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


The man who made 'Blazing Saddles' and 'Young Frankenstein' brings you his funniest comedy ever... See more »




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Parents Guide:






Release Date:

28 October 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The 12 Chairs  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Peter Sellers was originally cast as Father Fyodor but dropped out before filming began. See more »


Vorobyaninov's "cancellation" stamp places the event in summer 1927. A street sign shows Trotsky's name crossed off, but he was not expelled from the Communist Party until that fall. See more »


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


Version of 12 stulyev (1977) See more »


(the soviet national anthem)
Written by Eugène Pottier & Pierre Degeyter
played at the bureau of housing and at the opening of the railroad worker house by an orchester
See more »

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User Reviews

The Brooks no one remembers....
14 September 1999 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A long time ago, Mel Brooks had a subtle side.

Hard to believe, isn't it? The man responsible for such guffaw-fests as "Blazing Saddles", "Silent Movie", "High Anxiety" and such.... SUBTLE?

In "The Twelve Chairs", he does get laughs out of the story of a Russian nobleman searching for jewels sewn into one of twelve of his family's chairs that have been sold with the rest of his family's possessions. But not the way we're use to seeing Mel earn them.

This, time, he gets them through character study, human nature, individuals' reactions to certain embarrassing situations and, of course, good old-fashioned greed. And the laughs are there, to be sure.

I'm actually surprised that I liked this as much as I did. I'm used to Mel up there with the lampshade on his head, yucking it up with wild abandon. This film, subtle as it is, makes me laugh.

Of course, for purists, there's always good old DeLuise as another conniver searching for the same jewels. He makes with the wildness and insanity that makes a Mel Brooks film a Mel Brooks film, and he's a joy to see.

The others, Moody and Langella in particular, play regular human beings who see a situation, assess it and act as (nearly) anyone else would. More humorously, of course.

Seek out "The Twelve Chairs". Rare as it is, a rose by any other name....

And you know the rest.

Eight stars. Hey! Hey, hey, hey!

14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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