The Twelve Chairs (1970)

GP  |   |  Comedy  |  28 October 1970 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 4,041 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 26 critic

In 1920s Soviet Russia, a fallen aristocrat, a priest and a con artist search for a treasure of jewels hidden inside one of twelve dining chairs, lost during the revolution.



(novel) (as Ilf) , (novel) (as Petrov) , 3 more credits »
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Airs Sun. Dec. 06, 8:00 PM on TCM

1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Andréas Voutsinas ...
Nikolai Sestrin (as Andreas Voutsinas)
Diana Coupland ...
Madam Bruns
David Lander ...
Vlada Petric ...
Elaine Garreau ...
Claudia Ivanovna
Robert Bernal ...
Will Stampe ...
Night Watchman
Bridget Brice ...
Young Woman
Actor in Play
Rada Djuricin ...
Actress in Play
Branka Veselinovic ...
Mladen 'Mladja' Veselinovic ...
Peasant (as Mladja Veselinovic)


A treasure hunt. An aging ex-nobleman of the Czarist regime has finally adjusted to life under the commisars in Russia. Both he and the local priest find that the family jewels were hidden in a chair, one of a set of twelve. They return separately to Moscow to find the hidden fortune. Written by John Vogel <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A wild and hilarious chase for a fortune in jewels. See more »




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Release Date:

28 October 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The 12 Chairs  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Anne Bancroft encouraged Mel Brooks to write the music as well as the lyrics for "Hope for the best, expect the worst" and subsequently at least one song for all of his movies. She was 'like an angel on his shoulder' when it came to songwriting. See more »


On the car of the Columbus Theater for the announced Play "Hamlet and the October Revolution" next to Shakespeare the name Ivan Poppov is mentioned, obviously a reference to Ivan Ivanovich Popov, a Russian revolutionizer, journalist and freedom fighter. However he is written with one P, not two. See more »


Father Fyodor: Oh, God! You're so strict!
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits the title of the movie is showed in Russian first (even with a typographic error 'Dvenadzat' stchlyev'), then it changes into the english title. The same happened at the end of the credits with the words "The end" (Konez), first cames the Russian word, than the english translation. See more »


Featured in Unscripted: Episode #1.5 (2005) See more »


Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst
Music and lyrics by Mel Brooks
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User Reviews

" I've Begged All My Life! "
7 July 2007 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

In his lifetime Mel Brooks has created many motion pictures which have established him as an artistic genius. "The Twelve Chairs" is another milestone for him. From the very beginning of this film, to its ending, there is a sense of serious, but humanistic brilliance. The era is the aftermath of the Russian Revolution and a dying woman wants to clear her conscience and reveal her greatest sin. As thousands of the nobility are fleeing for their lives, she decides to hide her family's fortune inside the lining of a set of handcrafted chairs. That secret is her dying revelation and is said unfortunately into more than one set of ears. This initiates a mad dash for the lost treasure. Seeking the cache of jewels are three intrepid, but greedy set of characters. The first is incredibly talented Ron Moody who adroitly and brilliantly plays the legitimate, greedy and opportunistic son, Ippolit Vorobyaninov. Once a Marshall of the nobility, he is now reduced to a minor banking clerk and opportunistic son-in-law. Frank Langella is superior as Ostap Bender, a handsome, street-wise, traveling Gypsy, who also wants in on the treasure hunt. Finally there is Dom DeLuise who plays Father Fyodor, an Orthodox but impoverished monk who believes, God will help him find the elusive chair first. What the trio soon discover is that the chair is one of Twelve which have been scattered across the vast twelve thousand miles of Russia. If Mel Brooks sought to create an amusing memorable movie, he succeeded. By the time one reaches the end of this film, we realize . . . . a Classic has been born. ****

15 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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