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The Pianist



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10

MPAA Rating: R

The painful story of talented pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman, who was living in Warsaw at the beginning of World War II. During the Nazi occupation of Poland, Szpilman (Adrien Brody) eluded deportation and remained in the devastated Warsaw ghetto, struggling through separation from his family, isolation, illness and near starvation. Adapted from his autobiography. Also with Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay, Maureen Lipman and Ed Stoppard. [2:28]

SEX/NUDITY 2 - A man kisses a woman's hand, a man and a woman hug, and a man and a woman flirt. A man takes a bath and we see his bare chest. A woman touches her chest and looks at a man admiringly.

VIOLENCE/GORE 8 - A young boy tries to crawl under a stone wall, he gets half way through, is grabbed from the other side and is beaten to death (we see him struggling and hear him crying out and then he goes limp). A man in a wheelchair is shoved off a balcony and we watch him crash onto the street below. A woman is shot in the head, men are forced to lie face down on the street and are shot one-by-one in the head (blood pours from the wounds). People run into the streets and are gunned down, we see them fall, see blood on their clothing and watch as a truck drives over their bodies (one man was still alive before he was run over). A man and a woman run through a street, the woman is shot and she falls to her knees. We see many dead bodies littering a desolate, rubble covered street (women and children with pools of blood around their heads), we see a few dead bodies lying near a train track, and we see dead bodies slumped against a blood splattered wall. A man is whipped on the back until he falls unconscious and dragged through the mud, and a line of men is whipped by a drunken officer. A soldier is shot as he and others march through a street; guns are fired from the street into a building and the people inside shoot back, fires break out inside the building and we see people jumping out of windows in flames and hear them hit the ground; others are brought out of the building, lined up and shot. Soldiers are shot by civilians, grenades are thrown into a building, and we see puddles of blood on the ground and the building burns. A tank takes aim and fires on a building where a man is hiding, he runs to the roof, he is shot at by men in a building in the distance, and as the man runs through the building again he passes a dead man in a stairwell who is burned and tattered. We see people being shot in a street and dead bodies strewn around, and a man who's pursued lies among them pretending to be dead, as soldiers march by. A flame thrower is used in a building where a man is hiding: he runs, jumps from a low window, hurts his leg, limps away and hides in an attic in a building. A man is shot at by soldiers and they hold him at gunpoint. A pile of dead bodies is set on fire (we see them engulfed in flames and then charred and smoldering). A young boy cries over his father's dead body, and we see a dead body on the street with an exposed bloody leg bone. People walk past a dead body on the street and two men push a cart full of dead bodies. A woman goes mad after having smothered her child while trying to keep it from crying (she moans and talks to herself). A man is beaten with a stick, a man is beaten with a gun butt, a man is punched in the nose and he bleeds, and a man is punched in the face (he falls to the ground, gets up and is forced to walk in the gutter rather than on the sidewalk). We hear a gunshot and a woman screams. Soldiers barge into a building, punch a man, go into an apartment, we hear yelling and watch as a man is surrounded by the soldiers. Lines of wounded people walk through a street, followed by soldiers with guns. We see horse carcasses in a street after a bombing. People are collected, packed onto train cars, the doors are closed and locked and we hear them screaming. A woman begs for water for her unconscious child. An elderly man is forced to dance to keep warm, then others gathered around him are forced to dance with him, and one man with a cane falls to the ground. Soldiers are collected and locked in a pen and are berated by other men walking by. A man tries to steal food from a woman, it spills and he eats it off the dirty street. A man appears very ill and we hear that he has had no nourishment for some time. Soldiers march through rubble strewn streets in a few scenes, while civilians watch in fear. Bombs drop and explode outside a building, windows break, a roof falls in while people inside the building run and dodge the debris, and one man is hit in the head and we see some blood. We watch the degradation of people who are forced to wear arm bands so as to be ethnically labeled, they are forced to leave their homes and belongings, families are separated and we hear that if they do not do as they are ordered they will be severely punished. We hear that people are being hunted down in the streets. As a train full of people pulls away, a man says, " they go to the melting pot," a man talks about people being hanged for helping Jews, and two men talk about extermination. A man hides in a small space behind shelving in a wall. A man and a woman argue.

PROFANITY 5 - 2 F-words, 5 scatological terms, 3 mild obscenities, 4 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

DISCUSSION TOPICS - The Holocaust, anti-Semitism, racism, Nazism, war, conspiracy, socialism, apathy.

MESSAGE - We must hold onto hope in order to survive even the most horrific experiences.

(Note: People smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol.)

Special Keywords: S2 - V8 - P5 - MPAAR

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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