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The Twelve Chairs (1970)

GP | | Comedy | 28 October 1970 (USA)
1:30 | Trailer

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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 »
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 ...
David Lander ...
Vlada Petric ...
Elaine Garreau ...
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 <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A wild and hilarious chase for a fortune in jewels. 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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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The character Sevitski does not exist in the original novel. However he is an equivalent to the character Monteur Menshikov who also works at the Columbus Theater and also sells Bender and Vorobyaninov two chairs for which they were begging for money. See more »


The chairs are supposed to be walnut which is a medium to dark-brown wood, but when they're broken a very pale wood is exposed. See more »


Ippolit Vorobyaninov: [upon learning that his mother-in-law is dying] Bozhe moi, that poor woman! That poor woman! Who is going to care of me?
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 »


Referenced in History of the World: Part I (1981) See more »


Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst
Music by Johannes Brahms ("Hungarian Dance No. 4 in F# minor") and lyrics by Mel Brooks
See more »

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User Reviews

A slapstick farce with a human side
29 July 1998 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Fans of Mel Brooks' 'The Producers' will find particular delight in 'The Twelve Chairs'; the two are of a distinctly different style than the more biting parodies that make up his later works.

'The Twelve Chairs' is not a new story, even by 1970 standards. The chase for treasure is an often-used hook to hang a madcap plot. Slapstick and physical humor are employed liberally, most effectively by Dom Deloise as Father Fyodor, the Russian priest who has turned on the church to join in the run for the jewels. His adventures as he is sidetracked to Siberia by the self-described 'handsome young desperado' Ostap Bender (Frank Langella) are funny and completely in character.

What makes 'The Twelve Chairs' different is its human side. The former Russian nobleman I.M. Vorobyaninov is portrayed by Ron Moody perfectly: now reduced to a file clerk, he still lives in his pre-Revolutionary past, flatly refusing to beg when he and Bender are down to their last few rubles and still in pursuit of the chairs. The audience roots for the flashy, smart Bender but also for the pitiable Vorobyaninov as his character grows through the experience.

Characters we meet along the way define other human conditions (the traveling show producer's haughtiness, his assistant's greed, the railworkers' pride). These elements make 'The Twelve Chairs' more like 'The Producers' than 'High Anxiety,' and a film worthy of a listing with Brooks' best.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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