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Music of the Heart (1999)

PG  |   |  Drama, Music  |  29 October 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 9,370 users   Metascore: 54/100
Reviews: 125 user | 79 critic | 33 from

Story of a schoolteacher's struggle to teach violin to inner-city Harlem kids.



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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Henry Dinhofer ...
Lexi at 5
Nick at 7
Robert Ari ...
Brian Turner
Taxi Driver
Principal Janet Williams
Dennis Rausch
Barbara Gonzalez ...
Janet's Secretary
Jade Yorker ...
DeSean at 11
Victoria Gómez ...
Lucy at 10 (as Victoria Gomez)
Bongo Kid
Justin 'DJ' Spaulding ...
Naeem Adisa at 9 (as Justin Spaulding)
Zoe Sternbach-Taubman ...
Guadalupe at 9


The true story of a young teacher who fights against the board of education in her bid to teach underprivileged kids in a Harlem school the beauty of music through the violin. In her struggle she loses everything as the system comes down on her with all their might but her determination for the kids happiness helps her to battle back with wonderfully inspirational results. Written by Kryp <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She gave them a gift they could never imagine. They gave the system a fight it would never forget.


Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for brief mild language and sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

29 October 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

50 Violins  »

Box Office


$27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,653,281 (USA) (29 October 1999)


$14,849,583 (USA) (14 January 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Director Wes Craven's first and only non-horror/thriller film. See more »


In one of the classroom scenes early in the movie, Streep is shown wearing boots; when the camera comes back to her later in the same scene, she's wearing shoes instead. See more »


Roberta Guaspari: [after finding out her violin program has just been cut] There's got to be some way we can fight this!
Janet Williams: Fight it for what? I don't have any extra programs I can give them instead.
Roberta Guaspari: Ohhh, I see! After 10 years, after 1400 kids have learned the violin, "this is just an extra program!"
Janet Williams: You know I don't feel that way! And you know *damn* well I've been standing by you all these years! You think I haven't noticed what you've done for these kids?
Roberta Guaspari: Well, then *do* something!
Janet Williams: I have been on that phone for ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Please support arts and music education. See more »


Referenced in Marci X (2003) See more »


Turn the Page
Performed by Aaliyah
Written by Guy Roche and Shelly Peiken
Produced and Arranged by Guy Roche
Mixed by Mick Guzauski
Arranged, orchestrated & conducted by David Campbell
Aaliyah appears courtesy of Blackground Entertainment, Inc.
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

A wonderful, wonderful movie for any music-lover, one of the very few I rate "10"!
4 August 2000 | by (Houston, Tx, USA, Earth) – See all my reviews

Even though I had been wanting to see "Music of the Heart" for a while now, and I expected to like it, I didn't expect it to be one of my favorites of all time. Which it now is.

Meryl Streep, in the lead role, is nothing short of fantastic. She studied violin virtually every day, for 2 to 4 hours a day, for 3 months because she insisted on doing all her on-screen playing. She was so good that duing warm-up for the Carnegie Hall scene, famous violinists Issac Stern and Jascha Heifitz stood in amazement at how good she was. Watching the movie, I honestly became unaware that she was an "actress" in a movie, and that seldom happens with me.

The most enjoyable scenes were those showing young children make music. And the Carnegie Hall performance, with all those real-world virtuoso violinists, is one of the most moving scenes imaginable, when you consider what had transpired leading up to it.

This movie is based on the real story of a real music teacher in Harlem. It is a wonderful story of how one person through love and persistence can affect so many in such a positive way. This movie, unlike most, will stay with me for a long, long time.

22 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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