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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
1,655 ( 243)
Won 3 Oscars. Another 60 wins & 56 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Holly Hunter ... Ada McGrath
Harvey Keitel ... George Baines
Sam Neill ... Alisdair Stewart
Anna Paquin ... Flora McGrath
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)

Opening Weekend USA:

$151,419, 14 November 1993

Gross USA:

$40,157,856

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$40,168,956
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
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

We never learn who Flora's illegitimate father is in the film. It was revealed in Campion's novelization of the film, that it was Ada's former piano teacher. See more »

Goofs

When the boat leaves the island, Ada trails her hand in the water, which is still and calm. On long shots, it is foaming from the action of the oars, and the boat on the water. 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?" '...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dog Park (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Coupling
Michael Nyman
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A sensual and surprising film
4 March 2004 | by didi-5See all my reviews

Jane Campion's Oscar-winning movie follows Ada (played by Holly Hunter), an immigrant to the New Zealand outback and an arranged marriage, who has not spoken for years and lives her life through the sound of her piano. Her husband (played by Sam Neill) is a man without much understanding, who tries to break the connection between his new wife and her piano; in contrast to him is the wild illiterate Baines (played by Harvey Keitel), a tattooed loner, who reaches into Ada's soul and helps her to regain contact with her emotions and ultimately, her voice too. The film is visually compelling, with its muted colours and wide open spaces, and uses the soundtrack by Michael Nyman in such a way so all the elements fit together. Keitel and Hunter give excellent performances within a sensitive and sensual screenplay, while Anna Paquin is impressive as Ada's wise daughter, always watching and always aware. Campion managed to make the story touching, involving, and sexy, and it well deserved the plaudits heaped on it.


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