7.8/10
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114 user 63 critic

Zelig (1983)

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

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

25 August 1983 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Identity Crisis and Its Relationship to Personality Disorder  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$60,119, 17 July 1983, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$11,798,616
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Around the time the movie was made and released, lead actors Woody Allen and Mia Farrow were in a personal relationship, which had started around 1980. See more »

Goofs

At one point, the narrator mentions that there is a photo of Leonard Zelig as Pagliacci. "Pagliacci" is the Italian plural for "clowns". The correct way to say it would be " a photo of Leonard Zelig as Pagliaccio", or "a photo of Leonard Zelig as Canio (the leading male character, who plays Pagliaccio in a play-within-the-play in the opera "Pagliacci".). See more »

Quotes

Leonard Zelig: [in a hypnotic trance] My brother beat me. My sister beat my brother. My father beat my sister and my brother and me. My mother beat my father and my sister and me and my brother. The neighbors beat our family. The people down the block beat the neighbors and our family.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Family Law (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Chicago (That Toddlin' Town)
(1922)
Written by Fred Fisher
Performed by Dick Hyman
See more »

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User Reviews

 
You Wanted More When It was all over!
28 November 2010 | by See all my reviews

I have to say that even though Zelig is less than 80 minutes, I was deeply saddened by it being over. I actually wanted more of it. Woody Allen is brilliant as Leonard Zelig, a human chameleon, who can transform to other races, religions, and ethnicities. Anyway, Woody Allen does it subtly and brilliantly without going over the top. Woody Allen is a genius with his neurosis. In this film, it's a love story before doctors getting intimate with patients had become a frowned upon today. Zelig came alive in the 1920s and 1930s. His character always seems to be looking for a place to fit in society. Woody Allen's brilliance is really about examining his life in film especially his relationships. The psychiatrist is played by Mia Farrow who was involved with Woody Allen at the time. The cast is usually New York actors like Deborah Rush. But I enjoyed seeing Susan Sontag in this documentary spoof. Zelig is perhaps one of the best spoof documentaries of all time. When it's over, you just want more.


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