The Twelve Chairs (1970)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.


Want to See

Not Interested

Add Rating
My Rating    

Movie Info

In this farce, a civil servant discovers that he is heir to a vast fortune, which is hidden in one of a set of twelve chairs. Unfortunately, the chairs have been scattered to locations unknown, and the man must compete with a greedy priest in his quest for the riches.


Ron Moody
as Ippolit Vorobyaninov
Frank Langella
as Ostap Bender
Dom DeLuise
as Father Fyodor
Bridget Brice
as Young Woman
David Lander
as Engineer Bruns
Andreas Voutsinas
as Nikolai Sestrin
Vlada Petric
as Sevitsky
Diana Coupland
as Mme. Bruns
Nicholas Smith
as Actor in Play
Elaine Garreau
as Claudia Ivanova
Will Stampe
as Watchman
Aca Stojkovic
as Capt. Scriabin
Rada Djuricin
as Actress in Play
View All

Critic Reviews for The Twelve Chairs

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (1)

It's not going for the laughs alone. It has something to say about honor among thieves, and by the end of the film we can sense a bond between the two main characters that is even, amazingly, human.

Jul 2, 2018 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

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

May 2, 2010 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

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

Jul 26, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

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

Sep 16, 2005 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

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

Sep 2, 2005 | Rating: 3/5


Aug 13, 2005 | Rating: 1/5

Audience Reviews for The Twelve Chairs


This is really the "odd man out" in Brooks' filmography, but that's not a bad thing . . . in fact I'd say its one of his best films. Its an effective meld of farcical humor with a story that has actual substance. The performances of Moody, Langella, DeLuise, and Brooks are all top notch.

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

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.

Aj V
Aj V

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 ).

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

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.

Aaron Neuwirth
Aaron Neuwirth

Super Reviewer

The Twelve Chairs Quotes

News & Features