DirectorJoel Oliansky Music directorLalo Schifrin CountryUnited States
Release dateDecember 3, 1980 WriterJoel Oliansky (screenplay), Joel Oliansky (story), William Sackheim (story) ScreenplayJoel Oliansky, William Sackheim CastRichard Dreyfuss (Paul Dietrich), Amy Irving (Heidi Joan Schoonover), Lee Remick (Greta Vandemann), Sam Wanamaker (Andrew Erskine) Similar moviesAvatar, The Loft, An Education, The Blue Room, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The Nines
TaglineIf you're really in love... nothing's going to stand in your way
The competition 1980 trailer
The Competition is a 1980 American drama film starring Richard Dreyfuss and Amy Irving, directed by Joel Oliansky.
The competition pianist richard dreyfuss shows up the conductor
Paul Dietrich is an extremely gifted but disillusioned classical pianist running out of time to prove himself. He logically knows it is time to give up his attempts to enter piano competitions and instead accept a salaried position as a music teacher. Paul also needs to help his mother and his seriously ill father, but he decides to travel to San Francisco for an international piano competition. Doing so could cost him his job waiting for him in Chicago; nevertheless, he wants to try his luck for the last time before passing the age limit to compete.
The competition for a financial grant and two years of concert engagements pits the intense and arrogant Paul against a select group of talented artists. He advances to the final round of six, which includes a brash New Yorker named Jerry DiSalvo, who only knows how to play one concerto, Michael Humphries, who rehearses in the nude, Canadian pianist, Mark Landau, who is note-perfect but emotionally moribund, and a meek Russian girl, Tatjana Baronova, whose teacher disrupts the competition by defecting to the United States.
Another contestant, Heidi Joan Schoonover, is a young American who developed a romantic inclination toward Paul after meeting him at a music festival. Heidi's esteemed music teacher, Greta Vandemann, advises her to avoid letting personal matters interfere with her concentration. Heidi is also rudely rebuffed by Paul, who also wants to avoid any distraction.
Despite his situation, Paul asks Heidi for a date and pours his heart out to her about his family situation. Just before the competition, she realizes how much winning means to Paul and wants to drop out. Greta, angry, later chastises Paul, blaming him for hurting Heidi's chances by exploiting her guilt over competing against him.
Paul finds Heidi and says that he loves her, and persuades her to stay in the competition. Partway through her performance, Heidi's piano develops a technical problem forcing her to stop. Rather than fold under pressure, Heidi angrily demands to play a different concerto and performs it magnificently. Heidi wins the competition, and Paul finishes in second place.
Immediately after winning, Heidi is ecstatic because she and Paul had agreed to form a partnership, combining their talents and resources to help one another, no matter who won. To her surprise, Paul is upset to realize that she is a more proficient player, telling her he is unable to accept the partnership, then leaves. However, Paul eventually arrives at the celebration party after the competition, ready to take part in Heidi's victory and to be in her life.
Richard Dreyfuss as Paul Dietrich
Amy Irving as Heidi Joan Schoonover
Lee Remick as Greta Vandemann
Sam Wanamaker as Andrew Erskine
Joseph Cali as Jerry DiSalvo
Ty Henderson as Michael Humphries
Vicki Kriegler as Tatjana Baronova
Adam Stern as Mark Landau (see Adam Stern (conductor))
Bea Silvern as Madame Gorshev
Gloria Stroock as Mrs. Dietrich
Philip Sterling as Mr. Dietrich
Priscilla Pointer as Mrs. Donellan
James B. Sikking as Brudenell
Delia Salvi as Mrs. DiSalvo
The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Lalo Schifrin
Ginastera, Piano Sonata No. 1 Eduardo Delgado, Pianist
Brahms, Piano Concerto No. 1 Ralph Grierson, Pianist
Chopin, Piano Concerto in E minor Lincoln Mayorga, Pianist
Prokofiev, Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major Daniel Pollack, Pianist
Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 5
Chester B. Swiatkowski, Pianist
LOVE THEME - THE COMPETITION
Music by Lalo Schifrin
Lyrics by Wilbur Jennings
Song by Randy Crawford
1981 Academy Awards
Nominated: Best Film Editing - David E. Blewitt
Nominated: Best Music, Original Song: "People Alone"
(Music by Lalo Schifrin, Lyrics by Will Jennings)
1981 Golden Globe Awards
Nominated, Best Original Score - Motion Picture - Lalo Schifrin