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Sunshine (1999)

R  |   |  Drama, History, Romance  |  14 July 2000 (USA)
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The fate of a Hungarian Jewish family throughout the 20th century.



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Title: Sunshine (1999)

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Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 11 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ignatz Sonnenschein / Adam Sors / Ivan Sors
Valerie Sors
Valerie Sonnenschein
Maj. Carole Kovács
Hannah Wippler
Gustave Sonnenschein
David de Keyser ...
Emmanuel Sonnenschein
Gustave Sors
Rose Sonnenschein
Rüdiger Vogler ...
Gen. Jakofalvy
István Sors
Minister of Justice
Comrade Gen. Kope
Hanns Zischler ...
Baron Margitta


The film follows a Jewish family living in Hungary through three generations, rising from humble beginnings to positions of wealth and power in the crumbling Austro-Hungarian Empire. The patriarch becomes a prominent judge but is torn when his government sanctions anti-Jewish persecutions. His son converts to Christianity to advance his career as a champion fencer and Olympic hero, but is caught up in the Holocaust. Finally, the grandson, after surviving war, revolution, loss and betrayal, realizes that his ultimate allegiance must be to himself and his heritage. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


En skæbnefortælling om tre generationer i kamp for at overleve. [Denmark] See more »


Drama | History | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality, and for violence, language and nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

14 July 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Taste of Sunshine  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$84,869 (USA) (9 June 2000)


$5,095,981 (USA) (2 February 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The character of Adam Sonnenschein/Sors draws heavily upon the life and death of two great Hungarian Jewish sabreurs, 'Attila Petschauer' and Endre Kabos (winner of the Olympic Gold in Sabre at the 1936 Berlin Games). Tragically, neither survived World War II and the Holocaust. See more »


When fencing for the gold medal, Adam Sors' opponent has his foot way across the line at the start. This would never be allowed at the Olympics. See more »


Valerie Sors: My darling, you are not in prison. They are.
See more »


References Citizen Kane (1941) See more »


Performed by Miklós Tabányi
See more »

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User Reviews

This epic crowns the legendary career of Istvan Szabo
1 July 2000 | by (Cape Town, ZA) – See all my reviews

SUNSHINE, the latest epic from arguably Central Europe's greatest living director of his generation, crowns a distinguished career. Many details of his earlier work, including the Sonnenschein name for the Jewish family (from the name of the Hungarian Imperial Jewish Doctor in COLONEL REDL) are evident; particularly themes and period touches from his brilliant trilogy, MEPHISTO, COLONEL REDL, HANUSSEN). OK. So Klaus Maria is missing. He is really unique. But who better than the brilliant Ralph Fiennes (awarded the 1999 European Best Actor "Oscar" for this performance last December)as the lead "Sunshine" patriarch? Make that three "Sunshine/Sors/Sonnenschein" patriarchs, all with their own nuances, all very in tune with his period, and character. And who better to play the "Sunshine" matriarch than the recent Tony winner Jennifer Ehle, as the younger Matriarch, followed by her own (obviously look alike) mother, the great Rosemary Harris, as her older self? The film is full of masterful strokes like these. After an Oscar-qualifying run in late December, the film was just re-released (I saw it in New York ten days ago), and will be expanding throughout America soon. Don't miss this masterpiece on the big screen, where it can really be appreciated.

17 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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