Film Squeezeboxes

Silver Screen Notes (P-S)

The Paleface / Norman Z. MacLeod / 1948

Bob Hope is a cowardly dentist who serenades Jane Russell with his anglo concertina on a westward-bound wagon train.

[Dennis Souter]

El Patrullero Alex Cox / 1992 / USA/Mexico

Features (2 row?) button accordion in two different scenes. Both scenes had a band playing whilst people were dancing. Nice slice of life story. Not light and fluffy. You may remember Alex Cox as the director of "Sid and Nancy" and "Repo Man".


The Party / Blake Edwards / 1967 / UK

with Peter Sellers as an Indian actor. There is a PA player in the Russian band.

[Jeroen Nijhof]

Patton / /

with GC Scott as Patton. Saw and heard a box being played at an Officers Club party near the end of the film


Passion Fish / John Sayles / 1992

A film made in deepest bayous of Louisiana. There's a bit (if my memory serves me right) where John Delafose and band are playing on an open-air stage - I'd be surprised if the box isn't featured - they're certainly on the sound track since I've got the CD.

[Steve Simpson]

John Delafose and the Eugene Playboys can indeed be seen in this film, even twice: once in a club, and once playing on a party/fair in the open.

[Jeroen Nijhof]

The Pelican Brief / Alan J. Paluka / 1993

USA, a few seconds of zydeco can be heard (probably on a cajun 1-row).

[Jeroen Nijhof]

Pelle the Conqueror (Pelle Erobreren) / Bille August / 1988

lots o' pathos in this film. In a wonderful scene an "indentured" Swedish worker plays accordion to entertain his fellow workers. One of the few bright moments.


Pennies From Heaven / Herbert Ross / 1981

Vernel Bagneris played the accordion man.

[Jeroen Nijhof]

The Philadelphia Experiment II / Stephen Cornwell / 1993 / USA

There's a scene with a band, with an accordion in it, playing behind glass (?) I'm not sure whether the accordion can be heard.

[Jeroen Nijhof]

Pinnochio / Disney Production / 1940

Gepeto plays the 'tina.

[Craig Hollingsworth]

Plunkett & Macleane / Jake Scott II / 1999

Adventure packed story about two highwaymen in the 1700s. Robert Carlyle is great once again. Accordion is heard in the "hip" soundtrack and though not era accurate it works very well.


Polish Wedding / /1998

with Gabriel Byrne, Clare Danes, Lena Olin. Lots of good, wet-tuned accordion on the soundtrack, and one scene where Byrne, in the role of a Polish immigrant baker in Detroit, is playing an old-fashioned piano accordion.

[Eric Root]

Postcards from the Edge / Mike Nichols / 1990

At the end Meryl Streep sings "I'm Movin' Out of This Heartbreak Hotel" accompanied by a band where an accordion is seen and heard.

[Lorraine Lica]

Il Postino / Michael Radford / 1994

squeeze in the sound track.


Sad-issimo film about a postman and Pablo Neruda. The accordion plays at the postman's wedding... complete with ragged quality - very authentic.

[Fiona Frank]

The Princess Comes Across / William K. Howard /1936

In a scheme to get her foot in the door in Hollywood, a Brooklyn girl does a Garbo imitation and poses as a Swedish princess, coming to America in grand style on a cruise ship. But when implicated in a murder she turns to a fellow passenger, concertina-playing bandleader King Mantell (Fred MacMurray), to protect her freedom and her secrets from the detectives.

[Jeroen Nijhof]

The Professional / Luc Besson / 1994

Starring Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman. Accordion music, Madonna's "Material Girl"?.

[Neal Robinson]

The Quick and the Dead / Sam Raimi / USA / 1995

a western with Sharon Stone. One can see an accordion in a scene fairly close to the beginning, that depicts a kind of tex-mex party; but the soundtrack is mainly trumpets, there.

[Jeroen Nijhof]

RadioLand Murders / Mel Smith / 1994

It features a scene with an 18 member accordion orchestra taking place in 1939.

[Nina Frankel, who was one of the accordionists in the scene!]

The Razor's Edge / Edmund Goulding / 1946

Accordionist Tony Galla-Rini plays on the soundtrack.

[Steve Navoyosky]

La rèle du jeu / Jean Renoir / France / 1939 One of the characters collects music boxes; the first box he shows is one with a concertina-playing puppet on top. It still sounds like a music box, though.

