7.1/10
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17 user 5 critic

The Chosen (1981)

PG | | Drama | 30 April 1982 (USA)
In 1944, in Brooklyn, two Jewish kids become friends. One is from a very conservative family, and the other is more liberal. The issues of importance of tradition, parental expectations and the formation of Israel cause constant friction.

Director:

Jeremy Kagan (as Jeremy Paul Kagan)

Writers:

Chaim Potok (novel), Edwin Gordon (screenplay)
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5 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Maximilian Schell ... Professor David Malter
Rod Steiger ... Reb Saunders
Robby Benson ... Danny Saunders
Barry Miller ... Reuven Malter
Hildy Brooks Hildy Brooks ... Mrs. Saunders
Kaethe Fine Kaethe Fine ... Shaindel Saunders
Ron Rifkin ... Baseball Coach
Robert John Burke ... Levi Saunders (as Robert Burke)
Lonny Price ... Davey
Evan Handler ... Sidney Goldberg
Douglas Warhit ... Sam
Jeffrey Marcus ... Schwartzi (as Jeff Marcus)
Stuart Charno ... 1st Baseman
Richard Lifschutz Richard Lifschutz ... Hassidic Coach
Clement Fowler Clement Fowler ... Doctor
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Storyline

Brooklyn 1944. Despite being the same age, having grown up within blocks of each other, and both being Jewish, late teens Danny Saunders and Reuven Malter don't really know each other - knowing each other only by name and by sight - as Orthodox Danny stays largely within his own Hasidic community, which is just fine in Reuven's mind. An incident between the two which on the surface threatens to tear them even further apart instead blossoms into a friendship between the two. They begin to learn more and more about the other and their lives, which for Danny includes becoming a rabbi, solely as it is a several generations old family calling. In Reb Saunders' mind, he who rules his family by strict Hasidic traditions, Danny becoming the next rabbi in the family is not even a question, despite Danny, deep in his heart, wanting other secular pursuits which he has not told his father. Conversely, Reuven has modern sensibilities, being raised in a two-person household by his widowed academic ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Hebrew | German

Release Date:

30 April 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Os Escolhidos See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Chosen Film Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Maximilien Schell and Rod Steiger apparently swapped roles just before production begun. See more »

Goofs

While Danny and Reuvan discuss the Ba'al Shem Tov, he is referred to as "Master of the Good Word." "Shem" is Hebrew for name. The Ba'al Shem Tov's name is "Master of the Good Name" - not Master of the Good Word. See more »

Quotes

Reb Saunders: A heart I need for a son. A soul I need for a son. Compassion and mercy I need from a son. And strength to carry pain I need from a son... self-pride, feeling of superiority, indifference, began to fade away. He learned through the wisdom and the pain of silence that a mind without a heart is nothing... My Daniel is a tzadik. And the world needs a righteous man.
See more »


Soundtracks

That Old Black Magic
(uncredited)
Instrumental version
Music by Harold Arlen
The song is playing when Reuven is sitting at the soda counter with his friends
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Right Choice
3 November 2005 | by Pickwick12See all my reviews

This film is beautiful and thought-provoking in a number of ways. The story is a "normal" account of two Jewish boys growing up during World War II and the creation of the Jewish State. The situations in the film are not overly dramatized or sensationalized. Regular moments with family and friends are rightly judged to be sufficiently interesting to form the basis of a compelling drama.

Historical context serves as a vibrant backdrop for the lives of traditional Jews, who form an ever-diminishing minority, and progressive Jews, who still seek to hold to their heritage while embracing aspects of modern life. The conflict between the two worldviews is marvelously expressed through the friendship of the two boys and through the differences in their fathers, each of whom completely embodies a certain way of life. The film also makes a strong point about children following and not following in their parents' footsteps, and how someone's essence is more important than his career.

There is a Jewish-inspired pathos to this movie that is difficult to describe, but very moving to watch. The acting is great, and the writing is unparalleled. For a long time, I considered this my very favorite film. I have since realized that no one film can possibly occupy that spot, but this one is forever at the top of my list.


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