the official responsible for the doomed vessel, for Max is a born storyteller. Though now down on his luck and disillusioned by his wartime experiences, the New Orleans-born Max was once an enthusiastic and gifted young jazz musician, whose longest gig was several years with the house band aboard the Virginian, a posh cruise ship. While gaining his sea legs, he was befriended by another young man, the pianist in the same band, whose long unlikely name was Danny Boodman T.D. Lemons 1900, though everyone just called him 1900, the year of his birth. ... Written by GMBaxter

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

ship | 1900s | piano | pianist | jazz | See All (89) »


An epic story of a man who could do anything... except be ordinary. See more »


Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

28 October 1998 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

La légende du pianiste sur l'océan  »

Box Office


$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$39,200 (USA) (29 October 1999)


$259,127 (USA) (10 December 1999)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (international)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


There was actually a registered ship named the SS Virginian which was built in 1904 and scrapped around 1954. The ship had one funnel with the Allan Liner's colors on it. The SS Virginian also had a vital part in the Titanic disaster in April 1912 as she was reported near the vicinity of the sinking and within radio contact. See more »


The recording equipment used for making the record was clearly acoustic in nature, showing large horns. This type of recording was largely replaced in 1925 by electrical recording, using microphones. Yet the recording was made somewhere between 1927 and 1933, according to Tooney's story. Furthermore, the recording engineer played back the matrix immediately; this would have ruined the matrix, which was cut in wax. In those days, immediate playback was only possible using a 2nd set of equipment expressly for that purpose. See more »


[first lines]
Max: I still ask myself if I did the right thing when I abandoned his floating city. And I don't mean only for the work. The fact is, a friend like that, a real friend - you won't meet one again. If you just decide to hang up your sea legs, if you just want to feel something more solid beneath your feet - and it's then you no longer hear the music of the gods around you. But, like he used to say, you're never really done for, as long as you got a good story, and someone to tell it to. ...
See more »


Version of Novecento (2006) See more »


The Crave
Written by Ferdinand 'Jelly Roll' Morton (uncredited)
Performed by Ferdinand 'Jelly Roll' Morton (as 'Jelly Roll' Morton)
Edwin H. Morris & Co., a division of MPL Communications Inc.
Tempo-Music Publishing Company
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Great Flick
11 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This movie was given to me as a Christmas gift in 2004. My friends know my love of ships and movies, so they knew this would be something I was surely to like. And did I. I would have been deeply disappointed if I had seen this at the local CinePlex, because there are so many excellent scene's you will want to rewind an ponder over, even shed a tear or two. Its the story of a baby boy ( Tim Roth )who is found aboard an ocean liner( by actor Bill Nunn ), who spends his entire life aboard this ship. Its a movie that is wonderfully acted by all the cast. It moves with ease an always keeps you in a slight fog that lifts at the perfect moment. The piano score's are exquisite !!!I found it haunting and moving at the same time. This movie is 2 hours long, but it will glide by so quickly you will want for more. Without spoiling it, the ending scene is powerful, its..............well......I'll let you be the judge. Enjoy, Marco

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