[Jeroen Nijhof]

Rendezvous in Paris / Eric Rohmer / 1996

A collection of vignettes about lovers and rendezvous in Paris. Before, after and between the segments, a man and a woman acting as a sort of "Greek Chorus" sing and play accordions (3-row button accordions). He plays and she sings in all of the interludes, but in some they both play and/or both sing.

[David Barnert]

The Washington Post used a picture of the accordion player to illustrate their movie review!

[Dottie Beck]

Richie Rich / /

There are two accordions on a table toward the end of the movie, though you don't hear anyone play them.


Riders of the Whistling Pines / John English / 1949

Gene Autrey film which features Cass County Boys: Fred Martin, Jerry Scroggins and Bert Dodson,who invaded Hollywood in 1945 armed with accordion,guitar and bass. Accordionist Fred Martin started off on the Dallas,Texas, airwaves but was soon joined by his two partners. After the war they were contracted by Gene Autrey who included them in his radio show and his films.

[Gary Blair & Joyce Ashcroft]

In nearly all of Gene's movies as the credits appear at the beginning, Gene's sidekick, Smiley Burnett appears playing a piano accordion. He usually plays something during the movie too. In one case, he plays PA in the conventional manner and a kind of Glockenspiel with his feet.

[Craig Hollingsworth]

The Right Stuff / Philip Kaufman / 1983

music for graveside ceremony is played by accordionist on a small squeeze.


River of No Return / Otto Preminger / 1954

In the last song there is a concertina in the band that accompanies Marylin Monroe.

[Jeroen Nijhof]

The Road to Utopia / Hal Walker / 1945 /

In a scene which takes place on a ship, Bob Hope (sort of) pretends to play a one-row button box while Bing sings. There was an accordion mixed in with the orchestral background, but it sounded more like a PA.

[John Valentine]

Rosso / Mika Kaurismaumlaki / 1985

Sweden. A road movie. An Italian folk trio (piano accordion, guitar, tambourine/song) plays in a restaurant.

[Jeroen Nijhof]

Sabrina / Sydney Pollack / 1995

There's a brief street scene in Sabrina's first trip to Paris in which she sees a group of folk musicians, one of whom plays a button box. Sorry I didn't get a better look at it!

[Michael Reid]

Accordionist Frank Marocco plays on the soundtrack.

[Steve Navoyosky]

The Scars of Dracula / Roy Ward Baker / 1971

The last of the Hammer House of Horror movies. There's a piano accordion in the band that plays in the Transylvanian tavern. I guess that's an anachronism.

[Jeroen Nijhof]

Scent of A Woman / Martin Brest / 1992

the accordionist seen is William Schimmel.

[Steve Navoyosky]

Features the 1930's tango "Por Una Cabeza" composed and sung by the late Carlos Gardel,the Latin Rudolf Valentino a singing one,too!


Schindler's List / Spielberg / 1993

a band in one of the German social gatherings has an accordionist.


Accordionist Frank Marocco plays on the soundtrack.

[Steve Navoyosky]

Features the 1930's tango "Por Una Cabeza" composed and sung by the late Carlos Gardel,the Latin Rudolf Valentino - a singing one,too!


The Searchers / / 1956

Danny Borzage plays the accordionist at funeral.

[Jeroen Nijhof]

Shall We Dansu? / Masayuki Suo /1996

Japanese award winning film about Ballroom Dancing has some prominent accordion work on the soundtrack. The instrument is never seen, though.

[David Barnert]

Shine / /

Based on the life of Australian pianist David Helfgott. In the second scene of the movie as the young David walks toward the piano on stage for the competition he walks past a young competitior holding a small piano accordion.

[Toby Hanson & Paul Becker]

Shirley Valentine / Lewis Gilbert / 1989

UK/USA. In two scenes the hotel guests are entertained by a greek orchestra including an accordionist. According to IMDB, the Greek music for this film was written by George Hatzinassios.

[Jeroen Nijhof]

Silent Tongue / Sam Shepard / 1992

Good story with mythic themes set in 1873 in Western US. The medicine show band (The Red Clay Ramblers) includes a concertina player (and a Tuba!)


Sirens / John Duigen / 1994

Real Anglo concertina simultaneously on camera and in the soundtrack.

[Nick Robertshaw]

Smooth Sailing / /

Accordionist Ernie Felice is featured with his quartet in this musical short

[Gary Blair]

Snow White / Disney / 1937

Bashful plays the concertina.

