56 user 40 critic

Gloomy Sunday (1999)

Gloomy Sunday - Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod (original title)
Follows three men who are in love with a most beautiful waitress: An intellectual restaurant owner, a mysterious musician and an erratic businessman; taking place during the WWII.


Rolf Schübel


Ruth Toma (screenplay), Rolf Schübel (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

On Disc

at Amazon

7 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Erika Marozsán ... Ilona
Joachim Król ... László
Ben Becker ... Hans Wieck
Stefano Dionisi ... András
András Bálint András Bálint ... Ilonas Sohn
Géza Boros Géza Boros ... Geigenspieler
Rolf Becker ... Herr Wieck
Ilse Zielstorff Ilse Zielstorff ... Frau Wieck
Ferenc Bács Ferenc Bács ... Botschafter
Júlia Zsolnai Júlia Zsolnai ... Frau des Botschafters
Áron Sipos Áron Sipos ... Arzt (as Aron Sipos)
Ernst Kahl Ernst Kahl ... Zeichner Torresz
Jörg Gillner Jörg Gillner ... Chefkoch István
Denis Moschitto ... Lehrling Inas
István Mikó István Mikó ... Kartoffelhändler


Budapest in the thirties. The restaurant owner Laszlo hires the pianist András to play in his restaurant. Both men fall in love with the beautiful waitress Ilona who inspires András to his only composition. His song of Gloomy Sunday is, at first, loved and then feared, for its melancholic melody triggers off a chain of suicides. The fragile balance of the erotic ménage à trois is sent off kilter when the German Hans goes and falls in love with Ilona as well. Written by anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Romance | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



Germany | Hungary


German | English | Hungarian

Release Date:

21 October 1999 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Gloomy Sunday See more »

Filming Locations:

Budapest, Hungary See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,102, 22 June 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$223,827, 23 November 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


Black and White (archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The Nazi called Wieck, played by Ben Becker, is a fictionalized SS Col. Kurt Becher, the who was acquitted in Nuremberg of war crimes and who ended up the richest man in Germany. See more »


Beginning at 1:22:06, we can clearly see the set lights over top of the transom that separates the restaurant's vestibule from its main dining room. See more »


László: Everyone would like it all: something for the body, something for the soul. Something that fills you up, something that makes you hungry.
See more »


Szomorú Vasárnap/Gloomy Sunday
Music by Rezsö Seress
Lyrics by László Jávor
English lyrics by Sam Lewis (as Sam M. Lewis)
Akla Musikverlag Berlin
See more »

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User Reviews

Exquisite entertainment
12 January 2003 | by raymond-15See all my reviews

Fact and fiction combine to provide a delightfully entertaining film about a restaurant in Budapest. Clientele flocked there for the good food, the good music and I daresay the beautiful Ilona who served on the tables. What more could one wish for? Unfortunately the good times do come to an end when the Nazis sweep into Hungary and decide forthwith to eliminate the Jewish population.

Strange as it may seem the whole theme of the film revolves around a plaintive tune which first gained popularity in Budapest, later in Europe and then the whole world. The words to the song called "Gloomy Sunday" are full of despair.

The clients who came to the restaurant always asked for this particular melody to be played on the grand piano. It is played many times during the film. It is haunting and addictive. We find ourselves wanting to hear it again and again such is its hypnotic power.

All praise to Erika Marozsan who provides the romantic interest as Ilona in the story. I am told she is a newcomer to the screen, but as an actor she will surely be much sought after in the future. She is beautiful and her close-ups full of feeling. She has lovely hands that caress a lover's face with such gentle charm. She is much admired by Lazlo (Joachim Krol) owner of the restaurant and also by Andras (Stefano Dionisi) newly appointed pianist and composer of "Gloomy Sunday".

All goes well for the threesome until the arrival of a Nazi officer (Ben Becker) who takes a fancy to Ilona despite her constant rebuttals. In their position of power Nazis have the means of disposing of people who stand in their way.

This is a film of contrasts. First we have the beautiful setting which is Budapest, romantic songs and people in love. Then we have the Nazi occupation, loss of freedom and threats of Auschwitz.

This film must be seen to the end. There is an amazing twist of Fate in the last few minutes and it seems to me that at last in some remarkable way justice is seen to be done.

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