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The Piano (1993)

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A mute woman is sent to 1850s New Zealand along with her young daughter and prized piano for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, but is soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation.

Director:

Jane Campion

Writer:

Jane Campion
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Popularity
2,106 ( 38)
Won 3 Oscars. Another 60 wins & 56 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Holly Hunter ... Ada McGrath
Harvey Keitel ... George Baines
Sam Neill ... Alisdair Stewart
Anna Paquin ... Flora McGrath
Kerry Walker ... Aunt Morag
Geneviève Lemon Geneviève Lemon ... Nessie (as Genevieve Lemon)
Tungia Baker Tungia Baker ... Hira
Ian Mune ... Reverend
Peter Dennett Peter Dennett ... Head Seaman
Te Whatanui Skipwith Te Whatanui Skipwith ... Chief Nihe
Pete Smith ... Hone
Bruce Allpress ... Blind Piano Tuner
Cliff Curtis ... Mana
Carla Rupuha Carla Rupuha ... Heni (Mission Girl)
Mahina Tunui Mahina Tunui ... Mere (Mission Girl)
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Storyline

It is the mid-nineteenth century. Ada cannot speak and she has a young daughter, Flora. In an arranged marriage she leaves her native Scotland accompanied by her daughter and her beloved piano. Life in the rugged forests of New Zealand's North Island is not all she may have imagined and nor is her relationship with her new husband Stewart. She suffers torment and loss when Stewart sells her piano to a neighbor, George. Ada learns from George that she may earn back her piano by giving him piano lessons, but only with certain other conditions attached. At first Ada despises George but slowly their relationship is transformed and this propels them into a dire situation. Written by Patrick Dominick <ptd@ccadfa.cc.adfa.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for moments of extremely graphic sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Release Date:

11 February 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Piano See more »

Filming Locations:

Auckland, New Zealand See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$151,419, 14 November 1993

Gross USA:

$40,157,856

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$40,168,956
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby (Dolby 5.1)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Film debut of Anna Paquin. At the age of nine, she beat out five thousand other girls who sent in audition videotapes for the role of Flora. (NOTE: Castle in the Sky (1986) is Anna Paquin's earliest listed role on IMDB. However, this was an English dub of a Japanese animation film by Hayao Miyazaki. Although the movie itself was first released in Japan in 1986, Paquin did not do the English voice-over for it until 1998. This movie was her first film role ever.) See more »

Goofs

When the boat leaves the island, Ada trails her hand in the water, which is still and calm. On long shots, it is foaming from the action of the oars, and the boat on the water. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ada: The voice you hear is not my speaking voice - -but my mind's voice. I have not spoken since I was six years old. No one knows why - -not even me. My father says it is a dark talent, and the day I take it into my head to stop breathing will be my last. Today he married me to a man I have not yet met. Soon my daughter and I shall join him in his own country. My husband writes that my muteness does not bother him - and hark this! He says, "God loves dumb creatures, so why not I?" '...
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 66th Annual Academy Awards (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Delft Waltz
Michael Nyman
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Quite vivid
31 March 2002 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

Jane Campion is a director of quiet unease. I was not a big admirer of her "Angel At My Table", which had enormous possibilities but was suffocated under the filmmaker's penchant for what I refer to as 'ugly beauty'. Even the beautiful passages in this film are undermined by either something ghastly, something about to become ghastly, or something borne from ghastliness. A New Zealand woman in the 1800s becomes a mail-order bride for an uninterested working man; she's a self-elected mute and communicates through her wizened little daughter (Oscar-winner Anna Pacquin, a bit over-the-top) and through her passion for playing the piano, which becomes a point of contention in her marriage. Engrossing human drama with a torrid undercurrent of sexuality and violence. Many people I've talked to about this film could not get with it, but perhaps that's the fault of watching movies at home. In the theater, this was a slightly-dazed, rapturous and enveloping brew that held me spellbound until the lights went up. Movies like this don't hold the same spell when butchered up by ads for the CBS comedies. Holly Hunter, Sam Neill and, most especially, Harvey Keitel all do terrific work. Hunter deservedly won a Best Actress Oscar. ***1/2 from ****


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