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Leonard Zelig, the "human chameleon", is profiled in this mock-documentary. Director Woody Allen appears as Zelig in scenes that purport to be vintage newsreel clips of the 1920s and 1930s, but are actually clever recreations, "aged" and scratched-up Citizen Kane-style by special-effects maestros Joel Hynick, Stuart Robinson and R. Greenberg Associates. An appropriately pompous narrator details the life and times of Leonard Zelig, whose overwhelming desire for conformity is manifested in his ability to take on the facial and vocal characteristics of whomever he happens to… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Lampooning documentary tradition by structuring the entire film as a meticulously crafted bogus docu, Woody Allen tackles some serious stuff en route"
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Woody Allen's Zelig (1983) perfected the fake documentary a year before This Is Spinal Tap."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Woody Allen's comedy about a self-effacing man, who swiftly changes identities is original, clever, droll, and extremely well shot by ace lenser Gordon Willis."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"...a fairly entertaining little movie...for a while, anyway."
‑ David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews
"The comedy tends to the smirk-inducing rather than the laugh-out-loud, and the second half wanders somewhat, but Zelig is a strong contender for Allen's most fascinating film."
‑ Tom Huddleston, Time Out
"Hilarious Woody Allen vehicle, a mockumentary with special effects ahead of its time."
‑ Steve Crum, Dispatch-Tribune Newspapers
"Brilliant early film of the woodman shows his creative genius as a filmmaker."
‑ Boo Allen, Denton Record Chronicle (TX)
"Clever, but a 20 minute idea stretched to feature length."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"A masterpiece: a brilliant, even passionate historical pastiche, a superbly pregnant meditation on American society and individuality, and an eerie fantasy that will live in your dreams."
‑ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
"Allen is one of the most recognizable, and least protean, performers.... [P]erhaps ... someone else as Zelig ... could have got the idea across without the blandly explicit dialogue and brought more dimensions to the role, besides."
‑ Alan Dale, Blogcritics.org
"Mildly amusing one-joke move."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Absurd and fascinating at the same time."
‑ Christopher Null, Filmcritic.com
More reviews for Zelig on Rotten Tomatoes