The Pianist

Film, Drama
5 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)
An adaptation of concert pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman's memoirs about his experiences in Nazi-occupied Warsaw, Polanski's cinematic return to the ravaged world of his childhood starts inauspiciously, lumbered with the clichés of Ronald Harwood's script. The actors (mostly from British TV) who play the musician's doomed family squabble to order about how to react to events. Once Szpilman is left behind, however, and forced to hide in empty apartments in the ever more unrecognisable city, his struggle simply to survive is rendered with increasing subtlety, and Brody's lead performance steadily comes into its own. Old-fashioned in both visual and narrative style and in its overall restraint, the film clearly benefits from the director's first-hand knowledge of the territory.

Release details

149 mins

Cast and crew

Roman Polanski
Ronald Harwood
Adrien Brody
Thomas Kretschmann
Emilia Fox
Michal Zebrowski
Ed Stoppard
Maureen Lipman
Frank Finlay
Jessica Kate Meyer
Julia Rayner

Average User Rating

4.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

This film simultaneously broke my heart as well as mesmerised me. Anything which is focused genocide or times or war is bound to have a tear-jerking impact on the watcher but this one is very good. Adrian Brody shines and his gentle, sweet portrayal is something special to see. I believe he won an Oscar for it and rightly so. I can't say it's enjoyable for the simple fact that the storyline is pretty dark and harrowing, but it's absolutely worth seeing. 

the final scene with him playing Chopins Ballade No 1 (itself amazing) with Nazi Officer watching must be one of the greatest and most moving pieces of cinema I've ever seen. Nothing comes close