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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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3,936 ( 523)
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:

$26,152,835
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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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

Real-life lion baby cubs were used on set. See more »

Goofs

The position of the rabbit held by Antonina when she talks to Urszula changes between shots. See more »

Quotes

Antonina Zabinski: People always want to run when they don't know what's coming. It's their first instinct, always to run.
See more »


Soundtracks

Pars pour la Crête (La Belle Hélène)
Written by Jacques Offenbach
Performed by Andrea Vavrusova
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Keeping it PG-13 makes it more powerful emotionally than seeing everything
20 December 2017 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

I enjoyed The Zookeeper's Wife and would recommend it to most audiences. Skillful direction by Niki Caro, excellent sets and costumes, a slightly washed-out look to the cinematography which nonetheless has a full range of color, and a capable cast. The story is based on the actions of the owners of the Warsaw Zoo, who saved the lives of more than three hundred Jews during the Nazi occupation of Poland.

Nonetheless, the performance of Jessica Chastain is the single most important factor in the film. Unlike many American actors, she understands that a Polish woman of the 1940s does not look, move, or carry her features like a contemporary American. So fully does Miss Chastain inhabit her character that I never had the sense of an actress making choices.

The film is a bit long and a bit slow, like most films today, but not to a damaging extent. I particularly admired the way that the official from the Berlin Zoo who becomes a Nazi officer, well played by Daniel Bruhl, has certain scruples and personal moral standards although he embraces the Nazi philosophy. He's a villain, but not a cardboard villain, and part of the suspense of the film is waiting to see which lines he will cross and which he won't.


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