The Pianist

( 36 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Kryssa Schemmerling
After a string of mediocre movies that hardly hinted at Roman Polanski's early glory, The Pianist represents a dazzling comeback -- the director's best work since Chinatown. Call it the anti-Spielberg Holocaust movie. Like Schindler’s List, The Pianist is based on a true story -- in this case, the autobiography of classical pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman Adrien Brody, a Polish Jew who escaped the Nazis and spent World War II hiding...
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Special Features

Insight into the making of the film and its authenticity; Roman Polanski's own story of survival during WWII; Behind-the-scenes interviews with Oscar winners Roman Polanski, Adrien Brody and Ronald Harwood; Clips of Wladyslaw Szpilman playing the piano
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Kryssa Schemmerling
After a string of mediocre movies that hardly hinted at Roman Polanski's early glory, The Pianist represents a dazzling comeback -- the director's best work since Chinatown. Call it the anti-Spielberg Holocaust movie. Like Schindler’s List, The Pianist is based on a true story -- in this case, the autobiography of classical pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman Adrien Brody, a Polish Jew who escaped the Nazis and spent World War II hiding out in Warsaw. But where Spielberg’s film is operatic and ultimately sentimental, Polanski’s is austere, tightly focused, almost clinical in the way it details Szpilman’s quest for survival. An upper-class dandy whose interests in life are limited to music and women, Szpilman is miraculously spared when his entire family, along with the rest of the Warsaw Ghetto, is carted off to the death camps. Brody, in an Oscar-winning performance, is magnificent as a man who is single-minded in his obsession with his music and tenacious in his will to live but hardly heroic: Szpilman’s initial salvation is a stroke of sheer luck. Later, in a stunning and lyrical scene that the entire film builds toward, we see that ultimately his talent as a pianist is the only thing that saves him. If many of the early images from The Pianist are familiar from other Holocaust films, once Szpilman is alone, holed up in a series of empty apartments, peering helplessly through the windows at the war’s devastation, Polanski brings a fresh perspective. The shots of an emaciated, barely alive Szpilman, wandering like a ghost through the rubble of the bombed-out ghetto, are unforgettable. A Polish Holocaust survivor himself, the director films Szpilman’s story with a clarity and authority that clearly derive from his own experience. Both Polanski -- who fled the U.S. decades ago after statutory rape charges -- and newcomer Brody scored upsets at the 2003 Academy Awards, winning the Best Director and Best Actor awards, respectively. Their surprise triumphs are testaments to the power of this remarkable film.
All Movie Guide
This powerful film by Roman Polanski tackles a subject matter and time that has been covered exhaustively in feature films, TV movies and documentaries, but The Pianist is another exceptional story that needed to be told. There have been plenty of dramas regarding the Warsaw Ghetto and the Jewish resistance, but less about the nearly complete destruction of Warsaw by the Nazis near the end of the war just as the Russians were closing in. The Pianist is mostly from the perspective of Wladyslaw Szpilman Adrien Brody, who escapes the concentration camps by luck and is briefly involved in smuggling guns into the Warsaw Ghetto. He escapes the Ghetto with the help of the Polish resistance and spends the rest of the film struggling to survive, while watching the unfolding events in Warsaw as the city is torn to pieces by the Nazis. It is a harrowing and moving story and Szpilman is a completely sympathetic character who doesn't seem at first cut out to survive under such conditions. There are both good and bad Jews, Poles and Nazis in the story, though most of the Nazi characters with the exception of Captain Hosenfeld Thomas Kretschmann are monstrous. Aside from the relentless horrors that Szpilman witnesses, there are moments of great beauty in the film especially in the scenes where he plays piano. The cinematography by Pawel Edelman is fantastic. Beyond being a great film, The Pianist is a testament to the incredible struggle of the Polish people during World War II. Adam Bregman
All Movie Guide - Adam Bregman
This powerful film by Roman Polanski tackles a subject matter and time that has been covered exhaustively in feature films, TV movies and documentaries, but The Pianist is another exceptional story that needed to be told. There have been plenty of dramas regarding the Warsaw Ghetto and the Jewish resistance, but less about the nearly complete destruction of Warsaw by the Nazis near the end of the war just as the Russians were closing in. The Pianist is mostly from the perspective of Wladyslaw Szpilman (Adrien Brody), who escapes the concentration camps by luck and is briefly involved in smuggling guns into the Warsaw Ghetto. He escapes the Ghetto with the help of the Polish resistance and spends the rest of the film struggling to survive, while watching the unfolding events in Warsaw as the city is torn to pieces by the Nazis. It is a harrowing and moving story and Szpilman is a completely sympathetic character who doesn't seem at first cut out to survive under such conditions. There are both good and bad Jews, Poles and Nazis in the story, though most of the Nazi characters with the exception of Captain Hosenfeld (Thomas Kretschmann) are monstrous. Aside from the relentless horrors that Szpilman witnesses, there are moments of great beauty in the film especially in the scenes where he plays piano. The cinematography by Pawel Edelman is fantastic. Beyond being a great film, The Pianist is a testament to the incredible struggle of the Polish people during World War II.
Entertainment Weekly
A movie of riveting power and sadness. Lisa Schwarzbaum
New York Times - A.O. Scott
One of the very few nondocumentary movies about Jewish life and death under the Nazis that can be called definitive.
Washington Post
A near-masterpiece. Desson Howe
New York Observer
A great film of integrity and unforgettable power that leaves you breathless with gratitude. Rex Reed

