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The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of BeingStill of Juliette Binoche and Daniel Day-Lewis in The Unbearable Lightness of BeingStill of Lena Olin in The Unbearable Lightness of BeingStill of Daniel Day-Lewis in The Unbearable Lightness of BeingStill of Juliette Binoche and Daniel Day-Lewis in The Unbearable Lightness of BeingStill of Daniel Day-Lewis and Lena Olin in The Unbearable Lightness of Being


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.

Release Year: 1988

Rating: 7.3/10 (15,481 voted)

Philip Kaufman

Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Juliette Binoche, Lena Olin

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.

Writers: Milan Kundera, Jean-Claude Carrière


Daniel Day-Lewis


Juliette Binoche


Lena Olin


Derek de Lint


Erland Josephson

The Ambassador

Pavel Landovský


Donald Moffat

Chief Surgeon

Daniel Olbrychski

Interior Ministry Official

Stellan Skarsgård

The Engineer

Tomasz Borkowy


(as Tomek Bork)

Bruce Myers

Czech Editor

Pavel Slabý

Pavel's Nephew

Pascale Kalensky

Nurse Katja

Jacques Ciron

Swiss Restaurant Manager

Anne Lonnberg

Swiss Photographer

A Lovers Story.


Official Website:

Release Date: 5 February 1988

Filming Locations: Bolinas, California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $17,000,000


Opening Weekend: $202,189
(5 February 1988)
(13 Screens)

Gross: $10,006,806

Technical Specs


Did You Know?


Daniel Day-Lewis at first turned down the role feeling the script made him too nice. The script was revised and added in things from the book that made the character less "perfect".


The car that Tomas uses in his first trip (Skoda 100/110) was not built until 1969.


[first lines]

First Title Card:
In Prague, in 1968, there lived a young doctor named Tomas…

Take off your clothes.
[line recurs several times during film]

User Review

Unbearably Beautiful – one of the best films ever made

Rating: 10/10

One of the most romantic films ever made, it shows the problems of people
whose intimacies and personal conflicts are being interrupted by history
the move. I think this film surpasses the novel, which is utterly cynical
(although understandably). Even in the last moments of the novel, Teresa
concerned that Tomas is cheating on her. The film also does well by
much of Franz's character – he was kind of uninteresting compared to
Tomas, and Sabina. It also drops such deadweight characters as Teresa's
mother, Tomas' son, and Franz's wife. Also, a ton of different coworkers
combined into a few, so that their characters have time to develop. By
concentrating on the three central characters, this film blossoms past
the novel ever achieved (although the novel is arguably more historically
important). Philip Kaufman and Jean-Claude Carriere also add a couple of
beautiful scenes that weren't in the novel, including Tomas' and Teresa's
wedding, which is one of the most beautiful scenes in filmdom.