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|Index||49 reviews in total|
This is THE ONLY movie I've seen that truly shows life in the Soviet
which is made in the West.
This is a great movie! It really hits on why people tried to run from the Soviet Union, the oppression there and the taste of freedom in the USA. It is extremely realistic! We were ashamed at some points in the movie associating ourselves with the former fellow countrymen. But the showed THE TRUTH! All of the things shown used to happen in real life.
Robin Williams was brilliant. He spoke Russian with almost no accent, which was amazing!
I am from the Soviet Union so I know what I'm talking about. Nearly all of the rest of the movies are not more than a joke when it concerns reflecting life in Russia or Soviet Union. Even in the Air Force One (with Harrison Ford!) I was laughing like crazy when they showed supposedly Russian Prison.
So, all of you lucky to be born in freedom, please see this movie and you maybe will start thinking why you are so lucky and how exciting but difficult is to be an immigrant!
The movie released in 1984 but I saw it only 2 years ago. I'm from former USSR and this film was prohibited in the Soviet Union.I think it's the best American film about America itself:sometimes fun,sometimes sad.It's useful especially for Russians who want to leave poor Russia for the US and release their 'Russian-American dream'.It's also the best film about the former USSR,its citizens' way of life,its lines to shops,surveillance of the KGB and many other bad things.I'm a history teacher in high school and I demonstrate this film to my young RUSSIAN students in Russian history class.Besides a very creditable performance of Robin Williams,Savely Kramarov.Very clever movie !
As a Russian immigrant myself, I related the story to myself and liked the movie a lot. For those who never had such an experience, you may start to understand how hard it is to adapt to a new culture and why do people want to migrate in the first place. Also, for those who don't get the Russian culture, this might be kind of an introduction to it. Robin Williams is great as always, and I like especially his comedic style in a semitragic movie, which makes it so much easier to watch. If you have something against new immigrants to America and don't get why they come here at all, watch this movie and you'll understand why.
My main reason for checking this movie out was because of Robin Williams.
After seeing him in so many great films like "Insomnia" and "One Hour Photo"
and watching his numerous hilarious talk show appearances, I've become even
more curious about checking out the movies on his filmography that I have
yet to see. Well, this is more than just a Robin Williams vehicle. Paul
Mazursky cleverly combines comedy and drama, and expresses some good morals.
He accurately portrays an immigrant's journey to America, and how he/she
expects that America is a beautiful place where everyone can run free
without any set limitations. It starts out as a fish-out-of-water comedy in
which Russian immigrant Williams (who decides he wants to become an American
citizen) explores the oddities of New York City and revels in its ambience,
no matter how rough the neighborhoods are, no matter how many wackos are
running around. Then he slowly learns that freedom has a price. America
may be a free country, but that doesn't stop him from getting mugged and
having his upstairs neighbors constantly complain about him playing his
One thing that impressed me was rather than have a bunch of American actors don Russian accents, Mazursky actually has the actors speaking Russian to each other. Now, there are certain movies like "Schindler's List" and "K-19: The Widowmaker" in which we do see American actors speaking English and putting on foreign accents and still prove to be good movies, but it's always more engaging to see characters from a certain country speaking their native language. I mean, what if Russia were to make a movie set in America, where all the American characters were speaking Russian in American accents? How goofy would that look? I'm guessing that Williams was the only American actor in the cast, and the rest are actual Russians. I don't speak Russian, so I can't tell whether or not Williams was actually speaking Russian, but it looked convincing to me. But since mainstream American audiences have grown to hate reading subtitles, you probably won't see a movie like this released nationwide.
Robin Williams gives a terrific performance, totally disappearing into character. I was actually convinced he was a foreigner, as he speaks just like a Russian immigrant, in broken English, not articulating his words one bit. There was no sign of Robin Williams the Comedian in his character. Whenever he gets a laugh, he gets a laugh as Vladimir and not as Robin. Besides, this is one of his more serious roles and he never really plays it for laughs. Maria Conchita Alonso still sounds Cuban, as her Italian character, but she still gives a fine performance. Since I haven't seen her in any recent movies, it's nice to see her pretty face again. She was like the Salma Hayek of the 80's. Williams and Alonso have a good on-screen chemistry.
The friendship between Williams and his African-American friend, who goes as far as letting him move in with his family, is very touching. Working as a security guard at Bloomingdale's and seeing Williams wreaking havoc around the store, he starts out hating his guts. Before you know it, they're best buddies. The most touching scene is the one in which Williams leaves a jazz club, depressed after being told by a well-known jazz musician that he needs practice. He decides to throw his saxophone away and forget about being a musician altogether. His friend relates to his problem and gives him plenty of encouragement in pursuing his dream of playing the saxophone, as they get drunk and laugh their heads off. The movie stresses the outburst of immigrants in New York City, which is a melting pot society. Almost every character Williams comes in contact with is either a foreigner or a minority. Strange but undoubtedly true, if you were to examine the streets of New York. It's not unlikely to walk across a whole city block, where not one person speaks English.
