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The Competition (film)

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Genre  Drama, Romance, Music
Language  English
6.7/10 IMDb

Director  Joel Oliansky
Music director  Lalo Schifrin
Country  United States
The Competition (film) movie poster
Release date  December 3, 1980
Writer  Joel Oliansky (screenplay), Joel Oliansky (story), William Sackheim (story)
Screenplay  Joel Oliansky, William Sackheim
Cast  Richard Dreyfuss (Paul Dietrich), Amy Irving (Heidi Joan Schoonover), Lee Remick (Greta Vandemann), Sam Wanamaker (Andrew Erskine)
Similar movies  Avatar, The Loft, An Education, The Blue Room, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The Nines
Tagline  If you're really in love... nothing's going to stand in your way

The Competition is a 1980 American drama film starring Richard Dreyfuss and Amy Irving, directed by Joel Oliansky.


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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
  • Music

  • 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
    (People Alone)
    Music by Lalo Schifrin
    Lyrics by Wilbur Jennings
    Song by Randy Crawford
  • Awards nomination

    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
  • 1st Golden Raspberry Award
  • Nominated: Worst Actor (Richard Dreyfuss)
  • References

    The Competition (film) Wikipedia
    The Competition (film) IMDbThe Competition (film) Rotten TomatoesThe Competition (film)