Love and Death


Love and Death

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Average Rating: 4/5

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Woody Allen's Love and Death is purportedly a satire of all things Russian, from Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky novels to Sergei Eisenstein films, but it plays more like a spin on Bob Hope's Monsieur Beaucaire. Allen plays Boris, a 19th century Russian who falls in love with his distant (and married) cousin Sonja (Diane Keaton). Pressed into service with the Russian army during the war against Napoleon, Boris accidentally becomes a hero, then goes on to win a duel against a cuckolded husband (Harold Gould). He returns to Sonja, hoping to settle down on the Steppes somewhere, but Sonja has become fired up with patriotic fervor, insisting that Boris join a plot to kill Napoleon. Intellectual in-jokes abound in Love and Death, and other gags are basic Allen one-liners; for instance, after being congratulated for his lovemaking skills, Boris replies nonchalantly, "I practice a lot when I'm alone." The pseudo-Russian ambience of Love and Death is comically enhanced by the Sergey Prokofiev compositions on the musical track. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Georges Adel
as Old Nehamkin
Frank Adu
as Drill Sergeant
Lloyd Battista
as Don Francisco
Jack Berard
as Gen. Lecoq
Eva Bertrand
as Woman in Hygiene Class
Larry Hankin
as Uncle Sasha
Gerard Buhr
as Servant
Georges Adet
as Old Nehamken
Brian Coburn
as Dimitri
Harry Coutet
as Sergei Minskov
Henri Czarniak
as Ivan Grushenko
Luce Fabiole
as Grandmother
as Uncle Nikolai
Sol Frieder
as Leonid Voskovec
Olga Georges-Picot
as Countess Alexandrovna
Patricia Crown
as Cheerleader
Harry Hankin
as Uncle Sasha
Sandor Elès
as Soldier #2
Jessica Harper
as Natasha Petrovna
Tony Jay
as Vladimir Maximovitch
Jack Lenoir
as Krapotkin
Leib Lensky
as Father Andre
Alfred Lutter
as Young Boris
Ed Marcus
as Raskov
Denise Péron
as Spanish Countess
Aubrey Morris
as Soldier #4
Fred Smith
as Soldier
C.A.R. Smith
as Father Nikolai
Alan Tilvern
as Sergeant
James Tolkan
as Napoleon
Hélène Vallier
as Mme. Wolfe
Howard Vernon
as Gen. Leveque
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Critic Reviews for Love and Death

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (3)

Audience Reviews for Love and Death

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.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

Possibly my new favorite Allen film. Filled with his signature blend of philoso-comedy, Allen pays tribute to Bergman and Dostoevsky in only the way he can. Full of amazing screwball dialog to boot.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer


In this early Allen effort his love for the Marx Bros. (particularly Groucho) is worn on his sleeve and the picture is very reminiscent of Mel Brooks' own Twelve Chairs. Throw in a couple of 70's style psuedo-intellectual "conversations" ("I'm overwhelming you with my superiorocity!") and you have a fun, silly, younger Allen, not so impressed with himself yet, easier to relate to. He never finds anyone as good as he to play himself, we know, and his infatuation w/Keaton allows her Dumont-like status beside him.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Love and Death is pretty much your standard Woody Allen fare from the 70s. It borrows heavily from Ingmar Bergman and the Marx Brothers and at times is downright hysterical but once its over I'm not going to really give it a second thought. I would've given this a 3 1/2 star rating if it wasn't for that last act, but since the only Russian novel I've ever read was Nabokov's Lolita most of the references were lost on me. The warm cockles line had me rolling almost as much as the scene where Sonja's first husband dies and the look on Diane Keaton's face during it. And speaking of which, Keaton was so goddamned cute. Worth it for her if nothing else even if her comic timing's not as good as Allen's...

Michael Gildea
Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

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