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The Pianist (2002)

 -  Biography | Drama | War  -  28 March 2003 (USA)
8.5
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 379,674 users   Metascore: 85/100
Reviews: 730 user | 192 critic | 40 from Metacritic.com

A Polish Jewish musician struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II.

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(screenplay), (book)
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Title: The Pianist (2002)

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Top 250 #42 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 54 wins & 52 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Richard Ridings ...
Nomi Sharron ...
Anthony Milner ...
Lucy Skeaping ...
Street Musician (as Lucie Skeaping)
Roddy Skeaping ...
Street Musician
Ben Harlan ...
Street Musician
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Storyline

Wladyaw Szpilman is an aspiring Polish pianist whose entire family are Jews. Shipped off to concentration camps bound for death, Wladysaw's musical renown intervenes and an influential friend in the Jewish police pulls him away from the boarding line. His fortune, however, is exchanged for his division from the remainder of the family. Living in fear and survival guilt, he encounters many near-death experiences and must rely on the courage of others to stay alive. Enthralled by the pianist's ability, one such model was Nazi Captain Wilm Hosenfeld who fed and kept his existence a secret. The Second World War eventually broke down and The Pianist's main character would become a successful musician. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Music was his passion. Survival was his masterpiece.

Genres:

Biography | Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

| | |

Language:

| |

Release Date:

28 March 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El pianista  »

Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$115,690 (Hong Kong) (21 March 2003)

Gross:

$32,519,322 (USA) (30 May 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD edition)

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lew Rywin (the producer) was supposed to play the "Customer with Coins" who quiets Szpilman in restaurant. Because of Rywin's unexpected sunburn, the role was eventually given to Zbigniew Zamachowski. See more »

Goofs

The bayonet used by the German sergeant to open the sack of beans is not German issue. It appears to be a Turkish Model 1890 bayonet. However, in war it is common to use a weapon stolen or bought from another country. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dorota: [running from bombing] Mr. Szpilman?
Wladyslaw Szpilman: Hello.
Dorota: Oh, I came specially to meet you. I love your playing.
Wladyslaw Szpilman: Who are you?
Dorota: My name is Dorota. I, I'm Jurek's sister... You're bleeding.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Aside from the Universal and Focus Features credits, there are no opening credits. All credits, including the title, appear at the end of the film. See more »

Connections

References To Be or Not to Be (1942) See more »

Soundtracks

Polish National Anthem
(uncredited)
Written by Traditional
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A haunting film, one that you won't forget
27 March 2003 | by (Toronto, Ontario) – See all my reviews

I can remember when this film came out I was adamantly against seeing it. I had my preconceived notions that it would be some other heroic Jewish Holocaust film where good triumphs over evil and in between we would see some brutal atrocities committed by the Germans to add some flavour.

How wrong I was.

This is one of the best films I have ever seen and what it did to me I cannot describe in words. But in a nutshell, it moved me, made me cry, made me feel like I was in the Polish ghetto in 1940, and ultimately made me kiss the sidewalks as I walked out of the theater and thanked God that I live in the free society that I do.

Roman Polanski has proved that he is a great director with films like Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby but this is his crowning achievement. I think the fact that this won the awards that it did at this years Oscars goes a long way to validate the brilliance of this film. I believe that the Oscar's are rigged for the most part and films and actresses and such win based more on their pedigree or business associations than anything else, so when it won best actor and director and adapted screenplay this year, it tells you that it should have won best picture but the Weinsteins seem to have a spell over everyone, hence a charlatan like Chicago takes top prize. Sorry for the digression here but when you compare a "film" like Chicago to a masterpiece like The Pianist, there really is one clear cut winner. They handed out the statue to the wrong movie.

The Pianist follows up and coming piano player Wlad Spielzman from his days as a local hero to a prisoner of war to his time in the ghettos, surviving only by the kindness of strangers. I think many people have touched on this before but what makes this film so amazing and well crafted is because Spielzman is a man that we can all relate to. He is not a hero, he is not a rebel and he is not a kamikaze type that wants and lusts after revenge. He is a simple man that is doing everything in his power to stay alive. He is a desperate man and fears for his life and wants to stay as low as he can. Only from the succor he receives from others does he manage to live and breathe and eat and hide. And this is how I related to him. If put in his position, how would I react? Exactly the way he did. This is a man that had everything taken from him. His livelihood, his family, his freedom and almost his life. There is no time for heroics here. Adrien Brody embodies the spirit of Spielzman and his win at this years Oscars was one of the happiest moments I have had watching the festivities. His speech was even better but that is a topic for another time.

Ultimately it is his gift of music that perhaps saves his life and the final scene that he has with the German soldier is one of the most emotionally galvanizing scenes I've witnessed. With very little dialogue, it is in the eyes, the face, the mouth and the sounds that chime throughout their tiny space that tell you all you need to know. I think it is this scene that won Brody his Oscar. This is one of the all time great performances.

I think Polanski spoke from the heart here. He has taken a palette of memories and amalgamated them with what he has read and given us one of the best films of our generation and any other. I think The Pianist will go down as one of the best films of this century and when all is said and done, Chicago will be forgotten the way Ordinary People was forgotten and when people talk about the film The Pianist, they will do so with reverence and respect. This is a cinematic masterpiece.

10 out of 10


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