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3,442 Ratings


Directed by Woody Allen
United States, 1983
Comedy, Fantasy


This mockumentary (false documentary) with period scenes traces the mysterious life of Leonard Zelig, a human chameleon, through newsreel footage of his celebrity encounters and interviews with the people who knew him. Eudora, psychoanalyzing Leonard, discovers that he suffers from a lack of love.

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Zelig Directed by Woody Allen

Awards & Festivals

Venice Film Festival

1983 | Winner: Best Film (Pasinetti Award)

Academy Awards

1984 | 2 nominations including: Best Cinematography

Using black-and-white footage, doctored photos, and interviews with high-brow talking heads and real-life celebrities from the Jazz Age, Allen creates a clever alternate history that is, in a way, its own act of deception—namely, a cover-up for the fact that this is one of his most personal and self-critical projects, allegorically addressing his sense of Jewish identity, his high-brow aspirations post-Annie Hall, and his attempts at imitating his favorite directors.
February 11, 2016
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Beneath the technical spectacle is a stinging allegory about the rise of mass culture, in which the ethnic, working-class Zelig so desires to be like everyone else that he sacrifices his identity in the process.
November 11, 2011
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The technical and aesthetic peak of Woody Allen’s 1980s phase — maybe his whole career — this 1983 mockumentary demonstrates how ambitious and assured the director had become in the 14 years since “Take the Money and Run” (see third slide). It’s one of the greatest examples of form following function in cinema history — a film about a human chameleon that is itself chameleonic…
November 04, 2011
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