This powerful film by Roman Polanski tackles a subject matter and time that has been covered exhaustively in feature films, TV movies and documentaries, but The Pianist is another exceptional story that needed to be told. There have been plenty of dramas regarding the Warsaw Ghetto and the Jewish resistance, but less about the nearly complete destruction of Warsaw by the Nazis near the end of the war just as the Russians were closing in. The Pianist is mostly from the perspective of Wladyslaw Szpilman (Adrien Brody), who escapes the concentration camps by luck and is briefly involved in smuggling guns into the Warsaw Ghetto. He escapes the Ghetto with the help of the Polish resistance and spends the rest of the film struggling to survive, while watching the unfolding events in Warsaw as the city is torn to pieces by the Nazis. It is a harrowing and moving story and Szpilman is a completely sympathetic character who doesn't seem at first cut out to survive under such conditions. There are both good and bad Jews, Poles and Nazis in the story, though most of the Nazi characters with the exception of Captain Hosenfeld (Thomas Kretschmann) are monstrous. Aside from the relentless horrors that Szpilman witnesses, there are moments of great beauty in the film especially in the scenes where he plays piano. The cinematography by Pawel Edelman is fantastic. Beyond being a great film, The Pianist is a testament to the incredible struggle of the Polish people during World War II.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/22/2006
  • UPC: 025193088529
  • Original Release: 2002
  • Rating:

  • Source: Focus Features
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound
  • Language: Français
  • Time: 2:30:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 8,067

