The Pianist


The Pianist

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 182


Audience Score

User Ratings: 252,941
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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.


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 (182) | Top Critics (42) | Fresh (172) | Rotten (10)

Audience Reviews for The Pianist

  • May 02, 2016
    One of Polanski's best films to date, The Pianist is an adaptation of the autobiography from Szpilman who survived the Holocaust in Poland. The story is shockingly realistic, which makes it all the more disturbing. It is a beautiful story about the will to survive even under the most desperate times. Brody gave us one of his best performances. It's good but too disturbing for a second viewing.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Jan 05, 2013
    A fantastic Holocaust film from one of the greatest directors of all time, Roman Polanski, The Pianist is masterfully made and accompanied by an astounding performance from Adrien Brody as a Polish Jew who is confined to the Warsaw ghetto during Nazi occupation of Poland. Well worth watching.
    Joey S Super Reviewer
  • Dec 12, 2012
    Undoubtedly a great movie, but somehow doesn't feel quite as reverent as other pieces--if you've ever read anything about Polanski's life, The Pianist feels autobiographical, focusing largely on one man's journey instead of the plight of a people. And while there is nothing inherently wrong with this approach, The Pianist doesn't reverberate quite as emotively as other films set during the Holocaust. Still, The Pianist is an excellent film. Adrien Brody is haunting and gives what I consider to be one of the best performances I have ever seen. Similarly, the look Polanski achieves with the natural lighting is incredible. Overall, a great film.
    Jeff L Super Reviewer
  • Oct 23, 2012
    Adrien Brody and Thomas Kretschmann give tremendously haunting performances in Roman Polanski's The Pianist. The film does not seek our tears or sympathies, but instead tells the story of Polish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman just as it is, and that makes it all the more emotionally involving. It's length and use of minimalist music may prove too boring or non-dramatic for some, but the Chopin interspersed throughout gave it more than an actual score could. In conclusion, The Pianist features a haunting central performance by Adrien Brody, and despite it's length and a familiar shell story, this is told differently and is more emotionally involving than other films of this subject matter.
    Raymond W Super Reviewer

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