Up 28,462 this week

In Search of Beethoven (2009)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 260 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 8 user | 50 critic | 8 from

The first truly comprehensive feature length cinema documentary ever made about Beethoven. With over 60 live performances.


Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

with Prime Instant Video + 1 more

Editors' Spotlight

Venice Film Festival

See the latest from the 2014 Venice Film Festival

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 897 titles
created 24 May 2012
a list of 45 titles
created 14 Oct 2012
a list of 1248 titles
created 28 Nov 2012
a list of 940 titles
created 01 Jan 2013
a list of 25 titles
created 7 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: In Search of Beethoven (2009)

In Search of Beethoven (2009) on IMDb 7.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of In Search of Beethoven.



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Beethoven (Video 2005)
Animation | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Even as a young boy, Beethoven marched to the beat of a different drummer. Trained in the traditional music methods by his father, Beethoven was an accomplished pianist by the age of 12. ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Rich
Hysteria (TV Series 2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A doctor travels to her hometown of Houston to investigate an epidemic among high school girls that may be spreading through technology.

Stars: Mena Suvari, James McDaniel, Josh Stewart
The Cosmopolitans (TV Series 2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A dramatic comedy about a group of young American expats in Paris searching for love and friendship and an ocean of distance from their past.

Stars: Adam Brody, Carrie MacLemore, Adriano Giannini
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A fictionalized account of the last year of Beethoven's life.

Director: Agnieszka Holland
Stars: Ed Harris, Diane Kruger, Matthew Goode
Hand of God (TV Series 2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A morally-corrupt judge suffers a breakdown and believes God is compelling him onto a path of vigilante justice.

Stars: Ron Perlman, Dana Delany, Andre Royo
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Director: Phil Grabsky
Stars: Frank Adams-Brown, Debbie Arnold, Sean Barrett
Duck Soup (1933)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Rufus T. Firefly is named president/dictator of bankrupt Freedonia and declares war on neighboring Sylvania over the love of wealthy Mrs. Teasdale.

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx
Raw Deal (1948)
Crime | Film-Noir | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Joe Sullivan is itching to get out of prison. He's taken the rap for Rick, who owes him $50 Grand. Rick sets up an escape for Joe, knowing that Joe will be caught escaping and be shot or ... See full summary »

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Dennis O'Keefe, Claire Trevor, Marsha Hunt
Really (TV Series 2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A comedy that revolves around an opinionated group of thirty-something friends in Chicago.

Stars: Jay Chandrasekhar, Sarah Chalke, Selma Blair


Credited cast:
Emanuel Ax ...
Jonathan Biss ...
Riccardo Chailly ...
Alban Gerhardt ...
Hélène Grimaud ...
Janine Jansen ...
Roger Norrington ...
Ilona Schmiel ...
Lars Vogt ...


The first truly comprehensive feature length cinema documentary ever made about Beethoven. With over 60 live performances. Written by Seventh Art Productions

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


'The one film you need to see on Beethoven'



Official Sites:



Release Date:

10 July 2009 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Provides a context to appreciate both the music and the man
28 September 2009 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

Philip Grabsky, whose film In Search of Mozart was one of the highlights of last years' Vancouver International Film Festival, has returned this year with an investigative study of the great 19th century German composer Ludvig Van Beethoven. The documentary, In Search of Beethoven, seen at a VIFF pre-screening, follows the same linear framework as the film about Mozart, sampling sequential compositions of the artist while interspersing the comments of performers, conductors, composers, and music historians such as Emanuel Ax, Hélène Grimaud, Louis Langrée, and Roger Norrington. Performed in the film are snippets of all of Beethoven's nine symphonies, five piano concertos, his only violin concerto, his opera Fidelio, several piano sonatas including the famous "Moonlight" sonata, and several sonatas for violin and piano, beautifully performed by seventeen orchestras, fourteen pianists, four cellists, six singers, and one string quartet. It is a veritable aesthetic feast.

The 138-minute documentary (cut from fourteen hours) explores a unique individual who, while a transformative figure whose music was capable of evoking ecstatic emotions, was a dark, reclusive, and almost unfathomable individual whose cantankerous personality and battles with his growing deafness are legendary. Grabsky follows Beethoven's life from his birth in Bonn in 1750 as the son of a court musician to his adulthood in Vienna where he was quickly recognized as one of the city's most promising musical talents. Developing a reputation as a piano virtuoso, his performing abilities were in great demand yet he also began to be known as a drinker with a personality that could be surly.

With the onset of deafness and a growing frustration with his inability to develop a satisfying and lasting relationship with a woman, Beethoven became depressed and even thought of suicide. In his Heiligenstadt Testament written in 1802 to his brothers Johann and Carl and discovered after his death, he declared that he rejected suicide only because he had to fulfill his destiny to share his music with the world. David Dawson from the Royal Shakespeare Company reads from Beethoven letters, some of which illuminate the composer's state of mind, explore the nature of his illnesses, and discuss his obsessive desire to gain custody of his nephew Karl. The film also mentions the composer's growing indifference to social conventions including the unkempt condition of his person and his general misanthropy, though attempts are made to put his personality problems into perspective.

Unfortunately, however, the spiritual side of Beethoven's nature is left mostly unexplored. Although Grabsky does point out the ethereal nature of some of his later piano sonatas and string quartets, the connection is only tentatively made between his heroic struggle against the afflictions of his life, his ultimate acceptance of them as necessary to his creativity, and the sublime nature of his final works. I would have loved to hear Beethoven quoted in the film saying (as he does in the biography "Beethoven: His Spiritual Development" by J. W. N. Sullivan), "I must despise a world that does not know music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy, the wine which inspires one to new generative processes. I am the Bacchus who presses out this glorious wine for mankind and makes them spiritually drunken." In spite of its limitations, however, In Search of Beethoven takes us beyond the stereotypes of the dishevelled, out-of-control genius and the clichés of films like Immortal Beloved, providing a context to appreciate both the music and the man and the enormous revolution his genius engendered. Conductor Fabio Luisi of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra says it this way: "I have two impressions of Beethoven: a large brain and an equally large heart. These two elements often fight against each other, but frequently they love each other, too. There is so much love, so much empathy and ability to endure suffering. All this comes from his heart."

5 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss In Search of Beethoven (2009) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: