7.7/10
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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

The movie was nominated for two Academy Awards, for Best Costume Design and Best Cinematography, but the film failed to win Oscars in either category. The losses were ironically to Fanny and Alexander (1982), an Ingmar Bergman film, Allen being a big fan of his work, with many of his films having been influenced and inspired by Bergman's work. See more »

Goofs

Mia Farrow continues to wear her [extremely well executed] 1920 fashions well into the mid-1930s, by which time women's styles had changed dramatically in the real world. See more »

Quotes

Leonard Zelig: And to the, to the gentleman who's appendix I took out, I... I'm, I don't know what to say, if it's any consolation I... I may still have it somewhere around the house.
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Take Me Out to the Ballgame
(uncredited)
Music by Albert von Tilzer
[Variations in the score for the baseball scenes]
See more »

User Reviews

 
Woody strikes again!
21 April 2000 | by Mister-6See all my reviews

Woody can be clever. Woody can be funny. And when Woody's clever AND funny, you get "Zelig".

Telling the story of Leonard Zelig (Woody Allen, who else?) who transforms himself chameleon-like into anyone just to get people to like him, he finds himself the object of on-going observation from a kind doctor (Farrow), who eventually falls for him.

But lest you think this is simply a love story, there are also pot-shots at fame, fads, the 1930s (!!), medical conventions, product cash-ins and the joys and pitfalls of celebrity.

Then there's the sheer joy of the technical wizardry that allows Woody's Zelig to stand alongside such figures as Josephine Baker, Brickhouse, William Randolph Hearst, Marion Davies, "Red" Grange, Al Capone, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Lou Gehrig and Fanny Brice. This is the same type of FX visible in "Forrest Gump", and eleven years before the fact! Nice going.

But you haven't lived till you've seen Woody trying to blend in at an Adolph Hitler speech.

There's a lot of slapstick but there's also a lot of great lines ("I have to council a group of chronic masturbators", Zelig complains, "and if I'm late they'll start without me.") Classic.

But at the center of it all is Woody himself, just like his Zelig character, wanting only to be liked, if not loved. He succeeds. Once you see "Zelig", you'll love it.

Eight stars, plus one star more for watching Woody be serenaded by Fanny Brice. He's the cat's pajamas!


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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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