15 user 4 critic

The Chosen (1981)

PG | | Drama | 30 April 1982 (USA)
In 1944, in Brooklyn, two Jewish kids become friends. One is from a very conservative family, and the other is more liberal. The issues of importance of tradition, parental expectations and the formation of Israel cause constant friction.


Jeremy Kagan (as Jeremy Paul Kagan)


Chaim Potok (novel), Edwin Gordon (screenplay)

On Disc

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5 wins. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Maximilian Schell ... Professor David Malter
Rod Steiger ... Reb Saunders
Robby Benson ... Danny Saunders
Barry Miller ... Reuven Malter
Hildy Brooks Hildy Brooks ... Mrs. Saunders
Kaethe Fine Kaethe Fine ... Shaindel Saunders
Ron Rifkin ... Baseball Coach
Robert John Burke ... Levi Saunders (as Robert Burke)
Lonny Price ... Davey
Evan Handler ... Sidney Goldberg
Douglas Warhit ... Sam
Jeffrey Marcus ... Schwartzi (as Jeff Marcus)
Stuart Charno ... 1st Baseman
Richard Lifschutz Richard Lifschutz ... Hassidic Coach
Clement Fowler Clement Fowler ... Doctor


Brooklyn 1944. Despite being the same age, having grown up within blocks of each other, and both being Jewish, late teens Danny Saunders and Reuven Malter don't really know each other - knowing each other only by name and by sight - as Orthodox Danny stays largely within his own Hasidic community, which is just fine in Reuven's mind. An incident between the two which on the surface threatens to tear them even further apart instead blossoms into a friendship between the two. They begin to learn more and more about the other and their lives, which for Danny includes becoming a rabbi, solely as it is a several generations old family calling. In Reb Saunders' mind, he who rules his family by strict Hasidic traditions, Danny becoming the next rabbi in the family is not even a question, despite Danny, deep in his heart, wanting other secular pursuits which he has not told his father. Conversely, Reuven has modern sensibilities, being raised in a two-person household by his widowed academic ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





English | Hebrew | German

Release Date:

30 April 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Os Escolhidos See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Chosen Film Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Robert John Burke's film debut. See more »


In the scene where Danny and Reuven tangle with the three street bullies, a modern (i.e., not 1940's) commercial bus passes in the cross street in the background. See more »


Danny Saunders: Are you angry with me?
Reuven Malter: ...No. I'm not.
See more »


References The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) See more »


That Old Black Magic
Instrumental version
Music by Harold Arlen
The song is playing when Reuven is sitting at the soda counter with his friends
See more »

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User Reviews

Example of how the book is generally better than the movie.
20 January 2003 | by Vesa_TsikoudakisSee all my reviews

Let me start off by saying, the movie wasn't bad. It just wasn't good. It was decent to be kind. The movie was based on 'The Chosen' by Chaim Potok (My Name is Asher Lev, Davita's Harp), which was published in 1967. The book itself is an incredible read and would recommend reading the book as opposed to seeing the movie. To start off, the film quality was pretty awful as was the sound. The casting was less than stellar, with the exception of Maximilian Schell who was great as Professor David Malter. Robby Benson, who in his 70's peak of teenage heartthrob, was waning by this point when he portrayed Danny Saunders. Benson's acting seemed a tad bit forced, kind of like Donny Osmond trying to come back as a pop star in the 80's. Benson's line, 'Freud was a scientist, not just a dreamer!' still makes me cringe at the thought of it. Barry Miller was relatively decent (once again, being kind) of Reuven Malter, however didn't quite fit the book's description of him. The movie's transitions weren't particularly smooth, and they didn't age the characters well at all. The adaptation of the book to script left a lot to be desired. This movie, truly, did not do justice the book. Hopefully, someday, someone will make a remake of it.

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