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The Twelve Chairs

The Twelve Chairs (1970)


No Reviews Yet...

Release Date: Oct 28, 1970 Wide



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 3,519

My Rating

Movie Info

One of several film versions of the 1928 Russian novel The Twelve Chairs (one of the better-known adaptations was the 1945 Fred Allen vehicle It's in the Bag), Mel Brooks' movie is set in the years following the Bolshevik revolution. Onetime aristocrat Vorobyaninov (Ron Moody), now reduced to a humdrum clerical job, discovers that his family's fortune still exists. To keep their riches from falling into the hands of the revolutionaries, Vorobyaninov's family hid the loot in one of twelve chairs.


Classics, Comedy

Apr 4, 2006

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All Critics (18) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (1) | DVD (6)

The premise was so good that I expected the frantic pic to be funnier and not so overwrought.

May 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Probably the closest Brooks ever came to making a 'normal' film.

July 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

A hit or miss spoof of Communism saved by zany performances by Brooks and DeLuise.

September 16, 2005 Full Review Source:

Hope for the best, expect the worst - and get something in between. Middling Brooks, with flashes of brilliance.

September 2, 2005
Las Vegas Review-Journal


August 13, 2005 | Comments (2)
Classic Film and Television

Goofy, funny, smoothly enjoyable.

November 29, 2002

...has a kind of earnest, threadbare, yet endearing charm to it....a rare pleasure.

January 1, 2000
Movie Metropolis

Audience Reviews for The Twelve Chairs

"Mel Brooks's sophomore film is...sophomoric. But funny."

What is there not to love about Mel Brooks? He knows what he‚(TM)s talking about in comedy and historical context. Every one of his movies is controversial for the same reason it‚(TM)s funny. He‚(TM)s always saying to someone or something, ‚You know, I love you deeply, but you‚(TM)re ridiculous. So here‚(TM)s a movie I made about you.‚? The first time around, he said this to Adolf Hitler. One who has seen The Producers probably remembers it as well as the ‚play within a movie‚?‚"Springtime for Hitler. While the movie was funny as hell, the ‚Hitler‚? idea is so enticing that we never really realized what else went on in the movie. It‚(TM)s a movie about greed, maybe more so than Hitler.
November 22, 2013

Super Reviewer

Although this is a much different film than Brooks' other films, having been based on an old Russian novel instead of being a spoof of another film, it is just as fun. It's very funny, the characters are wacky, and there are some good actors too. A good movie.
March 24, 2013

Super Reviewer

An art house late night weekend favorite back in the day (like Rocky Horror), a dying woman tells of a hidden treasure --- setting off a crazy cross-country race for the loot played for yucks. Sound familiar? Like Its A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (made 7 years prior)? Well it IS different. This chase is through post revolutionary Russia! Expect jokes about how well communism was not working, comrade. An early effort by Brooks that has some smiles in it. Hope for the best ... ( expect the worst ).
September 12, 2011

Super Reviewer

Ippolit Vorobyaninov: You're not worth spitting on!
Father Fyodor: Oh yeah? Well, you are!

Mel Brooks' second film, which involves three men all trying to get rich quick in communist Russia. A different sort of film from Brooks, which may not be as much a laugh riot as some of his others, but has a fun story and is well acted throughout.

Ron Moody is Vorobyaninov, an ex-nobleman trying to find the family jewels that his dying mother told him was hidden in one of their old fancy chairs. A very young Frank Langella enters the scene as an attractive drifter, who becomes a part of the plot to find the jewels as well, forming a sort of team with Vorobyaninov. Also entering the scene is Dom DeLuise as Father Fyodor, who is less than faithful to the lord when he too learns of the jewels to be found.

The story is very simple, but effective. It's a fun comic adventure, putting all three characters at odds with each other and leading to a lot of funny scenes. Certainly different types of humor at play, with Moody playing it fairly dry, Langella serving mainly as the straight (and very tall) man, and DeLuise offering up plenty of physical comedy.

Brooks manages to pop up in a small role as well, playing Moody's former servant, and he's of course a lot of fun. He also manages to bring a lot of his style humor to the film via many visual gags, which mostly poke fun at the setting of communist Russia.

Not much more to say beyond the fact that the film is short and sweet and I laughed.

Nikolai Sestrin: I hate people I don't like.
September 7, 2010

Super Reviewer

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