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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:

He will make you believe. 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

Director Peter Kassovitz's son, Mathieu Kassovitz, has a small part in the film. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in Geiger, Gaukler, Gentleman (2001) 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

 
Another solid performance by Robin Williams!
2 March 2004 | by yossarian100See all my reviews

Don't be put off by the negative comments. If you like the characters Robin Williams creates, and you like unusual dramas, you'll like Jakob the Liar. The film wanted to be Roberto Benigni and Life is Beautiful but never seemed to have the courage to go there, even with Robin Williams in the lead, until the last few scenes of the movie. However, being another Life is Beautiful is asking an awful lot. Life is Beautiful is one of the great films of all time. Having said that, Jakob the Liar is fiendishly good, creatively done, and Robin Williams does a fine job, even when Hannah Taylor-Gordon, who plays Lina, wasn't stealing every scene she was in. So, settle down and give this little movie a try. If nothing else, it's another solid performance by Robin Williams.


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