Vanya on 42nd Street (1994)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  19 October 1994 (USA)
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New York actors rehearse Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" in a dilapidated theatre.



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Complete credited cast:
Phoebe Brand ...
Jerry Mayer ...
Andre Gregory ...
Mrs. Chao


An uniterrupted rehersal of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" played out by a company of actors. The setting is their run down theater with an unusable stage and crumbling ceiling. The play is shown act by act with the briefest of breaks to move props or for refreshments. The lack of costumes, real props and scenery is soon forgotten. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 October 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

42. kadun Vanja-eno  »

Box Office


$1,746,050 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


One of a handful of American movies directed by French director Louis Malle which signify a place in the film's title. The pictures include Alamo Bay (1985), Atlantic City (1980) and Vanya on 42nd Street (1994). See more »


Version of Onkel Vanja (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

Captures the complexity of Tchekhov's masterpiece
26 December 2003 | by (Melbourne, Australia) – See all my reviews

Malle's adaptation handles Tchekhov's notoriously difficult shifts in mood and context excellently, investing every scene and almost every word with an edge of ambivalence and frustration, and the performances are all first-rate. Moore in particular, from her first appearance in the film (which is without dialogue) to the final scene constructs a really intelligent performance as Yeliena, I feel, and she seems to cover the whole gamut of Yeliena's character from the giggly and superficial to the introspective.

With all due respect to the American school this film could have descended easily into overwrought Tennessee Williams-esque Naturalism with lots of method-style spitting and uncomfortable truth. Instead the intellectual, spiritual dimensions of Tchekhov's play are always brought to the fore, in addition of course to Tchekhov's dark brand of humour, where the actors (particularly Julianne Moore) laugh through their tears and visa versa. Avoiding the common temptation of drawing out the play's anguished characters at a snail's pace, Malle also paces the film well, with an emphasis on lightness and subtlety of delivery - the result is both intellectually and emotionally satisfying.

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