The Pianist

Factual error: An old man appears with children following him. This is supposed to be pedagogue Janusz Korczak. It appeared as if he was just wearing a suit and a Jewish arm band. In the Warsaw Ghetto, Mr. Korczak never wore an arm band and wore his WWI Polish Army Uniform, both as acts of defiance. He was beaten and almost put to death (he had connections) for not wearing an arm band so having one on in the movie is inaccurate.

Factual error: In a few scenes, you can see street signs with inscriptions in Polish, for example "Ulica Lubanski" (Lubanski's Street). In fact, because Polish language retained the Old Slavic case-system with seven cases for nouns, the inscription should be "Ulica Lubanskiego" ('Lubanski' is a nominative noun, and 'Lubanskiego' is a genitive/possessive case).

Factual error: In the scene where the Germans are bombing the wall, the rebels are hiding behind. You can see that the bricks which came out of the wall because of the bombing are lying on the "non-Jewish" part of the wall and not on the ghetto side as it should be.

Factual error: The German tank's gun would not have had powered elevation, and possibly not powered turret traverse (if it was a 75mm Mk. III, or a Mk. IV J), although its appearance was unusually accurate.

Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: The German tank is simulating a PZ III N. The Pz III Ns were converted late models Pz IIIs, its original L60 50mm gun was replaced with a 75mm L/24 gun from the early Pz IVs that were all up-gunned leaving, large numbers of the older 75mm L/24 guns which they were originally equipped now available. The Pz III N is the last variant of this Pz III during the war. It has power traverse and manual elevation.

Factual error: The credit of the film describes the German officer who slapped Szpilman's father as "SS officer who slapped the father." The credit also describes the German soldier who gave a speech to Szpilman and other labor camp prisoners as "SS who gave speech." However, in the film both of these German soldiers were wearing Wehrmacht (i.e. regular Army), not SS, uniforms. SS uniforms can be easily distinguished from Wehrmacht uniforms due to different collar insignia.

Factual error: In the DVD extras, the bio of Thomas Kretschman states that he was an East German swimmer who didn't go to the 1980 Olympics because of the communist boycott. The 1980 Olympics were held in Moscow, therefore no communist boycott. The 1984 games were in Los Angeles, they were boycotted.

Continuity mistake: There is a scene where the Nazis are executing some fighters after destroying their stronghold, and they line them up facing a brick wall. If you look one of them is kneeling down when they get shot, and the bullet line across the wall would not have hit her, especially as she seems to go down before she's even hit.

David Mercier

Factual error: On a real Waffen SS helmet, the SS insignia is always painted on the right side of the helmet while the swastika is always painted on the left side of the helmet. However, in some of the scenes of the film, the SS insignia appeared on the left side of the Waffen SS soldiers' helmet.

Continuity mistake: When Wladek Szpilman is watching the Polish uprising out his window, several rebels attack the German hospital and police station. The pavement starts out icy, but when the Germans run out of the police station, the ice has completely melted.

Continuity mistake: There are various disparities between Szpilman's hair from shot to shot. This is most noticeable when he is told to leave the first apartment; he has a centre parting which changes to being combed back when he starts to smoke the cigarette. There are also continuity problems with his beard and stubble length in some scenes.

David Mercier

Continuity mistake: In the scene where Wladyslaw Szpilman is in the parlor speaking with the German officer (just before he's about to play the piano for him), you can see his breath in the cold air every time he speaks, yet when the camera pans to the German officer, his breath isn't visible.

Factual error: While the Szpilman family is listening to the radio learning of France and Britain's declaration of war, the radio is interrupted with a German radio broadcast. This broadcast however is Goebbel's 1943 Total War speech, while the scene takes place in 1939. (00:04:00)

Thomas Woodman

Factual error: Władysław Szpilman is searching for food in a basement of a ruined house and finds a can. The body of that tin-can is welded with the Soudronic welding method, only invented in 1965. (01:58:01)

Factual error: The tram appearing in December 1939 is a K type no. 403, built in 1940. The same two trams are always on the scene - no. 257 and no. 403. (00:12:05)


Wladyslaw Szpilman: They bombed us, we're off the air.
Henryk Szpilman: Warsaw's not the only radio station.

More quotes from The Pianist

Trivia: Adrian Brody insisted on learning to play the piano himself because he detested the idea of him being in a long shot pretending to play the instrument and then the camera showing someone else's hands on a close up shot actually playing. He said he hated that, not just for him, but on any other film that had such a scene. So he went and took lessons, practicing for hours on end.

Allister Cooper, 2011

More trivia for The Pianist

Question: I want to know how the scene with the Nazis dumping the man in the wheelchair off the balcony was done. How did the man/stuntman manage to survive this fall?


Chosen answer: In the scene, we see the old man being lifted in his wheelchair. Then, there is a cut-away to the family watching from across the street. Then we see someone being dumped from the chair and falling, but we never see him hit the ground. My guess from watching the scene is that the stunt person fell into a cushion which was removed in post-production. Generally, when confronted with a question such as this, I like to refer it to someone who would be in the know - in this case, the stunt team on the film. I looked up that team on, and searched for the individuals on Facebook. Of the twenty or so stunt people and coordinators, I could only find three with unique profiles that made me think I might have the correct individuals: Janusz Kadlubowski, Stella Kuczynska and Zbigniew Modej. I posed your question to them. However, given that I am not connected on Facebook to any of them, I have no idea if or when they would see my message and respond. I will update this answer if I receive further information.

More questions & answers from The Pianist

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.