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Adrien Brody Wladyslaw Szpilman
Thomas Kretschmann Captain Wilm Hosenfeld
Frank Finlay The father
Maureen Lipman The mother
Emilia Fox Dorota
Ed Stoppard Henryk
Julia Rayner Regina
Jessica Kate Meyer Halina
Ruth Platt Janina
Michal Zebrowski Jurek
Katarzyna Figura Neighbor
Technical Credits
Roman Polanski Director, Producer
Robert Benmussa Producer
Jean-Marie Blondel Sound/Sound Designer
Timothy Burrill Executive Producer
Hervé de Luze Editor
Pawel Edelman Cinematographer
Celestia Fox Casting
Gene Gutowski Co-producer
Ronald Harwood Screenwriter
Wojciech Kilar Score Composer
Christian Kunstler Special Effects Supervisor
Heta Mantscheff Casting
Henning Molfenter Executive Producer
Ralph Remstedt Asst. Director
Lew Rywin Executive Producer
Alain Sarde Producer
Rainer Schaper Associate Producer
Anna Sheppard Costumes/Costume Designer
Allan Starski Production Designer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Pianist
1. Warsaw, 1939 [8:14]
2. No Jews Allowed [6:21]
3. Segregated [6:03]
4. A Visit From Itzak [8:05]
5. The SS [8:06]
6. To the Labor Camps [12:26]
7. Itzak Again [12:53]
8. Potatoes and Bread [9:29]
9. In Hiding [11:59]
10. On the Run [9:51]
11. In the Lion's Den [5:11]
12. No Food [5:00]
13. The Uprising [11:00]
14. Mass Destruction [6:08]
15. The Pianist [9:41]
16. A Benefactor [7:11]
17. A New Life [4:51]
18. End Titles [6:26]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Pianist
   Scenes
   Bonus Materials
      Story of Survival
      Theatrical Trailer
      The Pianist Soundtrack Spot
      Cast and Filmmakers
         Wladyslaw Szpilman: Adrien Brody
         Written by: Ronald Harwood
         Directed by: Roman Polanski
      Production Notes
   Languages
      Spoken Language
         English 5.1 Dolby Digital
         Français 5.1 Dolby Digital
      Subtitles
         English SDH
         Español
         Français
         Off
   Play
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 36 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(29)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    The Pianist

    Evocative and thought provoking!Adrien Brody outdid himself!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Hard-Hitting and Realistic

    THE PIANIST is a very fine movie about the survival experiences of a Polish pianist during the Nazi occupation of Warsaw in World War II. The film contains many memorable scenes reflecting both the worst and best of humanity under extremely trying conditions. One such scene shows German soldiers bullying and mocking elderly Jewish refugees and another depicts a Russian tank blasting a building in which the pianist is hiding. In contrast, there is a scene in which a German officer finds the pianist playing the piano in an otherwise vacant building. The German officer seems mesmerized by the music and grateful to be able to experience such a pleasant interlude in the midst of the horrors of war. Immediately a bond is struck between the two men. The role of the pianist is played by Adrien Brody. Also in the cast are Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay, Maureen Lipman, Emilia Fox, Ed Stoppard, Julia Rayner, Jessica Kate Meyer and Michal Zebrowski. THE PIANIST was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. Oscars were won by Adrien Brody for Best Actor in a Leading Role and Roman Polansky for Best Director. Ronald Harwood won an Academy Award as well for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published. In addition, Polanski won a Golden Palm for this motion picture at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Pianist

    This is an amazing movie! the music is fantastic and the actually movie is so sad!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Exellently acted, and played by Brody

    Adrienne Brody did an excellent job along with all others in this somber story about harsh treatment and an individual fight for the right to just live. What I learned from this was that these people were fine sophisticated hard working, and stuck up for them selves, but when you get down to it when they were invaded you had nazis, the Polish army, local police dept,even Jewish police rounding citizens up without giving any thought about rights. The struggle he had, and throughout the movie there were a few close calls and lucky breaks. Im not a critic by profession but this was a film that was excellent. I cant say I enjoyed it(how could you),but it was excellent work and enlightened me to a side I never thought would have happened.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    This Movie was Excellent

    The Pianist by Roman Polanski is quite impressive. Even though the movie depicts horror and tragedy that the jews faced in warsaw poland,1940; I find it quite interesting. Szpilman(the main character played by Adrien Brody) was just a young pianist until Warsaw was invaded by the Nazis in the 1940's. This movie is very sad, because not only does Szpilman lose his dignity as a human being but he loses his family. Szpilman's life was saved by a Jewish Officer who worked for the nazis. When In Hiding a German Officer discover him.Szpilman's life was saved by a German Officer who heard him play Chopin on the paino. I highly recommend this movie to History Lovers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Quite Impressive