[Craig Hollingsworth, Wendy Morrison & Bob Tedrow]

The Snows of Kilimanjaro / Henry King / 1952

with Gregory Peck. There is a duet in the first 25 minutes or so of the film... the playing is good and is heard for several minutes...long enough, ... for the song to be transcribed. The two men are standing up on a stage in a cabaret playing two button boxes, big ones, one brown and one black.

So I Married an Axe Murderer / Thomas Schlamme / 1993

starring Mike Myers. In the wedding scene there is a scottish dance band.The accordionist is Robert Black.

[Gary Blair]

Some Kind of Wonderful / /

There is a very interesting song at the end of the movie - a very Pogues-sounding version of "I Can't Help Falling in Love" by a band I never heard of named "Lick the Tins" (where do they come up with these names, anyway?). Anyhow, there is a very nice accordion in there.


Someone Else's America / Goran Paskaljevic / 1995

A young boy from Yugoslavia, or former Yugoslavia, plays Norteno music on asmall accordian. great movie!

[Martin Fleisher]

This is a movie about "cute lovable modern day immigrants".... an accordion is featured in the exciting dancing at the "cute, lovable, ethnic" wedding scene. The musicians are uncredited. Its also played by the "cute lovable ethnic son" who is sneaking across the border to join his "cute lovable father".

[Melvin Perry]

Some Mother's Son / Terry George / 1996

This is about the hunger strikers in Northern Ireland in the early 80's. What caught my ear was the music through the movie, and especially the outdoor scenes during the funeral service for one of the hunger the background you can hear this very lovely button accordion playing...whoever was playing I didn't catch it, but it was a very poignant sound.

The movie is worth watching even if it wasn't for the music, because the story line is very intriguing...I stayed up until 4:30 AM because I was so involved in the plot of the movie...


Sommaren med Monika (Summer with Monika)/ Ingmar Bergman / 1952

Swedish. Monika, a sultry teenager, escapes from her poverty with a sensitive and poetic young man. They camp out on an island off the Swedish coast, living off nature and exploring the frontiers of their own emotions and sensuality. But as summer ends, hunger, pregnancy and boredom drive the girl back to her old life of partying and undemonstrative lovers, leaving her baby with the sader, wiser young man.

There are three scenes that have accordian music. In the opening scene, which was filmed in the old section of Stockholm, the backround music a accordian tune called "Karlekens Hamn" (Lover's Haven). The base chords are C min,D 7th, and F min. The second scene with an accordian features two troubadours (accordian and gitar) who play two songs in a square beneath Monika's flat. The third accordian scene shows a dance party on an island where a band (not shown) plays some scandinavian dance tunes while Monika and Harry attempt to dance. This film is available from the Connoisseur Video Collection.

[Andrew I. Johnsen]

Sous les Toits de Paris / René Clair / 1930

This French film was a huge success in Japan and features accordion.

[Jeroen Nijhof]

Squeezing the Most Out of Life: a Portrait of Newfoundland's First Lady of The Accordion / Chris O'Neill / 1995

Chris O'Neill has won three awards for her 45 min documentary on 80 year old accordion player Minnie White. Newfoundland is Canada's most easterly province. The button accordion is considered to be Newfoundland's official musical instrument and many people here play one. The musical influences here are Irish, Scottish, English and French. Minnie White was 79 years old when the documentary was made.
I am the sound technician who recorded for this documentary and I also own and play a HORNER ERICA in the key of C/G.

[Scott Yates]

Stalin / Ivan Passer / 1992

An HBO movie filmed in Russia--actually many scenes filmed inside the Kremlin. There is a scene with a bayan (Russian button accordion) player. The cast includes Robert Duvall as Stalin, Maximilian Schell as Lenin, Julia Ormond as Nadia (Stalin's wife) and Joan Plowright as Nadia's mother. This film is available on videocassette.

[Carl Olsen, Courtenay BC Canada]

Stanno tutti bene / Guiseppe Tornatore / 1990

Italy. There's a scene in a dance hall in which the orchestra includes an accordionist (sitting on the right).

[Jeroen Nijhof]

Star Maps / / 1997

Accordion music in trailer soundtrack. Mexico/Border style.


The Stooge/ / 1952

A Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis flick wherein Jerry sings "You're my little whose it.." to Dean's PA accordion playing.

