11 user 2 critic

The Piano Lesson (1995)

1930's Pittsburgh, a brother comes home to claim "my half of the piano", a family heirloom; but his sister is not wanting to part with it. This is a glimpse of the conditions for ... See full summary »


Lloyd Richards


August Wilson (play), August Wilson (teleplay)

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles S. Dutton ... Boy Willie (as Charles Dutton)
Alfre Woodard ... Berniece Charles
Carl Gordon ... Doaker
Tommy Hollis Tommy Hollis ... Avery
Lou Myers ... Wining Boy
Courtney B. Vance ... Lymon
Zelda Harris ... Maretha
Rosalyn Coleman ... Grace
Tommy Lafitte Tommy Lafitte ... Ace
Lynne Innerst Lynne Innerst ... Miss Ophelia
Harold Surratt Harold Surratt ... Papa Willie Boy
Elva Branson Elva Branson ... Mama Berniece
Tim Hartman Tim Hartman ... Sutter
Ben Tatar Ben Tatar ... Watermelon Man
Alice Eisner Alice Eisner ... Watermelon Lady (as Alice Gerber Eisner)


1930's Pittsburgh, a brother comes home to claim "my half of the piano", a family heirloom; but his sister is not wanting to part with it. This is a glimpse of the conditions for African-Americans as well as some of the attitudes and influences on their lives. But whether he is able to sell the piano so that he can get enough money to buy some property and "no longer have to work for someone else" involves the story (or lesson) that the piano has to show him. Written by BOB STEBBINS <stebinsbob@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


To their family, it meant more than a piano... it was their legacy and their future.


Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements | See all certifications »






Release Date:

5 February 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hallmark Hall of Fame: The Piano Lesson (#44.2) See more »

Filming Locations:

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Rocky Carroll was nominated for the 1990 Tony Award (New York City) for Supporting or Features Actor in a Drama for "The Piano Lesson" for his portrayal of the character Lymon. See more »


When Doaker, Wining Boy, Boy Willie and Lymon are sitting at the kitchen table drinking and singing, the level of alcohol rises in their glasses and the bottles between shots. See more »


Edited into Hallmark Hall of Fame (1951) See more »

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User Reviews

A movie you will either like or hate
11 July 2000 | by sutcalSee all my reviews

I must confess I always have difficulty with some of the made for TV movies that I get to watch on my pay tv channels here in Australia.

The Piano lesson is once such movie.

The story line seems to have no real purpose other than a sibling squabble over a family piano. And I am not sure as to what the "supernatural" element to the movie is supposed to do in relation to enhancing the story. Without the absurdity of this, it may have passed as an acceptable "Afro american" period movie.

I am not a big Charles Dutton fan and I feel there is an element of overacting at times with his character who I dislike more and more as the movie goes on.

For me a 4/10 and that was being kind

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