The Pianist (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Pianist2002

The Pianist (2002)



Critic Consensus: Well-acted and dramatically moving, The Pianist is Polanski's best work in years.

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Movie Info

An adaptation based on the autobiography of the acclaimed Polish composer, Wladyslaw Szpilman, who detailed his survival during World War II, and narrowly escaped a roundup that sent his family to a death camp. A composer and pianist, Szpilman played the last live music heard over Polish radio airwaves before Nazi artillery hit. There, in Poland, Szpilman struggled to stay alive--even when cast away from those he loved. He spent the duration of the war hiding in the ruins of Warsaw and scavenging for food and shelter. Szpilman eventually reclaimed his artistic gifts, and confronted his fears--with aid from the unlikeliest of sources.

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Adrien Brody
as Wladyslaw Szpilman
Emilia Fox
as Dorota
Thomas Kretschmann
as Capt. Wilm Hosenfeld
Maureen Lipman
as The mother
Frank Finlay
as The father
Ruth Platt
as Janina
Wanja Mues
as SS Officer who Slaps the Father
Nomi Sharron
as Woman with the Feather
Anthony Milner
as Man Waiting to Cross
Lucie Skeaping
as Street Musician
Roddy Skeaping
as Street Musician
Ben Harlan
as Street Musician
Thomas Lawinky
as Schutzpolizei
Joachim Paul Assböck
as Schutzpolizei
Roy Smiles
as Itzak Heller
Darian Wawer
as Child at the Wall
Zbigniew Zamachowski
as Client with Change
Lejb Fogelman
as Client with Change
as Rubenstein
Zofia Czerwinska
as Woman with Soup
Emilio Fernandez
as the Soup Snatcher
Uwe Rathsam
as SS Officer Addressed by Woman
Joanna Brodzik
as Woman Addressing SS officer
Maja Ostaszewska
as Woman with Child
John Bennett
as Dr. Ehrlich
Cyril Shaps
as Mr. Grun
Wojciech Smolarz
as Boy with Sweets
Lech Mackiewicz
as Fellow Worker
Frank-Michael Köbe
as SS Officer who Shoots Benek
Peter Rappengluck
as SS Officer Making Speech
Ronan Vibert
as Janina's Husband
Katarzyna Figura
as the Neighbor
Valentine Pelka
as Dorota's Husband
Tom Strauss
as Dr. Luczak
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Critic Reviews for The Pianist

All Critics (186) | Top Critics (49)

True story of a Jewish pianist; OK for older kids.

December 28, 2010 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

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.

February 9, 2006 | Full Review…

The fact that the director never once caves into easy sentiment or cheap hectoring is almost as amazing as the story itself.

August 1, 2003 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

The loneliness, guilt and impotence on Brody's face is haunting. His performance is extraordinary.

March 14, 2003 | Full Review…

Not a celebration of the human spirit, neither demonizing the Germans nor lionizing the Jews, resisting both deceptive moral uplift and despairing moral nihilism, The Pianist is a work of exquisite restraint.

February 21, 2003 | Rating: A+ | Full Review…

The Pianist is a far greater film than Polanski's recent variable track record suggested it might be, a work of sustained tension and ferocious clarity, and as near-perfect a marriage of subject and artist as could be imagined.

February 4, 2003 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Pianist

There are very few films of the Holocaust that aren't huge in scope, and often cover the tragedies of that time. "The Pianist" isn't as bloody or deathly as "Schindler's List" but it definitely shows that survivors came out of it due to pure luck, and that life is very fragile. Adrien Brody as the pianist, Szpilman, lives in the Warsaw Ghetto and after his family is taken to concentration camps, he must survive on luck and his own willpower. He works manual labor and hides at every opportunity. The film is very tense, because his fate is often uncertain, and his allies are often thwarted for their immeasurable help in hiding him. Brody gives an impeccable and heart wrenching performance, starting out with his family and trying to remain light about the situation, but eventually he becomes frail and hollow inside. The film is a shocking depiction of the war, as it should be, and comes from the uncommon perspective of a direct survivor. Haunting and absolutely horrifying, "The Pianist" broaches its subject with thoughtfulness and care.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer


A fine film; worth watching.

Wildaly M
Wildaly M

Super Reviewer

Hard to watch and heartrending but also masterfully made.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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