[Amy York]

A Stranger Among Us / Sidney Lumet / 1992

Klezmer music with accordion in soundtrack.


Strassenmusik / / 1936

Karl Valentin with a 2 row button box and a typically German helmet.

[Jeroen Nijhof]

Stroszek / Werner Herzog / 1977

The main character, Stroszek, is a street musician who plays accordion.


Support Your Local Sheriff / /

Comedy western which stars James Garner and Harry Morgan. The movie opens with a scene of a burial. An accordion was playing "Rock of Ages" in the background. It also showed a picture of the player from the left side. It was an MGM-UA movie.

[Allen G. Fuller]

Sunset Boulevard /Billy Wilder / 1950

In the scene where Norma Desmond throws the lonely New Year's party, a tango ensemble's accordion player informs Joe that he is the only guest.

[Joseph Milan]

Swing in the Saddle / Lew Landers / 1944

USA. There was a swing combo dressed in typical fringed 40's cowboy outfits, about four musicians, including accordionist Jack Statham. I'd sure love to find a copy of this movie. (Jack was my uncle, my mother's brother) Black and White. Columbia Pictures. Also Known As: "Swing and Away"

[Gary Price Jones OK]

Tango / Carlos Saura / 1998

A dance film, with bandoneons, obviously. Most of the music is played by El Nueveo Quinteto Real, with Nestor Marconi on bandoneon; Adolfo Gomez plays "bandoneon player #2".

[Jeroen Nijhof]

Tango Bar / Marcos Zurinaga / 1988

Bandoneon music throughout.


The theme was "Esto Es Tango" - it was all in Spanish with English subtitles. Raul Julia plays the pianist in a tango bar duo, and actually sings on one number for real, according to the credits. His partner plays bandoneon. They're both in love with the same woman, Elena, who sings with them sometimes, and is partly responsible for their breakup (at the end of the movie they reunite). They have an act which consists largely of the bandoneon playing with voice over of Raul talking about Tango and what that is - the music, the dance, the history, the culture, how foreigners get it all wrong, etc. The dancing is superb and there are lots of great shots of the footwork, close up.

[Wendy Morrison]

The Tango Lesson / Sally Potter / 1997

One of my favorite movies. Potter wrote, directed the movie, plays and dances tango in it and wrote some of the music (there are some scenes accompanied by music that is not tango). Do yourself a favor and watch this beautiful movie. Beautiful in many senses of the word.


I agree wholeheartedly. Great soundtrack! Wonderful black and white cinematography. A must see!


Tangos: L'exil de Gardel / Fernando Solanas / 1985

France/Argentina co-production. This is a must-see, a fantastic shrine to Carlos Gardel, the tango and the brutal political situation in Argentina that led artists to flee to Paris to survive. Music composed by Astor Piazzola and performed by him and his quintette -- bandoneon, of course. Grand Prix Special du Jury Venise, 1985.

Rachel Hinshaw

Tell Me a Riddle / Shalom Sherman / 1980

Lee Grant plays an accordionist.

[Jeroen Nijhof]

That's Entertainment / /

a movie about Hollywood musicals. In the segment from "An American In Paris" there is a street scene in which an accordion player and another musician(clarinet?) are pictured quite prominently. They mimic playing but don't play, and are surreal in their appearance, but it is most certainly a piano accordion.

[Peter Di Bono]

Theory of Achievement / Hal Hartley / 1991

Jeff Howard played the title song on accordion. 18 min. short.

[Jeroen Nijhof]

They Died with Their Boots On / Raoul Walsh / 1941

...has a 2 row box. Although the makers annoyed me with their portrayal of Custer as a Super-Hero, I have now forgiven them for showing my beloved instrument!!

[Gary Blair]

This is an awful Errol Flynn flick (racist, questionable historical detail, etc.) but hey, if it's got a squeeze in it we like it.


Things To Do in Denver When You're Dead / / 1996

has a scene in an Italian restaurant in which an accordionist comes in and saves this otherwise mediocre gangster flick.

[Ezra Ball]

The maitre'd tells the accordionist (PA) to play "Torna A Sorrento" we see him for a moment as he starts to play and sing camera goes to close in shot as the star,Andy Garcia,translates the words to his date.


Time of the Gypsies (Dom za Vesanje) / Emir Kusturica / 1989

Yugoslavian. Young protagonist plays PA accordion.


