7.6/10
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261 user 84 critic

The Piano (1993)

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A mute woman is sent to 1850s New Zealand along with her young daughter and prized piano for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, but is soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation.

Director:

Jane Campion

Writer:

Jane Campion
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Popularity
2,058 ( 263)
Won 3 Oscars. Another 60 wins & 56 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Holly Hunter ... Ada
Harvey Keitel ... Baines
Sam Neill ... Stewart
Anna Paquin ... Flora
Kerry Walker Kerry Walker ... Aunt Morag
Geneviève Lemon Geneviève Lemon ... Nessie (as Genevieve Lemon)
Tungia Baker Tungia Baker ... Hira
Ian Mune ... Reverend
Peter Dennett Peter Dennett ... Head Seaman
Te Whatanui Skipwith Te Whatanui Skipwith ... Chief Nihe
Pete Smith ... Hone
Bruce Allpress ... Blind Piano Tuner
Cliff Curtis ... Mana
Carla Rupuha Carla Rupuha ... Heni (Mission Girl)
Mahina Tunui Mahina Tunui ... Mere (Mission Girl)
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Storyline

It is the mid-nineteenth century. Ada cannot speak and she has a young daughter, Flora. In an arranged marriage she leaves her native Scotland accompanied by her daughter and her beloved piano. Life in the rugged forests of New Zealand's North Island is not all she may have imagined and nor is her relationship with her new husband Stewart. She suffers torment and loss when Stewart sells her piano to a neighbor, George. Ada learns from George that she may earn back her piano by giving him piano lessons, but only with certain other conditions attached. At first Ada despises George but slowly their relationship is transformed and this propels them into a dire situation. Written by Patrick Dominick <ptd@ccadfa.cc.adfa.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for moments of extremely graphic sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Release Date:

11 February 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Piano See more »

Filming Locations:

Auckland, New Zealand See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$40,158,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby (Dolby 5.1)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After Lina Wertmüller for Seven Beauties (1975), Jane Campion was only the second woman to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director, and the first for an English language film, as the earlier film was Italian. The only other women to be so nominated are Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation (2003), Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2008), and Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird (2017). Bigelow is the only one of the five to have won the award. See more »

Goofs

Pianos of the period portrayed in the film were made almost entirely of wood, no metal framing at all, and the piano would therefore float, not sink. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ada: The voice you hear is not my speaking voice - -but my mind's voice. I have not spoken since I was six years old. No one knows why - -not even me. My father says it is a dark talent, and the day I take it into my head to stop breathing will be my last. Today he married me to a man I have not yet met. Soon my daughter and I shall join him in his own country. My husband writes that my muteness does not bother him - and hark this! He says, "God loves dumb creatures, so why not I?" '...
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Connections

Featured in At the Movies: The Getaway/Blank Check/My Girl 2 (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

The Grand Old Duke of York
Performed by Anna Paquin
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Quite vivid
31 March 2002 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

Jane Campion is a director of quiet unease. I was not a big admirer of her "Angel At My Table", which had enormous possibilities but was suffocated under the filmmaker's penchant for what I refer to as 'ugly beauty'. Even the beautiful passages in this film are undermined by either something ghastly, something about to become ghastly, or something borne from ghastliness. A New Zealand woman in the 1800s becomes a mail-order bride for an uninterested working man; she's a self-elected mute and communicates through her wizened little daughter (Oscar-winner Anna Pacquin, a bit over-the-top) and through her passion for playing the piano, which becomes a point of contention in her marriage. Engrossing human drama with a torrid undercurrent of sexuality and violence. Many people I've talked to about this film could not get with it, but perhaps that's the fault of watching movies at home. In the theater, this was a slightly-dazed, rapturous and enveloping brew that held me spellbound until the lights went up. Movies like this don't hold the same spell when butchered up by ads for the CBS comedies. Holly Hunter, Sam Neill and, most especially, Harvey Keitel all do terrific work. Hunter deservedly won a Best Actress Oscar. ***1/2 from ****


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