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

1999

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

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

54%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 41

92%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 21,078
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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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Cast

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 (11)

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

  • May 09, 2018
    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 M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 16, 2010
    The art house film, for me can mean one of two things: Something unique that mainstream audiences won't watch, or an experiment in storytelling. The Legend of 1900, or 1900, is both of these categories. It's a fable about a man who lives out his life as a piano player aboard a transatlantic liner, and it's a very interesting story idea. The beginning of the film is odd, with a narrator that looks like something out of a bad film noir. After this initial shock, he does voice one really beautiful moment when a liner full of immigrants comes into New York, and the passengers see the Statue of Liberty. If they had continued in that vein, the movie would have been really wonderful. However, the storytelling shifts rapidly to a jumbled collection of flashbacks from the life of the protagonist (Tim Roth) named...1900. Choppy and uneven as it is, Roth makes him a likeable character, but they introduce some very dull situations for 1900 to live through. There's so much great history to be found around ships like that, it was a shame they didn't exploit it. It disn't need drama, but 1900's character just doesn't adapt or change much. He accepts his life, and is resigned to his failures. He has a lot of them, and even a brief romance goes nowhere, it just sort of stops with nothing much dramatic about it. In fact, he doesn't exploit any of his successes either. 1900's life reaches its peak with a piano duel with Jelly Roll Morton, and after that the movie kind of ambles along, semi-propelled by the narrator Max. (who's rather annoying, like a bad Bogart cliche) But to no avail, the movie reaches a predictable climax, if that's what you can call it, and the move ends. I felt very let down, not because it wasn't happier or sadder just because it was so blah. I'll say this: It has some good moments, and the character is interesting. Like I said above, it won't appeal to many people, but it's an odd little film, and might be worth a watch. It succeeds in being unique, but fails in its experimental storytelling. The Statue of Liberty sequence is the best part, after that, you can turn it off, and not miss much. Or perhaps you will be intrigued. That's why I rate this one 50%: Your life, and your 2 hours is up to you. Make your choice to watch or not to watch, but for Gods sake do something, unlike Mr. 1900.
    Mark K Super Reviewer
  • Sep 23, 2010
    Interesting idea for a movie but it drags a little.
    Thomas J Super Reviewer
  • Sep 13, 2010
    It’s a “legend”=allow for allot of suspension of disbelief and you will be pleasantly rewarded (The plot is no way believable). Giuseppe Tornatore Crafts this story through the eyes of Pruit Taylor Vance (Rub from Nobody’s Fool) about Tim Roth (Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs), Both actors are in my opinion under rated and typically get cast in small limited character rolls. Beyond the relationship, the music and cinematography are beautiful. Roth’s character has a way of ad-libbing his music to match each person he looks at. Not really music I would find on my I-pod, but I’d like to find the sound track. At 2 Hours you really have to hole up to watch this movie and enjoy it.
    Bill C Super Reviewer

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