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The Pianist (2002)

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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Top Rated Movies #40 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 52 wins & 73 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

In this adaptation of the autobiography "The Pianist: The Extraordinary True Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939-1945," Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish Jewish radio station pianist, sees Warsaw change gradually as World War II begins. Szpilman is forced into the Warsaw Ghetto, but is later separated from his family during Operation Reinhard. From this time until the concentration camp prisoners are released, Szpilman hides in various locations among the ruins of Warsaw. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Music was his passion. Survival was his masterpiece.

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

28 March 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Pianist  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,949,422 (France) (27 September 2002)

Gross:

$32,519,322 (USA) (30 May 2003)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Over 1,400 actors auditioned for the role of Wladyslaw Szpilman at a casting call in London. Unsatisfied with all who tried, director Roman Polanski sought to cast Adrien Brody, who he saw as ideal for the role during their first meeting in Paris, around the time Brody was shooting The Affair of the Necklace (2001). See more »

Goofs

When Szpilman crosses the bridge, an extra in glasses passes him twice. 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

Featured in Loose Canon: Oscar Bait: A History (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Adrien Brody's Minimalist Acting Packs Maximum Emotional Punch
9 January 2004 | by (Whitehall, PA) – See all my reviews

This wrenching yet ultimately uplifting fact-based drama won Adrien Brody his Academy Award and finally made him a star (along with his gracious yet heartfelt Oscar speech and That Kiss :-) -- rightly so, since title character Wladyslaw Szpilman is a challenging role in so many ways! It's not easy to command the screen when your character often has to be passive, deliberately trying not to draw attention to himself to keep from falling into Nazi hands in war-torn Poland, but Brody pulls it off. It helps that Brody is absolutely stellar at acting with his eyes, plus his body language speaks volumes; these fill in the emotional cracks, especially in scenes where Szpilman, alone and in hiding, can't speak or even move around much for fear of giving himself away. (Brody is the youngest actor to date to win the Best Actor Oscar, BTW, having gotten his little gold man only a month before his 30th birthday.) While there's no lack of haunting scenes, thanks to the deservedly Oscar-winning work of director Roman Polanski and screenwriter Ronald Harwood, the one that always gets me is the one where Szpilman discovers the apartment serving as his latest `safe house' has a piano. We see Szpilman sit at the piano; we see him in a head-and-shoulders shot, shoulders moving; we hear piano music and gasp as we fear his love and longing for music is about to give him away -- and then we see his hands moving in the air just above the keyboard and realize, with both relief and a pang of regret, that the music is only in Szpilman's head. Terrific as the other 2002 Best Actor nominees were, now that I've seen THE PIANIST (as well as the fascinating making-of documentary on the DVD's flip side, showing what a physically and emotionally grueling experience Brody's job often was), I'd be really p***ed off if anybody but Adrien Brody had won! (Besides, the rest of the 2002 Best Actor nominees already won Oscars -- this time it was dark horse Brody's turn! :-)


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