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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 by), Wladyslaw Szpilman (based on the book by)
Reviews
Popularity
528 ( 83)
Top Rated Movies #35 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 54 wins & 74 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

In order to connect with the feeling of loss required to play the role, Adrien Brody got rid of his apartment, sold his car, and didn't watch television. See more »

Goofs

When Germans parade around after capturing Warsaw, they go down Nowy Swiat street. Before and during the war, the street had a tram route. The street has shown has no tracks. 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.
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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

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Ryan Reynolds/Lady Gaga (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Suite No. 1 BWV 1007 for Solo Cello
(1717-23)
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Jerzy Wolochowicz
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User Reviews

A haunting film, one that you won't forget
27 March 2003 | by baumerSee all my reviews

I can remember when this film came out I was adamantly against seeing it. I had my preconceived notions that it would be some other heroic Jewish Holocaust film where good triumphs over evil and in between we would see some brutal atrocities committed by the Germans to add some flavour.

How wrong I was.

This is one of the best films I have ever seen and what it did to me I cannot describe in words. But in a nutshell, it moved me, made me cry, made me feel like I was in the Polish ghetto in 1940, and ultimately made me kiss the sidewalks as I walked out of the theater and thanked God that I live in the free society that I do.

Roman Polanski has proved that he is a great director with films like Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby but this is his crowning achievement. I think the fact that this won the awards that it did at this years Oscars goes a long way to validate the brilliance of this film. I believe that the Oscar's are rigged for the most part and films and actresses and such win based more on their pedigree or business associations than anything else, so when it won best actor and director and adapted screenplay this year, it tells you that it should have won best picture but the Weinsteins seem to have a spell over everyone, hence a charlatan like Chicago takes top prize. Sorry for the digression here but when you compare a "film" like Chicago to a masterpiece like The Pianist, there really is one clear cut winner. They handed out the statue to the wrong movie.

The Pianist follows up and coming piano player Wlad Spielzman from his days as a local hero to a prisoner of war to his time in the ghettos, surviving only by the kindness of strangers. I think many people have touched on this before but what makes this film so amazing and well crafted is because Spielzman is a man that we can all relate to. He is not a hero, he is not a rebel and he is not a kamikaze type that wants and lusts after revenge. He is a simple man that is doing everything in his power to stay alive. He is a desperate man and fears for his life and wants to stay as low as he can. Only from the succor he receives from others does he manage to live and breathe and eat and hide. And this is how I related to him. If put in his position, how would I react? Exactly the way he did. This is a man that had everything taken from him. His livelihood, his family, his freedom and almost his life. There is no time for heroics here. Adrien Brody embodies the spirit of Spielzman and his win at this years Oscars was one of the happiest moments I have had watching the festivities. His speech was even better but that is a topic for another time.

Ultimately it is his gift of music that perhaps saves his life and the final scene that he has with the German soldier is one of the most emotionally galvanizing scenes I've witnessed. With very little dialogue, it is in the eyes, the face, the mouth and the sounds that chime throughout their tiny space that tell you all you need to know. I think it is this scene that won Brody his Oscar. This is one of the all time great performances.

I think Polanski spoke from the heart here. He has taken a palette of memories and amalgamated them with what he has read and given us one of the best films of our generation and any other. I think The Pianist will go down as one of the best films of this century and when all is said and done, Chicago will be forgotten the way Ordinary People was forgotten and when people talk about the film The Pianist, they will do so with reverence and respect. This is a cinematic masterpiece.

10 out of 10


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site #1 | See more »

Country:

UK | France | Poland | Germany | 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 USA:

$111,261, 29 December 2002

Gross USA:

$32,572,577

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$120,072,577
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color | Black and White (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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