The movie has no real plot structure, as it is mainly character-driven. The comedy is subtle, and arises naturally. My favorite quote from the film is when Williams says, "I bought my first pair of American shoes. They were made in Italy." That is a sample of the kind of humor in this film. I definitely suggest people check out this oldie-but-a-goodie.
My score: 7 (out of 10)
Robin Williams delivers the best performance of his storied career (yes I know he won an Oscar for Good Will Hunting) as Vladimir Ivanoff a Russian musician who takes a chance at freedom in America. Released in 1984 during the height of U.S. Russian tension, director Paul Mazursky doesn't villify Russia instead using it as an opportunity to show how similar the people are to Americans. Noteworthy performances by Maria Conchita Alonso (as his eventual girlfriend) and Cleavant Derricks (as the Bloomingdales security guard who takes an immediate liking to Vladimir). Mazursky walks the line of schmaltz at times but doesn't cross over. Especially evident in a well done scene when Vladimir finds out about the death of his beloved grandfather. Moscow on the Hudson is an often overlooked film that to me stood out as one worth watching again and again.
Manhattan looks so much more varied and gritty and real and less mall-ified than it does today in this, Paul Mazursky's 1984 love letter to the American way, and one of the last unambiguously patriotic mainstream American movies. (It's very much a product of its Reagan time, right down to the casual homophobia.) Robin Williams, for once not twinkling too hard or overworking his virtuosity or adorableness, is an Everyman Russian who unexpectedly defects in Bloomingdale's and goes on to live the immigrant experience, suffering urban indignities and romantic angst along the way. His worklife is a little easier, his economic situation a little less treacherous, and the people he meets a little nicer than they would be in real life. For all that, in its celebration of the melting pot and its warm embrace of the American urban landscape, the movie moved me to tears.
I first saw this film when the Iron Curtain was still firmly in place
and of course it was intriguing and funny. Seeing it again, I found it
quite prescient if less intriguing and funny. Robin Williams plays a
Muscovite who visits the Big Apple as part of a cultural troupe. On a
visit to Bloomingdales, he suddenly decides to defect (a very spin is
made on this term!). The rest of the film deals with his attempts to
settle in the US.
Obviously given the great political changes in the USSR and Eastern Europe since the film was released, it has aged noticeably. However, it is not entirely without merit. The big plus is obviously Robin Williams. He was and is a great actor and seems to have put in great effort on his Russian and spoken English accents. Notice the way he says "Mister". The hot, hot, hot Maria Conchita Gonzalez (Miss Venezuela 1971) plays an Italian immigrant and the love interest. The overall bent of the film is liberal - African-American families are especially realistically and positively portrayed. The central lesson of the film is that the transition from a Communist to a Capitalist mentality is not easy and the adjustment can bring great joy and sorrow. That is a very valid lesson in the largest context of the later collapse of the USSR and the painful transition ex-Soviet states are still going through.
I cannot understand why this movie has received such a low rating of 6.2. I love Robin Williams when he is funny and also when he is serious. He is the best of actors and his performance in Moscow on the Hudson, as a Russian musician, is awesome. Cuban-born Maria Conchita Alonso also gives an excellent performance as the Italian young lady who falls in love with Williams. My recommendation: don't wait any longer, rent Moscow on the Hudson. You'll cry, you'll laugh, and you'll appreciate freedom. No matter how risky freedom could be, it's the only opportunity to be yourself.
Robin Williams became famous, I think, for his stand-up comedy, like
his idol Jonathan Winters, but do you realize how many movies this guy
has made over the years? He's really become quite a film star and is
especially good playing against-type as a criminal or simply as a wacko
(see "One Hour Photo?")
Anway, this was an early Robin Williams film in which he plays a Russian musician defecting to the United States. He ("Vladamir Ivanoff") first hides out in a big store in New York City before being taken in as an immigrant by a black guy (can you say PC?) Williams does an outstanding job speaking Russian, by the way, as opposed to most English-speaking actors.
There really isn't much of a plot here, just slices of life, if you will, some of it with the usual Liberal promiscuous (i.e. "I'm a liberated woman and if I stay the night, don't misinterpret that I want to get involved with you," the Italian tells the Russian. I can think of a few more accurate descriptions that the word "liberated.")
All in all, despite the premise and talents of Williams, this was only so-so. It kind of runs out of steam halfway through and it's hard to maintain interest in the final 40 percent of it. Actually, I like Williams better when he plays more serious roles like this although I'm not sure if he himself was ready to play it straight this early in his career. He's just too tempted in this film to produce comedy. He's a talented and very strange guy; this film reflects that.
Robin Williams truly shows his amazing acting skills in this film. This movie is more of a drama than a comedy which is to be expected when you hear the plot of the story. Williams's Russian is quite convincing and the over all acting from the cast must be a 10 out of 10. It is easy to feel for Vladimir and the journey brings you along. The accuracy is stunning for those who lived through those kinds of situations. Vladimir finds that life is not perfect anywhere but he is sure happy to live in the land of opportunity, the land that gave him `Freedom'.
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