The soundtrack is available (at least in Europe) under the title "Le Temps des Gitanes". The label/number is Philips/842 764-2. It was published in 1990. The composer is Goran Bregovic.
In this context often mentioned are the CD's of the rumainian "Taraf de Haidouk". The title "Musique de Tsiganes Roumanie" is available at Crammed Disks/CRAW 2, and was published in 1991.

[Manfred Hellrigl]

Tin Cup / Ron Shelton / 1996

Starring Kevin Costner and Rene Russo. There is some very good Tejano-style accordion playing in the movie, along with a very upbeat Cajun-style tune called "Big Stick" played by Bruce Hornsby on accordion.


Titanic / James Cameron / 1997

There's a brief scene of steerage class children dancing to the music of a PA and a melodeon. The PA player looks like he's really playing, not faking, it.

[Dennis Souter]

In the Irish jam scene below decks. The Uillean pipes and the fiddle were more visible, but if you watched closely, a glimpse of bellows came into view now and then.

[David Barnert]

In one wild party scene there was a folk band (Irish I presume) which included what I assumed to be an accordion. I don't remember seeing any keys or buttons, only the bellows and shape of the box. The shape was unlike any concertina or piano accordion I've ever seen so I assume it must have been some type of button accordion, which I believe would be the type of folk accordion popular in Ireland and England in 1912.

[Henry Dotorski - The Classical Free-reed]

the steerage scenes featured the band "Gaelic Storm"

[Rob Witmer]

Todo Sobre Mi Madre (all about my mother) / Pedro Almodovar / 1999

On the sound track, there is some great (solo) bandoneon playing by Dino Saluzzi.

[Jeroen Nijhof]

To Meteoro Vima tou Pelargou / / 1991

Giannis Dantis plays the accordionist.

[Jeroen Nijhof]

Tom Jones / Tony Richardson / 1963

The question I have is who played the concertina on the soundtrack? The film is set in the 18th century so a concertina would be an anachronism but it works very well in the context.

[Pete Mitton]

The sound track you refer to was recorded by Alf Edwards on a 48 key English Concertina made by Wheatstone (it had gold plated ends as Alf was a professional musician). I met Alf in 1972 when I was on a working holday in England and he taught me to play the concertina. I last saw him in 1984 at a nursing home in Britton, I believe he died the next year. A great player and a great bloke.

[Ray Goninon]

La trace / Bernard Favre / 1983

Marc Perrone plays accordion on the soundtrack.

[Jeroen Nijhof]

True Lies / James Cameron / 1994

I noticed a glimpse of the piano accordion in the concluding tango scene. Sure, I suppose they should have had a bandoneon doing the tango, but hey it was kinda cool to see it in the action movie.

[Michael John Kozak]

Features the 1930's tango "Por Una Cabeza" composed and sung by the late Carlos Gardel,the Latin Rudolf Valentino - a singing one,too!


True Stories / David Byrne / 1986

Steve Jordan appears twice (with a three row button box) - There is a (piano) accordion band at the end of the street parade, anounced in the movie as 'the Virgil accordion band', but in real life it is the [Happy Wanderers] Strictly Accordion Marching Band (I don't know whether Happy Wanderers is the end of the name of the previous item in the parade, or the beginning of the name of the accordion band; I couldn't tell from the titles).

[Jeroen Nijhof]

Tulitikkutehtaan tyttoumle (The Match Factory Girl) / Aki Kaurismaumleki / 1989

Finland. An accordionist plays Finnish tangos and tear jerkers in a band at a dance hall (where the main character does not get a date ... again).

[Jeroen Nijhof]

Twelve Monkeys / Terry Gilliam / 1995

According to the soundtrack recording , the free-reed work was performed by Jack Emblow, renowned studio musician from England who is also noted for his exceptional nonpremeditated jazz work. Jack can still be heard doing all the accordion sounds on the "Benny Hill" television shows which originated in England.

The excerpts are versions of the late Astor Piazzola's composition "Introduccion" from Suite Punta Del Este and arranged by Paul Buckmaster, who composed the original score for the movie as well as conducting it. Charles Olins also provided several arrangements. The soundtrack was recorded in London.

[Steve Navoyosky]

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea / Disney /

There's concertina during Kirk Douglas' "Whale of a Tale" song though it sounds like an accordion was actually recorded.)

[Rob Witmer]

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Squeezeboxes onthe Silver Screen

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