7.7/10
40,047
121 user 68 critic

Zelig (1983)

"Documentary" about a man who can look and act like whoever he's around, and meets various famous people.

Director:

Woody Allen

Writer:

Woody Allen
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Woody Allen ... Leonard Zelig
Mia Farrow ... Dr. Eudora Nesbitt Fletcher
Patrick Horgan ... The Narrator (voice)
John Buckwalter ... Dr. Sindell
Marvin Chatinover ... Glandular Diagnosis Doctor
Stanley Swerdlow Stanley Swerdlow ... Mexican Food Doctor
Paul Nevens Paul Nevens ... Dr. Birsky
Howard Erskine Howard Erskine ... Hypodermic Doctor
George Hamlin George Hamlin ... Experimental Drugs Doctor
Ralph Bell Ralph Bell ... Other Doctor
Richard Whiting Richard Whiting ... Other Doctor
Will Hussung Will Hussung ... Other Doctor (as Will Hussong)
Robert Iglesia Robert Iglesia ... Man in Barber Chair
Eli Resnick Eli Resnick ... Man in Park
Edward McPhillips Edward McPhillips ... Scotsman
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Storyline

Fictional documentary about the life of human chameleon Leonard Zelig, a man who becomes a celebrity in the 1920s due to his ability to look and act like whoever is around him. Clever editing places Zelig in real newsreel footage of Woodrow Wilson, Babe Ruth, and others. Written by Scott Renshaw <as.idc@forsythe.stanford.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Susan Sontag: The academic as herself. See more »

Goofs

Stock footage, particularly of crowd scenes, from the mid-to-late 1920s, continues into the 1930s decade. See more »

Quotes

[Leonard Zelig is apologizing on radio to all the people he misrepresented himself to]
Leonard Zelig: My deepest apology goes to the Trochman family in Detroit. I... I never delivered a baby before in my life, and I... I just thought that ice tongs was the way to do it.
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Connections

Featured in Scene by Scene: Woody Allen (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Chicago (That Toddlin' Town)
Written by Fred Fisher
Performed by Dick Hyman
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User Reviews

 
Zealous about "Zelig"
1 October 1999 | by VarlaamSee all my reviews

Leapin' lizards! This film is brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

"Zelig" was a revelation in 1983, an utterly ingenious faux-documentary, without any precedent, at least not on this scale. Hilarious then, it still is today. That quick glimpse you get of the all-Hasidic production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is priceless. It gives renewed meaning to "Lord, what fools these mortals be!"

Allen's technique is extraordinary. "Zelig" has the best bogus documentary footage quite probably since "Citizen Kane".

As the film urges, everyone should "Do the Chameleon", by seeing "Zelig". Woody Allen creates a trenchant comment on people's desire for conformity: "Everybody, go chameleon." We all tend to do that to some degree, but it's not usually so amusing. Try to blend in with the crowd rushing out to find "Zelig" on video.

It is probably worth noting that a Jewish Nazi is not as ridiculous a stretch as Woody makes it seem. Reinhard Heydrich, the vicious organizer of the Final Solution, fell into that category. The top Nazis were all misfits in one way or another.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

25 August 1983 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

The Cat's Pyjamas See more »

Filming Locations:

New Jersey, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$60,119, 17 July 1983

Gross USA:

$11,798,616

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,798,616
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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