Synopsis: The film follows a Jewish family living in Hungary through three generations, rising from humble beginnings to positions of wealth and power in the crumbling Austro-Hungarian Empire. The patriarch becomes a prominent judge but is torn when his government sanctions anti-Jewish persecutions. His son converts to Christianity to advance his career as a champion fencer and Olympic hero, but is caught up in the Holocaust. Finally, the grandson, after surviving war, revolution, loss and betrayal, realizes that his ultimate allegiance must be to himself and his heritage.
Director(s): István Szabó
Production: Paramount Classics
  Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 11 wins & 14 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
181 min

This boy, my great-grandfather,

Emmanuel Sonnenschein,

Emmanuel Sonnenschein,

was only 12 years old...

when he left his village

in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

He had to find work to support

his mother and a brother...

because his father,

the village tavern keeper,

died during an explosion

in his distillery.

[Bells Ringing]



[Woman Sobbing]

[Narrator] The tavern keeper

was much loved in his village.

His tonic,

distilled from local herbs,

helped many of his neighbors

back to health.

The secret recipe

for the tonic...

written in a black,

clothbound book...

- was found amidst the rubble.

- [Crying]


dd [Chiming]

dd [Continues Chiming]

The black notebook hidden

in the lining of his coat...

was my great-grandfather's


Emmanuel found a job

in a Budapest distillery...

where he worked endless hours.

By the age of 25, he had built

his own house and distillery.

He brewed the herbal tonic,

following his father's recipe.

He called it Taste of Sunshine,

using our family name.

Sonnenschein means sunshine.

Emmanuel soon married

Rose Deutsch.

They had two sons: My great uncle

Gustave and Ignatz, my grandfather.

Taste of Sunshine

was an instant success.

When Emmanuel's

younger brother died,

Emmanuel and Rose adopted

the brother's orphaned daughter,


my grandmother.

Good night, darling.

Sweet dreams.

You'll wake up in the morning

happy, healthy and smiling.

God bless.

Good night.


[All Urinating]

- dd [Both Playing Piano]

- One, two, three.

- dd [Pounds Keys]

- Gustave!

dd [Continues]


One, two, three.

dd [Playing Piano]

dd [Continues]


dd [Both Playing]

[Narrator] My grandmother

Valerie was raised...

as if she were Ignatz

and Gustave's sister.

Valerie developed a passion...

for the world's newest miracle:


Ignatz decided to study law, :

Gustave, medicine.

None of Emmanuel's children

had any interest...

in taking up the family business.

My great-grandfather

didn't mind.

He was proud of his children

and their ambitions.

Here, everybody.

[Clicks Shutter]

[Camera Timer Whirring]

[Shutter Snaps]

Try moving away

from the tree.

Wait. Up. Go, go...

Move back a little bit.


Move back.

A little bit further.

Now to your right.

Just a little bit.

Yes. Stop.

Don't move.

- [Laughing]

- My little sister...

I love you very much.

I love you very much as well.

I love you differently

from the way...

I love Gustave

and Father and Mother.

I love you

differently too.

Your little sister misses you

when you're away at school.

So I'm glad you're home.

I shall have to get back

to Vienna soon.

- Take me with you.

- I will.

[Man] You didn't plant them?

They just blossomed?


Yes, they did.

This morning.

Mr. Sonnenschein,

this is a miracle!

[Bells Ringing]

Could someone please

move that chair?


[Bells Continue]


[Snaps Shutter]


dd [Chiming]

Where are they?


off somewhere kissing.

- Gustave!

- What are you saying?

I suggest looking

in the museum gardens.

- They tend to go in there.

- [Footsteps Approaching]

- Sorry we're late.

- Sorry.

[Groans] There's too much salt

in this soup.

Then the cook must be in love.

You must have

made the soup then.

What do you mean

by that, Gustave?

You and Ignatz kissing

in the museum garden yesterday,

- and Tuesday.

- Have you gone mad?


Please don't cry, Rose.

I beg you.

Come with me... now.



I forbid you.

Almighty God is great in nature

and the laws of nature,

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István Szabó

István Szabó (Hungarian: [ˈsɒboː ˈiʃtvaːn]; born February 18, 1938) is a Hungarian film director, screenwriter, and opera director. Szabó is the most internationally famous Hungarian filmmaker since the late 1960s. Working in the tradition of European auteurism, he has made films that represent many of the political and psychological conflicts of Central Europe’s recent history, as well as of his own personal history. He made his first short film in 1959 as a student at the Hungarian Academy of Theatrical and Cinematic Arts, and his first feature film in 1964. He achieved his greatest international success with Mephisto (1981), which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Since then, most of Szabó's films have been international co-productions filmed in a variety of languages and European locations. He has continued to make some films in Hungarian, however, and even in his international co-productions, he often films in Hungary and uses Hungarian talent. Szabó became involved in a national controversy in 2006 when the Hungarian newspaper Life and Literature revealed that he had been an informant of the Communist regime’s secret police. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Sunshine" STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 9 Aug. 2022. <>.

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