In Russia, Boris Grushenko is in love with his pseudo-intellectual cousin Sonja, who loves him since he too is a pseudo-intellectual, but she is not in love with him. Instead she is in love with his brother Ivan. But as Ivan doesn't seem to return her affections, she is determined to marry someone - anyone - except Boris. If that person isn't the perfect husband, then she has to find a suitable lover in addition. Boris' pursuit of Sonja has to take a back seat in his life when he, a pacifist and coward, is forced to join the Russian Army to battle Napoleon's forces which have just invaded Austria. Despite Sonja not being in the picture while he's away at war, Boris' thoughts do not stray totally from women. Although they take these two divergent paths in their lives, those paths cross once again as they, together, both try to find the perfect spouse and lover, and try to assassinate Napoleon.Written by
The movie is considered a spoof of the Russian Novel, particularly the works of Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky, particularly "The Idiot", "The Gambler", "War and Peace", "Anna Karenina", "Crime and Punishment", and "The Brothers Karamazov". See more »
In the Army going to war sequence, shot in Budapest, the Soviet Army was used and the Soviet Army was provided explosives. Hungarians were not allowed to army and explosives. See more »
How I got into this predicament I'll never know. Absolutely incredible. To be executed for a crime I never committed. Of course, isn't all mankind in the same boat? Isn't all mankind ultimately executed for a crime it never committed? The difference is that all men go eventually, but I go six o'clock tomorrow morning. I was supposed to go at five o'clock but I have a smart lawyer. Got leniency.
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Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev is listed in the credits as "S. Prokofiev," just the way he would have been listed in the credits of a Russian film. See more »
The MGM DVD release deletes the pre-title Prokofiev overture. See more »
This Woody Allen flick is by far the funniest of his that I have seen thus far, although i don't think its as good as a film as Annie Hall or The Purple Rose of Cairo, both which I consider masterpieces of Woody's, Love and death is still a brilliant film. The story of Boris Grushenko (Allen), a Russian who is caught up in the invasion of the french lead by Napoleon (Tolkan). Meanwhile he also loves Sonja (Keaton), a girl who has confusions of her own. The film is written brilliantly, great dialogues and wit, its truly offbeat humor, the funniest from Woody. Although his direction here is a bit weird, and at times the plot is not believable at all and obviously satirical, the performances and great dialogues make it work. It was a bit redundant and had a bit too much slapstick at times but still enjoyable. Watching this film, truly had me laughing throughout. Woody was perfect in his role, probably my favorite acting from him along with his acting in Annie Hall. Diane Keaton was also great here, not as good as her other work in this decade (GF, GF2 and Annie Hall), however still great here. James Tolkan was also great as Napoleon. 9/10 #91 on list of all time favorite films
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