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The Zookeeper's Wife (2017)

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The Zookeeper's Wife tells the account of keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, Antonina and Jan Zabinski, who helped save hundreds of people and animals during the German invasion.

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(screenplay), (book)
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741 ( 46)
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Magda Gross
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Maurycy Fraenkel
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Urszula
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Jerzyk
Val Maloku ...
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Regina Kenigswein
Daniel Ratimorský ...
Samuel Kenigswein
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Miecio Kenigswein
Theo Preston ...
Stefcio Kenigswein (as Theodore Preston)
Viktoria Zakharyanova ...
Stefania Keningswein
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Mr. Kinszerbaum
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Storyline

The Zookeeper's Wife tells the account of keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, Antonina and Jan Zabinski, who helped save hundreds of people and animals during the German invasion.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In a nation gripped by fear one woman finds the power to resist See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, disturbing images, violence, brief sexuality, nudity and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

7 April 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Zookeeper's Wife  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,288,835 (USA) (31 March 2017)

Gross:

$17,407,536 (USA) (9 June 2017)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Real-life lion baby cubs were used on set. See more »

Quotes

Antonina Zabinski: We have room... we could hide Magda there.
See more »


Soundtracks

Piano Sonata No. 18 in D, 2nd Movement
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by Andrea Vavrusova
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User Reviews

 
As a holocaust film, Zookeeper's Wife could have done with a little more urgency yet well-intentioned and equally inspiring.
16 May 2017 | by (United Arab Emirates) – See all my reviews

It's hard to think of any other era in human history that Hollywood hasn't exploited but the fact remains that for every life saved during WWII, there are still countless heroes that remain unnamed. Which is why The Zookeeper's Wife is an inspiring story of courage and sacrifice, but also a noble one considering how that war still haunts us on a global scale.

In the titular role is Jessica Chastain as Antonina Zabinski opposite Johan Heldenbergh as Jan Zabinski, zoo operators in Warsaw, just as Germany invades Poland. Antonina loves her animals and this opening segment is beautifully shot and almost dreamlike, but all this changes when bombs drop all over the city. Then comes German zoologist Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl who seems typecast as a German villain in a Hollywood film) with a proposition to move the prized animals to sanctuaries in Germany. Lutz is also an SS Officer and his sinister motives become apparent as the story progresses. Meanwhile, Jan has a plan and not just for the animals – on the pretext of turning their destroyed zoo into a piggery, they would smuggle Polish Jews out of Nazi controlled ghettos and into freedom.

Along with admirable performances from the cast, director Niki Caro's period saga is amiably balanced between a heartwarming true story and powerful moments through the film. One scene has Antonina telling an assaulted girl why she trusts animals more than humans. In another scene, innocent children are seen eager to board a train, not knowing the destination is certain death at Auschwitz. Even as these moments are met with angst from the audience, a little more urgency could have amplified the emotional oomph of these scenes, especially if the script was filmed in the native language of this region but subtitled in English. Yet as a holocaust film based on actual events, The Zookeeper's Wife is a poignant story and at times a stark reminder of atrocities perpetrated by humans on other humans - something even animals wouldn't do; Scarier than that is the thought that if this happened before, it can always happen again.


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