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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.

Director:

Niki Caro

Writers:

Angela Workman (screenplay), Diane Ackerman (based on the book by)
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4,103 ( 162)
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jessica Chastain ... Antonina Zabinska
Johan Heldenbergh ... Jan Zabinski
Daniel Brühl ... Lutz Heck
Timothy Radford ... Ryszard Zabinski (Younger)
Efrat Dor ... Magda Gross
Iddo Goldberg ... Maurycy Fraenkel
Shira Haas ... Urszula
Michael McElhatton ... Jerzyk
Val Maloku Val Maloku ... Ryszard Zabinski (Older)
Martha Issová ... Regina Kenigswein
Daniel Ratimorský Daniel Ratimorský ... Samuel Kenigswein
Frederick Preston ... Miecio Kenigswein
Theo Preston Theo Preston ... Stefcio Kenigswein (as Theodore Preston)
Viktoria Zakharyanova Viktoria Zakharyanova ... Stefania Keningswein (as Viktoria Zakharyanová)
Goran Kostic ... Mr. Kinszerbaum
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Storyline

War brews over Warsaw in 1939, and while life is still running its course, the Germans are slowly beginning to make their presence felt, with Hitler secretly preparing for the German invasion of Poland. Under those circumstances, the young couple of Jan and Antonina Zabinski continue their daily routine as owners and keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, but soon, as German Luftwaffe's Stukas hammer the Polish capital, their life's work together with the city, will turn to ashes. However, with the zoo liquidated for the war effort and many of its animals tragically perished, what was once an animals' zoo, will now serve as a sanctuary where Antonina, the humanist veterinarian, and Jan can hide the persecuted Polish Jews in plain sight until safe houses are found. That was Jan and Antonina's formidable, yet perilous plan, who regardless of the consequences, refused to wither before the Nazi menace, took matters into their own hands and sheltered 300 Jews under the Germans' noses. Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They gave all they had to save all they could 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Czech Republic | UK | USA

Language:

English | German | Hebrew

Release Date:

7 April 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Zookeeper's Wife See more »

Filming Locations:

Prague, Czech Republic See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,288,835, 2 April 2017

Gross USA:

$17,571,660

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$26,127,965
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the pieces Jessica Chastain's character plays on the piano to let the refugees know it's safe to come upstairs is 'The Swan' from 'Carnival of the Animals' by Camille Saint-Saën See more »

Goofs

At 39 min when the pigs are arriving in to the zoo, behind the actors you can clearly see a truck made in the 2000's. See more »

Quotes

Jan Zabinski: I was raised with these people. Gentile, Jewish. It didn't matter to my family. It never mattered to me.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Za scénou: Martha Issová (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Piano Sonata No. 1, 2nd Movement, Op. 2
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performed by Jessica Chastain
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not perfect but good
8 April 2017 | by maricamSee all my reviews

"The Zookeeper's Wife" is based on the lives of Antonina and Jan Zabinski, keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, during the German occupation of Poland during World War II. I class this movie in the same league as "Sophie Scholl: The Final Days" and "It's A Beautiful Life". These are movies which give viewers credit for having a brain as evidenced by a lack of gratuitous violence, blood, gore, and killing.

We don't need to see animals being blown up or girls being raped to know these things happened and were horrible. I don't find graphic images of such things "entertaining" anyway so I appreciated the lack of shock and horror. Instead the writers and director effectively allude to the horror without abusing me, the viewer. Some will say the movie is a sanitized view of WWII and they would be right. But it didn't diminish the impact of the story, which is the entire point of the film.

The story is one of kindness, bravery, and resilience in the face of Nazi evil. It is simply told in a linear fashion. The movie is well filmed and well acted. As entertainment goes it's good. As far as "message", it's as deep as the viewer wants it to be. I found myself thinking, "What would I do in a similar situation?" And if I find myself asking myself that question rather than turning away I call that successful story-telling. A good movie doesn't need to beat up the audience to drive home it's point.

So, mostly I just wanted to provide a review applauding the restraint of the movie maker. For too long I've had little choice in movies I'd want to watch since so many of them feature explosions, gunplay, graphic scenes of murder and rape, gratuitous use of obscenity, profanity, and vulgarity, and rarely give me credit for having any kind of discernment as they beat me over the head with some heavy-handed "message" usually about something with which I completely disagree. "The Zookeeper's Wife" doesn't employ any of these tired, ugly devices. I didn't once feel manipulated. It's not a perfect movie but it was entertaining and left me with plenty to ponder and talk about with others.


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