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Sophie's Choice (1982)

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Sophie is the survivor of Nazi concentration camps, who has found a reason to live with Nathan, a sparkling if unsteady American Jew obsessed with the Holocaust. They befriend Stingo, the ... See full summary »

Director:

Alan J. Pakula

Writers:

William Styron (based on the novel: "Sophie's Choice" by), Alan J. Pakula (screenplay)
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Popularity
2,944 ( 230)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 12 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Meryl Streep ... Sophie
Kevin Kline ... Nathan
Peter MacNicol ... Stingo
Rita Karin Rita Karin ... Yetta
Stephen D. Newman Stephen D. Newman ... Larry
Greta Turken Greta Turken ... Leslie Lapidus
Josh Mostel ... Morris Fink
Marcell Rosenblatt Marcell Rosenblatt ... Astrid Weinstein
Moishe Rosenfeld Moishe Rosenfeld ... Moishe Rosenblum
Robin Bartlett ... Lillian Grossman
Eugene Lipinski ... Polish Professor
John Rothman ... Librarian
Joseph Leon Joseph Leon ... Dr. Blackstock
David Wohl ... English Teacher
Nina Polan Nina Polan ... Woman in English Class
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Storyline

Sophie is the survivor of Nazi concentration camps, who has found a reason to live with Nathan, a sparkling if unsteady American Jew obsessed with the Holocaust. They befriend Stingo, the movie's narrator, a young American writer new to New York City. But the happiness of Sophie and Nathan is endangered by her ghosts and his obsessions. Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Between the innocent, the romantic, the sensual, and the unthinkable. There are still some things we have yet to imagine.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Polish | German | French | Russian

Release Date:

4 March 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La decisión de Sophie See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$202,131, 12 December 1982, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$30,036,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After seeing him in this film, John Cleese decided to cast Kevin Kline in his movie A Fish Called Wanda (1988). See more »

Goofs

Slavic surnames ending in -ski/-skiy are, in Slavic grammar, considered adjectives, and so the female form is -ska. Sophie's and Eva's surname should therefore be Zawistowska. Moreover, it is unlikely for Eva's name to be spelt with a 'v' as the proper Polish form is 'Ewa' ('v' does not appear in the Polish alphabet and is only used in foreign names and loanwords). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: It was 1947, two years after the war, when I began my journey to what my father called the Sodom of the north, New York. They called me Stingo, which was the nick name I was known by in those days, if I was called anything at all.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Becker: MisSteaks (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, K525
(1787)
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Courtesy of Intersound, Inc,
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Meryl Streep raises the bar
8 July 2006 | by marissas75See all my reviews

After enjoying Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline in the recent ensemble comedy "A Prairie Home Companion," it was great to see their dramatic performances in "Sophie's Choice," the movie that made them famous. Here, they play Sophie and Nathan, a volatile young couple living in a Brooklyn boardinghouse in the summer of 1947. Their story, and eventually the story of the Polish Sophie's time in a concentration camp during World War II, is presented through the eyes of Stingo (Peter MacNichol), their young Southern neighbor.

Though other characters appear, especially during the flashbacks, "Sophie's Choice" is largely a three-person drama that relies on subtle interactions. Meryl Streep can always be counted on to give a nuanced performance, but here, especially, she raises the bar. Speaking three languages (including a very realistic portrayal of how foreigners can hesitate and hunt for words when speaking English), going from a haggard Auschwitz inmate to a pretty "blooming rose," consumed by guilt even during the madcap or romantic moments she shares with Nathan, she gives a brilliant performance of a very complex character. Her big scenes with Nazi officers are of course powerful, but I was equally struck by smaller moments: the heartbreaking little flashes of emotion that reveal Sophie's postwar wounds, or the extraordinary conversation she has with a Nazi's daughter.

Kline throws himself into the role of the "fatally glamorous" Nathan and also displays impressive range: he goes from charming to menacing. MacNichol is not up to these (admittedly high) standards. He can play the wide-eyed innocent, but he always seems somewhat thick-headed and lacking in passion. The movie would be more effective if Stingo seemed more truly changed by his experiences with Sophie and Nathan.

Despite Stingo's weakness as a character, I liked the unusual structure that reveals Sophie's story gradually, in flashbacks that draw closer and closer to the ultimate horror. The movie is nicely shot and some of the Brooklyn scenes look as though they actually could have come from a 1940s movie. But no director from the 1940s would have confronted the brutalities of the Holocaust so directly, and few actresses from any era could have given a performance like Streep's.


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