8.5/10
697,394
910 user 154 critic

The Pianist (2002)

Trailer
1:21 | Trailer
A Polish Jewish musician struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II.

Director:

Roman Polanski

Writers:

Ronald Harwood (screenplay), Wladyslaw Szpilman (book)
Reviews
Popularity
410 ( 59)
Top Rated Movies #35 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 54 wins & 73 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Adrien Brody ... Wladyslaw Szpilman
Emilia Fox ... Dorota
Michal Zebrowski ... Jurek
Ed Stoppard ... Henryk
Maureen Lipman ... Mother
Frank Finlay ... Father
Jessica Kate Meyer ... Halina
Julia Rayner ... Regina
Wanja Mues ... SS Slapping Father
Richard Ridings ... Mr. Lipa
Nomi Sharron Nomi Sharron ... Feather Woman
Anthony Milner Anthony Milner ... Man Waiting to Cross
Lucy Skeaping Lucy Skeaping ... Street Musician (as Lucie Skeaping)
Roddy Skeaping Roddy Skeaping ... Street Musician
Ben Harlan Ben Harlan ... Street Musician
Learn more

More Like This 

Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. An unusual relationship forms as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin's trade.

Director: Luc Besson
Stars: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  

In German-occupied Poland during World War II, industrialist Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazis.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley
Crime | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

The lives of guards on Death Row are affected by one of their charges: a black man accused of child murder and rape, yet who has a mysterious gift.

Director: Frank Darabont
Stars: Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

When an open-minded Jewish librarian and his son become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor, and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp.

Director: Roberto Benigni
Stars: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

After he becomes a quadriplegic from a paragliding accident, an aristocrat hires a young man from the projects to be his caregiver.

Directors: Olivier Nakache, Éric Toledano
Stars: François Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore
Forrest Gump (1994)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

The presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, the events of Vietnam, Watergate and other historical events unfold through the perspective of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75, whose only desire is to be reunited with his childhood sweetheart.

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise
Gladiator (2000)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A former Roman General sets out to exact vengeance against the corrupt emperor who murdered his family and sent him into slavery.

Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen
Fight Club (1999)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

An insomniac office worker and a devil-may-care soapmaker form an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more.

Director: David Fincher
Stars: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Meat Loaf
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

A young F.B.I. cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.

Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney
Se7en (1995)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his motives.

Director: David Fincher
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  

The lives of two mob hitmen, a boxer, a gangster and his wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson
Edit

Storyline

In this adaptation of the autobiography "The Pianist: The Extraordinary True Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939-1945," Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish Jewish radio station pianist, sees Warsaw change gradually as World War II begins. Szpilman is forced into the Warsaw Ghetto, but is later separated from his family during Operation Reinhard. From this time until the concentration camp prisoners are released, Szpilman hides in various locations among the ruins of Warsaw. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Music was his passion. Survival was his masterpiece.

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Both Roman Polanski and Ronald Harwood sat through hours and hours of authentic footage shot by the Germans during the war and were both struck at how orchestrated the footage was, deliberately engineered to produce the most striking effect. See more »

Goofs

Szpilman walks in formation along the street with a group of Jewish workmen. A German officer selects various men and executes them one by one by shooting them in the head. As the last man is shot, the hollow sound of a spent shell casing striking the ground is heard, but a complete cartridge with the bullet falls to the ground. A closer look will reveal it is actually a spent blank cartridge. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dorota: [running from bombing] Mr. Szpilman?
Wladyslaw Szpilman: Hello.
Dorota: Oh, I came specially to meet you. I love your playing.
Wladyslaw Szpilman: Who are you?
Dorota: My name is Dorota. I, I'm Jurek's sister... You're bleeding.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Aside from the Universal and Focus Features credits, there are no opening credits. All credits, including the title, appear at the end of the film. See more »

Connections

References Escape from Sobibor (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Grande Polonaise Brillante, Op. 22 - Allegro Molto
(1830-31)
Written by Frédéric Chopin (as Fryderyk Chopin)
See more »

User Reviews

 
10 out of 10
20 January 2003 | by XananSee all my reviews

The Pianist is an account of the true life experience of a Polish pianist during WW2, in the context of the deportation of the Jewish community to the Ghetto of Warsaw, a setting virtually absent from all films inspired on WW2.

Polanski (himself a child survivor of the Krakow and Warsaw ghettos) could have described in more detail the legendary, desperate fighting of the Jewish resistance in the ghetto of Warsaw, or the horrific mass extermination in concentration camps. Instead, the film gains in intensity by displaying the war from the pianist's own point of view (through windows, half-opened doors, holes in the walls - with big emphasis on the use of "point of view shooting" by the cameraman). One cannot help feeling disturbed by the most enthralling scenes of the film, as the isolated pianist tries to ensure his survival in the ghetto and ruins of Warsaw, hiding and fleeing, moving from one bombed house to the next, gradually becoming a shadow of his former self, hungry and afraid (merit largely attributed to the extraordinary performance by Adrien Brody, who visibly loses half of his weight throughout the film).

Does the pianist raise any sympathy from the audience? Not immediately, in my view. The pianist is more than often a drifting character, almost a witness of other people's and his own horrors. He seems to float and drift along the film like a lost feather, with people quickly appearing and disappearing from his life, some helping generously, others taking advantage of his quiet despair, always maintaining an almost blank, dispassionate demeanour. One may even wonder why we should care in the least about this character. But we do care. That is, I believe, the secret to this film's poetry.

In one of the strongest scenes, towards the end, a German officer forces the pianist to play for his life, in an episode that suddenly brings a much lighter, beautifully poetic shade to the film (this German officer will be probably compared to Schindler, although his philanthropy does not quite share the same basis).

This is also a wonderful tribute to Polish artists, through Chopin's music, with the concert at the very end of the film and the opening performance by the pianist at the local radio station (with the sound of bomb explosions in the background) forming an harmonious link between the beginning and end of the film (following Polanski's usual story-frame).

Overall, The Pianist is one of the most detailed and shocking accounts of the treatment of the Jews by the Nazis, with the atmosphere in Warsaw well captured and believable. Quite possibly, The Pianist will remain in the history of film-making as the most touching and realistic portraits of the holocaust ever made.

Polanski's film deserves a strong presence in the 2003 Oscar nominations, including a nomination for Adrien Brody's amazing performance, Polanski's sublime direction, best adapted screenplay and, obviously, best picture. This could be, at last, Polanski's long awaited, triumphal comeback to the high and mighty Hollywood.


335 of 405 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 910 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

UK | France | Poland | Germany

Language:

English | German | Russian

Release Date:

28 March 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Pianist See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$111,261, 29 December 2002

Gross USA:

$32,572,577

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$120,072,577
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed