Let's start here: I have only a passing familiarity with the great Russian novelists, and I've never read War and Peace. However, in much the same way as Monty Python and the Holy Grail, you can enjoy the sheer silliness of the period spoof without being a medieval scholar - and if you have the specialized knowledge, you'll find it even funnier... a possibility that blows my mind, because I'm not exactly sure how this film _could_ be any funnier. Every line of dialogue is a punchline, and by cross-pollinating his stand-up and a satirical historical film, Allen has written the most hilarious script of his career. Throw in a classic performance from Diane Keaton - her chemistry with Allen is magnificent, again - and I knew before I even reached the end: this is my favourite piece by this director. Vintage Woody, and timeless; a must-see.