8.5/10
714,360
947 user 157 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 by), Wladyslaw Szpilman (based on the book by)
Reviews
Popularity
795 ( 30)
Top Rated Movies #36 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 54 wins & 74 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
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

Roman Polanski provides the voice of the man waiting to cross the street who complains about a Gentile street running through the ghetto. 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

Referenced in Chinatown: The Legacy (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Nocturne in C# Minor, Posthumous
(1830)
Written by Frédéric Chopin (as Fryderyk Chopin)
See more »

User Reviews

 
An astonishing film
28 April 2003 | by FilmOtakuSee all my reviews

The Pianist is the true story of Wladyslaw Szpilman, at the time Poland's most acclaimed pianist whose life is transformed during the Nazi occupation of Warsaw beginning in 1939. The film spans several years and maps his many personal trials in addition to providing the perspectives of his family, rebel factions and sympathizers.

Brilliantly directed by Roman Polanski and starring an amazing Adrien Brody, The Pianist is bound to garner comparisons to Schindler's List, for obvious reasons. However similar the subject matter, the approach is different. While Schindler's List was filmed in a beautiful, crisp black and white that offered many incredible images, The Pianist was filmed with almost muted color. Schindler's List featured what has been argued as a complicated hero. Oskar Schindler did save many Jews, but not without battling his own materialistic demons first. The Pianist's Szpilman is a sympathetic character throughout. His plight was desperate, and the demons he fought were over his own guilt in surviving a fight that eventually turns into a primal will to live.

Polanski does not spare the viewer any grief with his film. The horrific scenes between the Nazis and the Warsaw Jews were more terrifying and horrible than any horror/suspense movie I have seen in some time, possibly ever. The humiliation and complete loss is wrenching. In several scenes, Jews are lined up in the middle of the night and subjected to either torture or death. In one case, a woman asks of a Nazi officer, "What will happen to us?" and is promptly shot point blank in the head. The camera does not flinch or subdue any of these atrocities.

A mention must be made of Brody's performance. Having only previously seen Brody in two other films, Spike Lee's "Summer of Sam" and Terrence Malick's "The Thin Red Line" (a part that was supposed to be his launch into stardom before his part was unfortunately cut drastically) I knew his potential was great. After his Oscar win, I viewed this movie with more criticism than I normally would have and he certainly did not disappoint. He transcended my expectations. His physical transformation was amazing, but more importantly, he conveyed the sorrow of this man shockingly well - in both verbal and non-verbal contexts. It will be very interesting to see what kind of opportunities this role will afford him, and the kinds of roles he will accept.

Something worth mentioning is the affect this movie had on the audience with whom I viewed this film. Normally, when a film ends, the regular hardcore filmsters like myself will stay and watch the credits in their entirety. The rest of the audience stands up and leaves, usually to the chagrin of the remaining enthusiasts. This was one of the few times I have seen a film at a theater where not one person stood to leave during the final credits. It wasn't until the house lights came up at the end did people begin to disperse. Personally, I hightailed it out of the theater the second the lights came on because not only was my face a mess from crying during the film (Tammy Faye comes to mind) but I had this overwhelming need for an emotional release, so when I reached my car I sat and wept for about five minutes. It has been years since I have watched a film that upset me to that extent. Conversely, while discussing this film with my brother, (someone who loves movies as much and has similar tastes as I do) he mentioned that while he thought the movie was excellent, he wasn't as profoundly emotionally effected as I was. After thinking about this for a couple of days, I realized the difference: The music. As a classical music enthusiast and erstwhile musician, the thought of not being able to enjoy, much less play the music you love is a tragic one. Then the emotional outpouring that comes when you return to it - there aren't words to describe how intense that is. Not having the same appreciation for this musical genre, one will be able to sympathize with the physical and emotional tribulations, but perhaps not in the musical sense.

The Pianist was truly an astonishing film. I was riveted from start to finish and so emotionally affected that I couldn't even consider writing a review until a week later. Having said that, I am filing this away with my list of movies which include Schindlers List and Philadelphia, as films that I love but cannot rewatch for a long time after due to their intensely emotional content.

--Shelly


293 of 353 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 947 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

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 »

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

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page



Recently Viewed