MovieChat Forums > Nijinsky (1980) Discussion > Nijinksy, an incomplete story

Nijinksy, an incomplete story

I saw this film when it first came out in 1980. Being a former dancer myself and having read the Nijinsky legend since childhood, it could not have been more anticipated. Superb casting, even the two main characters, George de la Pena as Nijinsky and Leslie Browne as Romola, who were at that time dancers by profession and not actors - yet fitted perfectly into the roles. Of course, Alan Bates as Serge Diaghalev could not have been a better choice.
What detail went into this film, directed by Herbert Ross who was himself a dancer and choreograper. The costumes and locations alone must have consumed months of research and preparation.
My only concern was that it failed - by necessity I suppose - to tell the complete story, concentrating on the love triangle that obviously would be more appealing and understood by the general public, and Nijinsky's eventual madness. The real Nijinsky fathered two daughters that he dearly loved. He also made tours all over USA that are completely ignored in the film.
There was an earlier film planned, with Rudolph Nureyev as Nijinsky, but it fell through due to problems with Romola, still alive at the time.
It is a fascinating story and if you get a chance, read the book by Romola that is highly inaccurate as discovered over the years, but even so, a wonderful read.


Nureyev would have been electric in this!


I remember reading the book that after WWI broke out, Nijinksy exclaimed pity while watching watching through the window of their hotel suite at boys and men marching off to war.

"Two more swords and I'll be Queen of the Monkey People." Roseanne


This film is not available to me right now, and I could not remember the Diaghilev phrase that I liked so much in this picture. So I came to IMDB with the hope that I might have written the phrase somewhere in this website. And I certainly did! I just found it! Immediately following your message, 2 years ago. The reason I'm telling this to you is because you are right there.

now I'm looking for a quotation from The Moon and Sixpence, but I need a VHS for that.


Hola Petrushka.

Perhaps you can quote to me with more precision this wonderful phrase by Alan Bates in this film, it goes somewhat like this:

The problem with great creators is that they have only so much to give to the world. Soon, all new ballets become old ballets with different hats".

True (true of most artists, Fellni is a case in point).


I wish we could have seen the earlier production by Edward Albee with Nureyev.

This version looked fabulous but seemed undeveloped/unexplored— perhaps because too many crass Americans were in it.