    There is no happiness in this film, as the screenwriter and actors combine to produce a steady timeline of events in World War II Warsaw. The viewer barely has time to assess what just previously happened to the Jewish families when a new Nazi action stuns him or her once again. It is brilliant in its ability to bring the viewer into the story, for just as the Jews perceived everything had all happened so quickly, he or she realizes how swiftly the Germans had stolen the very souls of the Polish Jews.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    VERY POWERFUL FILM

    I WILL DEFINITELY BUY THIS ONE! WHICH IS RARE FOR ME TO SAY! THE SHEER COLDNESS OF THE NAZI TROOPS WILL SHOCK YOU. I KEEP REMEMBERING A SCENE WHERE THE NAZIS ARE HERDING UP SOME JEWS, AND THIS WOMAN QUIETLY ASKES 'WHERE ARE WE GOING'? THE GERMAN CALMLY RAISES HIS PISTOL TO HER FORE-HEAD AND SHOOTS HER...WOW!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    From a Pianist

    I eagerly awaited this movie about a fellow musician. However, what I saw was not at all what I expected, but in a very good way. The was horrifying but in a very revelant way, it showed the indomitable spirit of man and his tenacious hold on life. It also showed admirably how music can help a person survive no matter how hard the circumstances. Excellent!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    An epic war story with a very human touch

    This movie is very ''real'' in terms of portraying people who are experiencing war first hand. Adrien Brody plays the protagonist with heartfelt poignancy and depth. At times, I felt that his character should have been more aggressive or ''heroic'', but then I realized, he was human. He was not there as a soldier or political figure or humanitarian. He was there to survive. This movie is all about survival. The movie can be slow at times, but in the end, my reward was that I realized I was given the opportunity to experience something that my present existence has thus far sheltered me from. It makes you appreciate all the people/things you have in life. It's worth watching, even if it's just one time. The acting was extremely realistic, and the storylines are every as bit as riveting as the acting. Adrien Brody deserved the Oscar, but I think the Best Director should have gone to Lord of the Rings.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Amazing and Intense!

    Roman Polanski did a great job adapting a great book into an amazing film. Adrien Brody did an excellent job portraying Wladyslaw Szpilman. This film was intense and very moving. I cried throughout the entire movie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Pianist, a powerful movie

    This is a powerful well made movie wich must be seen. Direction and actiong is superb much deserving of three academy awards notably for best director and best actor.please see this movie, even if your not used to ''slow'' movies stick with it you will be glad you did!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    7 out of 10

    Long, boring. Nice, but not very strong. It looked like it was trying to master the formula that Schindler's List set. Ash raining? A bold try for realistic image. Actually, most of it doesn't look realistic. In the end, the holocaust survivors looked strong and mighty, at least verbally. So, it means that they didn't really suffer? 2 and 1/2 hours, that was a long time to watch. Oscar for Brody doesn't seem to be a worthy achievement. He looked all right in his role. When I compare his role to Jack Nicholson's role of JJ Gittes of Chinatown, Jack blows the doors off. I believe Roman is little bit off in matching the meticulously made film, Chinatown. I wish Roman could do something great as Chinatown again, but I think he needs to go back to the 1950's to 1970's formula, rather than 2000's formula, because it worked the best for him.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Breathtaking!

    This is undoubtedly the most shattering film I've ever watched. The stark reality of Mr. Szpilman's experiences during the holocaust was, at times, difficult to watch....but oh, so necessary. The dignity of this man and his people who suffered such devastation at the hands of Hitler and his Nazi party should be an inspiration to us all. The fact that this was one man's true story makes the story so much more vibrant. Adrien Brody's performance is completely deserving of his Oscar win. Never before have I seen an actor take command of an entire story with such eloquence, even in silence. His evolution from the young and happy man living in the heart of his family to the virtual shell of a man who had been too long without human contact was thoroughly believable and entirely heartwrenching. This film, while not shirking in the depiction of the inhumanity of the Nazi's, skillfully shows that there is good and evil an all people and all races is so very needed today. The fact that Mr. Szpilman survived his ordeal and went on to live a successful love-filled life is the best part of this. See this film! See it sooner rather than later!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Just perfect

