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The Pianist (2002)

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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)
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Popularity
572 ( 63)
Top Rated Movies #39 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 53 wins & 73 nominations. See more awards »

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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
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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 »
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Details

Country:

France | Poland | Germany | UK | USA

Language:

English | German | Russian

Release Date:

28 March 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Pianist See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,949,422 (France), 27 September 2002

Opening Weekend USA:

$111,261, 29 December 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$32,572,577, 8 June 2003

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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Roman Polanski could not attend the Academy Award ceremony in Los Angeles where he won the Oscar for Best Director, due to an outstanding arrest warrant for a sexual abuse case. The award was accepted on his behalf by Harrison Ford, who presented it to Polanski five months later at the Deauville Film Festival. See more »

Goofs

When Szpilman crosses the bridge, an extra in glasses passes him twice. 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 Saving Private Ryan (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Stoic, haunting tale of survival
16 January 2003 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

The Pianist tells the story of such a man in war time Poland, played by Adrien Brody, who from start to finish sees his life literally getting worse and worse and worse- starts off with new rules from the Nazis, then the stars on the arms, followed by the Warsaw ghetto, and while there he could play in the restaurant, that too soon ended, as the trains arrived and took his family and anyone else he knew away. During this he narrowly escapes, and from then on the film in a sense almost becomes not exactly a holocaust film, but more like a cross of that as the element and the basic structure of something a-la in Cast Away: this includes stretches of scenes showing Brody simply trying to keep out of view of the Germans, either in a small apartment provided by helpful Polish Christians/Jewish resistance, or as a scavenger in the abandoned sections of the ghetto, all while feeling the old rhythm of the piano in his head and fingertips.

This is the kind of magnificent filmmaking that shows a director not only being as true to the story given to him (that of Painist Szpilman, based on his autobiography) but to his past as well- Roman Polanksi faced similar conditions as a boy in the early 40's, and has found the best line to show, never crossed or mis-stepped, in representing the characters and the period. There aren't any hints of tightened suspense, no clues as to where the film could veer to, it just is. The big difference to be seen between a film like this and Schindler's List is not just in the people and situations (Schindler's List was a film about two people, Schindler and Goeth, in the foreground while the Pianist is a total first person tale), yet also in the filmmaking qualities being here surely European. And while the accents on the Polish-Jewish actors sounds a bit too British, that is quite forgivable considering the scope of the project (thank heavens he didn't put in English speaking Germans).

In conclusion, Brody turns in a superb performance, and this indeed is in with Polanski's best, a deserved of 2002's Palme D'Or. Great music too. A+


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