Zelig (1983)

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,… More

Directed By:
Rated: PG
Running Time:
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: July 15, 1983
DVD Release Date: November 6, 2001
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Critic Score: 100% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Gary Arnold
Washington Post

A sublime comic parable about the quest for identity.

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Vincent Canby
New York Times

Zelig is small but it's one of those Allen comedies by which all his other films will be compared.

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Jeffrey M. Anderson
Combustible Celluloid

Woody Allen's Zelig (1983) perfected the fake documentary a year before This Is Spinal Tap.

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Variety Staff

Lampooning documentary tradition by structuring the entire film as a meticulously crafted bogus docu, Woody Allen tackles some serious stuff en route

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Matt Brunson
Creative Loafing

Gordon Willis' work on this picture is astounding, as he and writer-director-star Woody Allen work in tandem to create a brilliant faux-documentary.

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Steve Crum
Dispatch-Tribune Newspapers

Hilarious Woody Allen vehicle, a mockumentary with special effects ahead of its time.

Tom Huddleston
Time Out

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.

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Peter Bradshaw

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.

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Alan Dale

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.

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More reviews for Zelig

Flixster Audience Score: 88% Flixster User Reviews
Carlos Magalhães
A delightful, original and funny Woody Allen mockumentary that is most impressive due to Gordon Willis' spectacular cinematography and the technique… More
Reid Volk
My mind has now been blown by Woody Allen. I mean, I have always liked him. Yet, this film makes me feel as though I am only beginning to scratch the surface of… More
Alice Shen
This mockumentary about a human chameleon who is able to change race, appearance, and professional demeanor at will is rather clever with the "archive… More
Jonathan Hutchings
Without hesitation or exaggeration, Zelig is the most creative Woody Allen film I've ever seen. It's debatable whether this film was the first true… More
Chris Weber
This is Woody Allen's funny, offbeat, and really cleverly hilarious mockumentary about Leonard Zelig, the "human chameleon"- a man with a… More
Ken Stachnik
One of my new favorite 2nd tier Allen films. An unusual, funny, charming and cute film that's a delight to watch.