    I just loved Adrian Brodys performence. He did deserve the oscar no matter who says otherwise. I would say that the direction was excellent but Polanski is a Pedifiling wussy. This movie deserved what it got and everything more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Honest and balanced account

    Unlike Hollywood movies, this film presents a balanced and honest picture of painful and complicated time in my native Poland. It doesn't use stereotypes - everything rings the truth. I appreciate the rhythm of the film - no rush to conclusion - there is time for reflexion. I read the original Polish edition of Szpilman's book - unemotional account of incredible story. Polanski's account is very faithfull to original. It offers the same perspective of the lonely survivor and a witness to the history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Polanski's Magnum Opus

    This movie is simply unparalleled. Polanski portrays the crude reality of the German occupation of Warsaw Poland with breath taking brilliance. One cannot walk away from this film without being haunted by the poignancy of its enduring theme. This film is a credit to cinema: a portrait of the human spirit. What is not expressed in prose is expressed in the cinematography, music and the theatrical (dramatic) expression of Adrien Brody. The Pianist is a story of life; with all the vicissitudes that accompany circumstance--whether through war or disease--the magnitude of the human spirit cannot be suppressed. The Pianist is both a biography of Szpilman and an elegy to every Jewish victim of genocide and the tyranny of German folly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great movie

    I admire the courage of Roman Polanski, who addressed such a painfull and personal for him theme and made a remarkable and honest movie. I think nobody so far was able to describe the horror of the Holocaust in the movie so personally and objectivelly at the same time. The most terrifying moments on the screen were very quet and that made them more powerfull and haunting. Polanski proved himself as a brilliant director again. And Brody was absolutely excellent.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A moving tale of survival

    The utter despair and devastation of World War II Warsaw comes to life in this poignant tale of one man's battle for survival. The performances are flawless.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    For all mankind

    As morbid as it sounds,I have always been drawn to this particular period of history, the holocaust and the personal stories of its survivors. I loved this film above and beyond any others of this nature. I adore it for countless reasons. Polanski has such an eye for simplicity in the many poignant moments of this story. Although the horror and shock that you have read about is still present, Polanski managed to maintain the most important elements of these people's lives such as integrity, hope, art, innocence, humanity or lack there of. Then to watch it all be stripped away in the manner that it was, was exquisite and heart wrenching. The conscience works over time and you can feel the pit of your stomach cave in. The duration of the film, you feel surrounded. You want to say 'What is happening, I can't believe this is happening', you want to stop it but you know the fate is inevitable. Like Szpilman, we must watch and wish. I could never be so quick or street smart. I am astounded and I wonder 'How did you do it when so many couldn't'? But the answer is there in Brody's eyes. It is there in the music and in every audience member who could not and would not leave until the credits where over and we had finished this man's journey with him. Beauty.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    This One Will Age You Before Your Time.

    As I was walking out of the movie thearter that night I felt like I aged a thousand years in just 2 and a half hours,I felt older than just 14-years-old,I felt like I had seen so much...and yet I still have so much to see and learn. I grew-up that night,all my child-ish feelings and thoughts,my silly dreams,vanished in a whisper...and when I look back on the Jew-ish suffering,I will whisper a prayer for all of them. I felt so more mature then my ''friends'',they seemed so far away,like they didn't know anything. I used to sigh when my mother noted that I had to practice piano,now I play harder than ever,now I worship piano,I play it for Wladyslaw Szpilman,his family,his friends,his neighbors,I play for Adrien Brody,(the most beautiful,sexiest man in the world!)Thank-you Wladyslaw Szpilman,you helped me grow-up.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews