7.3/10
33,771
139 user 61 critic

The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)

In 1968, a Czech doctor with an active sex life meets a woman who wants monogamy, and then the Soviet invasion further disrupts their lives.

Director:

Philip Kaufman

Writers:

Milan Kundera (novel), Jean-Claude Carrière (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
3,729 ( 280)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Daniel Day-Lewis ... Tomas
Juliette Binoche ... Tereza
Lena Olin ... Sabina
Derek de Lint ... Franz
Erland Josephson ... The Ambassador
Pavel Landovský ... Pavel
Donald Moffat ... Chief Surgeon
Daniel Olbrychski ... Interior Ministry Official
Stellan Skarsgård ... The Engineer
Tomasz Borkowy Tomasz Borkowy ... Jiri (as Tomek Bork)
Bruce Myers Bruce Myers ... Czech Editor
Pavel Slabý Pavel Slabý ... Pavel's Nephew
Pascale Kalensky Pascale Kalensky ... Nurse Katja
Jacques Ciron Jacques Ciron ... Swiss Restaurant Manager
Anne Lonnberg ... Swiss Photographer
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Storyline

Tomas is a doctor and a lady-killer in 1960s Czechoslovakia, an apolitical man who is struck with love for the bookish country girl Tereza; his more sophisticated sometime lover Sabina eventually accepts their relationship and the two women form an electric friendship. The three are caught up in the events of the Prague Spring (1968), until the Soviet tanks crush the non-violent rebels; their illusions are shattered and their lives change forever. Written by Dan Hartung <dhartung@mcs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Lovers Story.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jean-Claude Carrière's original script deviated drastically from the final film version. Philip Kaufman feared it was too "arty" for a commercial audience. Milan Kundera read Carrière's original script after seeing the film and said, "That's how it should be done." See more »

Goofs

While nowadays, many people in the Czech Republic wear wedding bands on the left hand, back in 1968 they would have worn them on their right hand regardless of their political stance. Both of the main characters are shown in the movie to wear their wedding bands on the left hand as they would have in the U.S., not Czechoslovakia. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
First Title Card: In Prague, in 1968, there lived a young doctor named Tomas...
Tomas: Take off your clothes.
[line recurs several times during film]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Intervention (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

"String Quartet N°1 (Kreutzer Sonata)
Composed by Leos Janácek
(1923)
See more »

User Reviews

Previous reviewer misunderstood movie...
21 July 2003 | by jakkajSee all my reviews

I would have to disagree with the previous reviewer. First of all, the movie should have a "euro" feel to it because it's about Europeans, in Europe, and their European mentality. No car chases here, hot shot. That being said, I only have great praise for this film. It's a tremendous attempt to put to screen the subtle understanding Milan Kundera has of the human condition, and it surprisingly succeeds. For those more interested, I recommend you pick up some of his novels (start with a short story if you are pressed for time) and you, too, will realize why he is one of the best storytellers alive today.


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Details

Country:

Sweden | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 February 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Unbearable Lightness of Being See more »

Filming Locations:

Prague, Czech Republic See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$17,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$202,189, 7 February 1988

Gross USA:

$10,006,806

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,006,806
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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