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Sleeper (1973)

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A nerdish store owner is revived out of cryostasis into a future world to fight an oppressive government.


2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Erno Windt
Mary Gregory ...
Dr. Melik
John McLiam ...
Dr. Agon
Dr. Orva
Chris Forbes ...
Rainer Krebs
Dr. Nero (as Marya Small)
Peter Hobbs ...
Dr. Dean
Susan Miller ...
Ellen Pogrebin
Lou Picetti ...
Jessica Rains ...
Woman in the Mirror
Herald Cohen
Jeb Hrmthmg


Miles, a nebbishy clarinet player who also runs a health food store in NYC's Greenwich Village, is cryogenically frozen, and brought back - 200 years in the future, by anti-government radicals in order to assist them in their attempt to overthrow the oppressive government. When he goes off on his own, he begins to explore this brave new world, which has Orgasmatron booths to replace sex and confessional robots. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Woody Allen takes a nostalgic look at the future See more »


Comedy | Sci-Fi


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

17 December 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El dormilón  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The very short song "Rebels Are We" that Luna (Diane Keaton) sings at the rebel camp was first sung by the rebel leader Esposito (Jacobo Morales) in the 1971 Woody Allen film Bananas. See more »


The rubber tires on the Volkswagen could not have survived 200 years in the open air. See more »


Miles Monroe: That's a big chicken.
See more »


Referenced in Perfect Therapy 3: Dawn of the Bite (2014) See more »


Till We Meet Again
(1918) (uncredited)
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by Ray Egan
Performed by Woody Allen
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Successful Combination of Physical and Verbal Humour
28 March 2005 | by (Tunbridge Wells, England) – See all my reviews

In this early comedy, Woody Allen plays Miles Monroe, a twentieth century healthfood restaurant owner and jazz clarinettist who is cryogenically frozen after surgery and awoken two centuries later. The America of 2173 is a totalitarian state ruled by an oppressive dictator, and Miles has been reanimated by a group of rebels fighting to overthrow the government. For reasons too complex to set out here, Miles is forced to go on the run disguised as a robot and finds himself falling in love with his new owner, an attractive but intellectually vacant young woman named Luna. The film recounts how Miles wins Luna over to the rebel cause and tells the story of their fight against the regime.

Unlike some of Woody's later films, this is a pure comedy. It does not try to explore philosophical issues or to analyse the human condition in the same way as, say, "Hannah and her Sisters" or "Crimes and Misdemeanours". Although I normally think of Woody as a master of verbal wit, much of the humour in "Sleeper" is physical slapstick, based upon (and no doubt deliberate homage to) the comedians of the silent era such as Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton. (I particularly liked the scenes where Woody is disguised as a robot and those where the villains are attempting to clone the dictator, killed in a bomb explosion, from his nose). The links with that era are reinforced by the musical score, composed by Woody himself, in a jazz/ragtime style reminiscent of the 1910s and 1920s. The sets, by contrast, are very futuristic, with the clinical glass-and-chromium look of many science-fiction films. The combination of a futuristic theme with a traditional style of comedy is doubtless why the film was advertised under the slogan "Woody Allen takes a nostalgic look at the future".

This is not, however, simply a pastiche of silent humour like the one Mel Brooks was to attempt a few years later in "Silent Movie". This being a Woody Allen film, there is also a good deal of verbal humour, particularly one-liners along the lines of "I haven't seen my analyst in 200 years. He was a strict Freudian. If I'd been going all this time, I'd probably almost be cured by now". (As that line suggests, Miles is the typical, neurotically insecure Woody Allen character). As is often the case with humorous science-fiction (such as Douglas Adams's "Hitchhiker" books), the humour is frequently used to make satirical points about twentieth-century society as seen from the viewpoint of an imagined future. Contemporary worries about our diet are neatly satirised by a joke about how the science of two hundred years hence has proved that fatty foods and smoking are actually beneficial to health whereas what we now think of as healthfoods are regarded as unhealthy. This joke has remained topical because anxiety about what we eat is, if anything,even greater today than it was in 1973. There is perhaps also a dig at seventies "radical chic" as the vacuous conformist Luna becomes an equally vacuous revolutionary. (The plot of "Sleeper" seems to owe something to another tongue-in-cheek science-fiction film from a few years earlier, "Barbarella", which also dealt with rebellion against a dictator and even featured similar "orgasmatron" machines; the star of that film, Jane Fonda, had by 1973 become Hollywood's most famous radical chic actress).

The humour of "Sleeper" is often directed against figures from the sixties and seventies- perhaps too much so, as this type of humour tends to date very quickly. Some of it is still funny (such as Diane Keaton's Marlon Brando impersonation), but some can now be difficult to understand, particularly for non-Americans. (I had no idea, for example, who Howard Cosell was- apparently he was a sports commentator). That is, however, a minor quibble. Overall, this is an entertaining film and, in places, very funny, combining successfully two very different styles of humour. 7/10

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