6.5/10
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Jakob the Liar (1999)

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In 1944 Poland, a Jewish shop keeper named Jakob is summoned to ghetto headquarters after being caught out near curfew. While waiting for the German Kommondant, Jakob overhears a German ... See full summary »

Director:

Peter Kassovitz

Writers:

Jurek Becker (novel), Peter Kassovitz (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robin Williams ... Jakob
Hannah Taylor Gordon ... Lina
Éva Igó Éva Igó ... Lina's Mother (as Eva Igo)
István Bálint István Bálint ... Lina's Father (as Istvan Balint)
Justus von Dohnányi Justus von Dohnányi ... Preuss
Kathleen Gati ... Hooker
Bob Balaban ... Kowalsky
Alan Arkin ... Frankfurter
Michael Jeter ... Avron
Mark Margolis ... Fajngold
János Gosztonyi János Gosztonyi ... Samuel (as Janos Gosztonyi)
Liev Schreiber ... Mischa
Armin Mueller-Stahl ... Kirschbaum
Ádám Rajhona Ádám Rajhona ... The Whistler (as Adam Rajhona)
Antal Leisen Antal Leisen ... Peg-Leg
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Storyline

In 1944 Poland, a Jewish shop keeper named Jakob is summoned to ghetto headquarters after being caught out near curfew. While waiting for the German Kommondant, Jakob overhears a German radio broadcast about Russian troop movements. Returned to the ghetto, the shopkeeper shares his information with a friend and then rumors fly that there is a secret radio within the ghetto. Jakob uses the chance to spread hope throughout the ghetto by continuing to tell favorable tales of information from "his secret radio." Jakob, however, has a real secret in that he is hiding a young Jewish girl who escaped from a camp transport train. A rather uplifting and slightly humorous film about World War II Jewish Ghetto life. Written by Anthony Hughes <husnock31@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

When all hope was lost, he invented it. See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence and disturbing images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | Hungary | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 September 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Una señal de esperanza See more »

Filming Locations:

Poland See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$45,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,056,647, 26 September 1999, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$4,956,401, 31 October 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | SDDS

Color:

Color (Rankcolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Armin Mueller-Stahl, who plays Dr. Kirschbaum (the Professor) was also in Jacob the Liar (1974) (upon which the 1999 film is based) as Roman Stahm, the brother of the character who was shot. See more »

Goofs

The movie is set in Poland (hence the Polish-languaged signs on buildings, eg Jakob's café), but 'Mischa' is a Russian name (a diminutive form of 'Mikhail'/'Mikal' ('Michael'). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jakob Heym: Hitler goes to a fortune-teller and asks, "When will I die?" And the fortune-teller replies, "On a Jewish holiday." Hitler then asks, "How do you know that?" And she replies, "Any day you die will be a Jewish holiday."
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special thanks to the city and peoples of Piotrków, Poland, the city and peoples of Lódz, Poland and the city and peoples of Budapest, Hungary. See more »


Soundtracks

Beer Barrel Polka (Roll Out The Barrel)
Written by Lew Brown, Wladimir A. Timm (as Wladimir Timm), Jaromir Vejvoda & Vasek Zeman
Performed by Will Glahé (as Will Glahe)
Courtesy of MCA Records
By Arrangement with Universal Music Special Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Misconceptions?
25 September 1999 | by WeebetteSee all my reviews

Maybe the reason I keep hearing so many negative comments on this film is because people aren't seeing it for what it is. It is not a comedy by any stretch of the imagination. It is not an attempt to profit from LA VITA E BELLA (this was filmed in the autumn of '97, before the Benigni film was even released in Italy).

The truth is, JAKOB THE LIAR is an incredible film in its own right. I've read/seen many other Holocaust testimonials (including MAUS and the aforementioned LA VITA E BELLA), but this was by far the most stirring of any of them. I was especially impressed by Robin Williams' performance. Granted, I'm partial to him, but I was completely bowled over by this performance. I believe this is the darkest and most serious role he has ever done, but he pulls it off magnificently.

Don't believe the nay-sayers on this one ... this is incredible. It's a must-see for everyone. Would I lie to you?


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