6.6/10
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Jakob the Liar (1999)

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2:15 | Trailer
During World War II, an ordinary inhabitant of a ghetto fakes news about Allied offensives to inspire hope for other victims of the Nazi regime.

Director:

Peter Kassovitz

Writers:

Jurek Becker (novel), Peter Kassovitz (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robin Williams ... Jakob
Hannah Taylor Gordon ... Lina
Éva Igó Éva Igó ... Lina's Mother (as Eva Igo)
István Bálint István Bálint ... Lina's Father (as Istvan Balint)
Justus von Dohnányi Justus von Dohnányi ... Preuss
Kathleen Gati ... Hooker
Bob Balaban ... Kowalsky
Alan Arkin ... Frankfurter
Michael Jeter ... Avron
Mark Margolis ... Fajngold
János Gosztonyi János Gosztonyi ... Samuel (as Janos Gosztonyi)
Liev Schreiber ... Mischa
Armin Mueller-Stahl ... Kirschbaum
Ádám Rajhona Ádám Rajhona ... The Whistler (as Adam Rajhona)
Antal Leisen ... Peg-Leg
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Storyline

In 1944 Poland, a Jewish shop keeper named Jakob is summoned to ghetto headquarters after being caught out near curfew. While waiting for the German Kommondant, Jakob overhears a German radio broadcast about Russian troop movements. Returned to the ghetto, the shopkeeper shares his information with a friend and then rumors fly that there is a secret radio within the ghetto. Jakob uses the chance to spread hope throughout the ghetto by continuing to tell favorable tales of information from "his secret radio." Jakob, however, has a real secret in that he is hiding a young Jewish girl who escaped from a camp transport train. A rather uplifting and slightly humorous film about World War II Jewish Ghetto life. Written by Anthony Hughes <husnock31@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He will make you believe. See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence and disturbing images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | Hungary | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 September 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Una señal de esperanza See more »

Filming Locations:

Poland See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$45,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,056,647, 26 September 1999

Gross USA:

$4,956,401

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,956,401
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | SDDS

Color:

Color (Rankcolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Nina Siemaszko's father was actually incarcerated in the Nazi concentration camp of Sachsenhausen during WWII. See more »

Goofs

When Jakob is chasing after the newspaper, a wire pulling the newspaper is briefly visible. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jakob Heym: Hitler goes to a fortune-teller and asks, "When will I die?" And the fortune-teller replies, "On a Jewish holiday." Hitler then asks, "How do you know that?" And she replies, "Any day you die will be a Jewish holiday."
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special thanks to the city and peoples of Piotrków, Poland, the city and peoples of Lódz, Poland and the city and peoples of Budapest, Hungary. See more »


Soundtracks

Beer Barrel Polka (Roll Out The Barrel)
Written by Lew Brown, Wladimir A. Timm (as Wladimir Timm), Jaromir Vejvoda & Vasek Zeman
Performed by Will Glahé (as Will Glahe)
Courtesy of MCA Records
By Arrangement with Universal Music Special Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Worth a look for an underappreciated performance by Williams and some great supporting cast work
14 August 2000 | by sllansoSee all my reviews

I won't repeat the plot as many other comments have taken care of that. Many of Robin Williams' performances have been Robin Williams playing a character -- there's a wink and a hint that he'll bust out with some shtick at any time. He (or the director, or both) contain that impulse to an impressive degree in this movie and do so without the excessive sincerity that Williams often substitutes for emotion in his other parts. (Good Will Hunting contains an overrated performance of this type.) Example: in the scene where he takes on the voices of Churchill, Stalin, and others, it's wholly within his character's desire to persuade the little girl (who's wonderfully played, by the way) that hope remains. I agree that some of the actors, notably Alan Arkin, aren't very good, but other, less-well-known ones support the movie well. In addition, I thought the production design, cinematography, and editing were thoughtful and well-done. And I liked the ending...


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