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Copying Beethoven (2006)

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A fictionalized account of the last year of Beethoven's life.


2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Stars: Paul Rhys, Charles Hazlewood, David Bamber


Credited cast:
Ralph Riach ...
Wenzel Schlemmer
Matyelok Gibbs ...
Old Woman
Bill Stewart ...
Angus Barnett ...
Viktoria Dihen ...
Mother Canisius
Martin Bauer
Gábor Bohus ...
Archduke Rudolph
László Áron ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Márta Hainfart ...
Soloist (Soprano)


Vienna, 1824. In the days before the first performance of the Ninth Symphony, Beethoven needs help with copying out the charts, so a promising student of composition, Anna Holtz, 23, is sent to assist him. She not only aids the transcription of the notes, she provides guidance from the orchestra pit as Beethoven conducts the work's debut. During the next two years, the final ones of Beethoven's life, Anna provides assistance to the deaf, temperamental, ailing man. In return, he tutors her in composition and explains to her the ideas and principles of Romanticism. He tries to speak for God. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He was the greatest composer of his time. One last performance would define his genius. See more »


Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexual elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:


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Release Date:

8 March 2007 (Hungary)  »

Also Known As:

L'élève de Beethoven  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$70,460, 12 November 2006, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$352,786, 31 December 2006
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


In an interview with The Guardian on August 11, 2007, Ed Harris stated that his biggest disappointment has been "The distribution of Copying Beethoven in the US." He also claimed the most important lesson life has taught him is "Don't let MGM distribute a film you care about." See more »


The film depicts Beethoven conducting the premier of his Ninth Symphony with Anna's help and at the end her turning him around at the podium to see the thunderous applause. In reality, Michael Umlauf conducted and although Beethoven was on stage keeping tempo, the orchestra had been told to ignore him. At the end of the performance it was one of the soloists, Caroline Unger, who turned him around to see the enthusiastic applause of the audience. See more »


Ludwig van Beethoven: And now this woman is sent to me at this very moment. What if she was sent by HIM?
Rudy: Women are usually sent by the other one.
Ludwig van Beethoven: Well, suppose it's a sign?
Rudy: A sign for what, Louis?
Ludwig van Beethoven: That it's time.
Rudy: A time for what?
Ludwig van Beethoven: A time for me to join with HIM.
Rudy: Well, if it's true and she was sent by HIM, and she's waiting in your apartment, you shouldn't be sitting here drinking, should you?
See more »


String Quartet No. 15 in A minor Op. 132
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performed by The Takács Quartet
Courtesy of Decca Music Group Limited, part of Universal Music Group International
See more »

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User Reviews

4 December 2006 | by See all my reviews

Yes, I realize that half a dozen other reviewers have called this movie "Copying Amadeus", but it cannot be said enough. Scenes seemed to have been lifted directly from Milos Forman's script with only superficial changes. You can expect to see:

-The maestro's arrogant scene ("I am the voice of god. Everything else is meaningless!")

-The maestro making fun of the mediocre composer's work (complete with raspberries & simulated flatulence, just like in Amadeus)

-The mediocre composer's dialogue with god ("Why do you instill me with music but deny me the ability to compose?")

-The musical dictation from the deathbed scene ("Common time. Begin with the violins... cough cough")

-and the list goes on...

The problem is even worse. Not only were these scenes shamelessly copied, they weren't even done very well. Jeepers, if you're going to rip off an original, at least you should try to improve upon it in your own creative way.

No wait, there's something even worse than that. It's the fact that the director tried to beat the story of Mozart into the story of Beethoven. Folks, Beethoven was not a crass, vulgar slob the way this movie portrays him. Furthermore, Beethoven was not a babbling idiot who takes pointers from his copyist, a 23 year old music student. Unfortunately, films like this are responsible for butchering history.

And another thing, Beethoven (in real life) never called it the "Moonlight Sonata" the way he does in the movie. That name was given by a confused critic some years AFTER BEETHOVEN DIED, and unfortunately it stuck. But Beethoven's original title was "Quasi una Fantasia".

AND ANOTHER THING, when Beethoven (in the movie) yells "B-flat! B-flat! B-flat!" and hits the note on the piano, he's hitting a white key!

AND ANOTHER THINGGG!!! Beethoven (in real life) was completely deaf for several years before the composition of his 9th Symphony. This movie shows him as having barely a minor disability (saying "what?" every other line, just enough to be annoying).

AAAND!! ANNNOTHER!!! THINGGGG...!! The American accents...! Oh never mind. Just... never mind. I've wasted enough time on this already. Go see "Amadeus" again. Then, if you want to see an interesting biopic on the life of Beethoven see "Immortal Beloved" which takes poetic liberties, but at least they're interesting ideas. Lastly, if you want to see something on the lighter side, check out "Impromptu", a film about Chopin. But aside from those three, I've never seen a good homage to a classical composer.

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