The Pianist is a bleak, yet powerful story about a brilliant, Polish-Jewish pianist, and the indignities and cruelty suffered by the Jewish people when the Nazis invade Poland in 1941. The movie was directed by Roman Polanski, who received an Oscar for Best Director. Adrian Brody received an Oscar for Best Actor, and Ronald Harwood received an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Wladyslaw Szpilman lives in Warsaw, Poland, with his father (Frank Finlay), his mother (Maureen Lipman) and sisters Halina (Jessica Kate Meyer) and Regina (Julia Raynor). As the Nazis occupied many parts of Europe, Poland was convinced they would be saved after Britain and France declared war on Germany. Much to their chagrin, Germany invades Poland and forces Jewish families to take up residence in the Warsaw Ghetto. After several months, the Jews were rounded up to be transported to the Treblinka Death Camp. Szpilman is saved from certain death at the last moment by a Jewish police officer.
Szpilman hides in the ghetto for several months and soon begins working in a forced labor camp. With a Jewish resistance in the works, Szpilman helps Jews smuggle guns into the work camp. After escaping the camp, Szpilman receives help from non Jewish resistance members. After hiding in several places, he is discovered by a Nazi sympathizer and forced to move again. From the window of his hiding place, Szpilman witnesses the resistance and the ultimate execution of several captured Jews.
After taking refuge in a damaged estate, Szpilman is discovered by a kind Nazi officer, Wilm Hosenfeld (Thomas Kretschmann), who supplies him food and a heavy coat. Hosenfeld tells Szpilman that the war will be over in two to three weeks because the Russians are closing in. After Szpilman is rescued, Poland undergoes reconstruction, and he renews his career as a musician on Polish Radio.