The Legend of 1900 (La leggenda del pianista sull'oceano) (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Legend of 1900 (La leggenda del pianista sull'oceano)1999

The Legend of 1900 (La leggenda del pianista sull'oceano) (1999)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Legend of 1900 (La leggenda del pianista sull'oceano) Photos

Movie Info

Based on a dramatic monologue by Italian novelist Alessandro Baricco, The Legend of 1900 marks the first English language film for director Giuseppe Tornatore. The film stars Tim Roth in the title role and features a stunning score by legendary composer Ennio Morricone. An extraordinary tale of a virtuosos musician born at sea, The Legend of 1900 paints a vivid portrait of a brilliant, but rather unconventional life. Named for the year in which he was born, 1900 grows up in a charmed world of stormy gales and swaying decks as he fashions his existence within the confines of his trans-Atlantic steamer. His natural talent at the piano attracts the attention of jazz legend Jelly Roll Morton, who comes on board to challenge 1900 to a dual. Oblivious to his mounting notoriety, 1900 remains a fixture at sea, forever seduced by the sounds of the Ocean.

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Clarence Williams III
as Jelly Roll Morton
Bill Nunn
as Danny
Easton Gage
as The Young 1900 (1)
Alberto Vazquez
as Mexican Machinist
Cory Buck
as The Young 1900 (2)
Peter Vaughan
as Music Store Owner
Niall O'Brien
as Harbor Chief
Harry Ditson
as Captain
Noriko Aida
as Matress Maker
Norman Chancer
as Impresario
Heathcote Williams
as Doctor Klauserman
Sidney Cole
as Musician
Julien Lovett
as Child 1900
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Critic Reviews for The Legend of 1900 (La leggenda del pianista sull'oceano)

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (12)

...the nearly incessant camera movement suggests only the literal: the ship's progress across the ocean.

March 5, 2019 | Full Review…

A trio of fine performances keeps it from curdling into magical schmaltz. Roth projects a disarmingly elegant presence, and he's equaled by Clarence Williams III, who challenges 1900 to a piano showdown in the film's exuberant centerpiece.

March 5, 2019 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

The Legend of 1900 would have benefited from more story and less music, and tends to wear thin before it quite reaches the dock, but it is a ravishing film. Titanic should have looked so good.

March 5, 2019 | Full Review…

The story's questions regarding fear of the unknown and of the world's infinite dimensions seem too fragile and intellectual a skeleton on which to hang a two-hour film.

June 17, 2008 | Full Review…
Top Critic

As this exquisite fable unfolds, we're increasingly able to recognize ourselves in Tornatore's unlikely hero--and Tornatore is able to find in it unexpected meanings.

August 15, 2002 | Full Review…

The Legend of 1900 has moments of great imagination: a scene, for example, where the piano rolls back and forth across the polished dance floor in a storm, and 1900 keeps on playing. But it never quite develops the conviction we expect.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Legend of 1900 (La leggenda del pianista sull'oceano)

Without any structure, focus or even narrative purpose, still the biggest problem with this disastrous (and overlong) mess of a film is how the personality of its title character (who remains an irritating sketch) and his forced friendship with the protagonist are so poorly developed.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Interesting idea for a movie but it drags a little.

Thomas Johnston
Thomas Johnston

Super Reviewer


This is a large story told in a very small way. I liked it a lot but I really wish it had covered more of 1900's life as a whole instead of just the snippets we got. I would have liked to have seen more of how he lived on the ship such as reactions of others to him and his role. The set direction is very good and all the roles were cast great. I liked the performances and over all I thought the movie was sound.

Jason Spencer
Jason Spencer

Super Reviewer

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