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Moscow on the Hudson (1984)

Robin Williams , Maria Conchita Alonso , Paul Mazursky  |  R |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Robin Williams, Maria Conchita Alonso, Cleavant Derricks, Alejandro Rey, Saveliy Kramarov
  • Directors: Paul Mazursky
  • Writers: Paul Mazursky, Leon Capetanos
  • Producers: Paul Mazursky, Geoffrey Taylor, Pato Guzman
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English, Russian
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 27, 2001
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005QCTY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,837 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Moscow on the Hudson" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Robin Williams will make you laugh and cry as a freedom-loving Soviet defector in this brilliant, thought-provoking romantic comedy. Circus saxophonist Vladimir Ivanoff (Williams) suddenly defects from his touring troupe in that temple of Western decadence - Bloomingdale's. Fleeing the K.G.B., Vladimir wins asylum and moves into the crowded Harlem flat of black security guard Lionel Witherspoon (Cleavant Derricks). Soon he has found both a voluptuous Italian lover Lucia Lombardo (Maria ConchitaAlonso), and a shrewd Cuban lawyer Orlando Ramirez (Alejandro Rey). Though Vladimir learns that life in America can be cold and even painful, he grows to love this strange and wondrous new land. Director Paul Mazursky has truly transformed Vladimir's declaration of independence into a very memorable film.

Customer Reviews

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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Ups and Downs of Freedom June 12, 2005
"Moscow on the Hudson" is not a perfect movie, but it's definitely a more thoughtful, intelligent movie than you might otherwise expect. Robin Williams' performance as a Russian jazz musician defecting to America is sensitive and full-bodied, full of the talent and charm that make him so good to watch. The story is a rollercoaster of moments which reflect the American experience seen through the eyes of someone thrust suddenly in the middle of it all, in the place where it is at its most insane and most wonderful: New York City.

There's a line near the end of the film which struck me as particuarly adroit: "In Moscow, we fight for a crumb of freedom! Here, you s*** on it!" It really can't be said any better than that, and the movie is filled with moments which illustrate what makes America such a great, rich, and sometimes frightening experience, and what makes freedom such an important, and sometimes dangerous, concept.

Freedom is playing "Take the A-Train" on your sax, on a fire escape in New York City in the middle of the day for all the world to hear. Freedom is getting mugged on a city street at 2 AM. Freedom is getting into a stupid fight with your girlfriend, and making up with her later. Freedom is too many brands of coffee at the store, and not knowing which one to choose. Freedom is getting drunk and laughing your head off. Freedom is choosing not to work, even when you could. Freedom is not knowing what comes next.

"Moscow on the Hudson" is sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and almost always smartly-observed. Mostly, it's a movie about freedom -- not in the meaningless context that we hear politicians and pundits talk about it, but it the real, everyday sense, the things that showcase the idea of freedom in all its liberating, chaotic, messy glory.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
For many years, I counted Moscow on the Hudson as my favorite film and if you like to be mildy entertained while considering what it means to be free in the USA, you may also love this thoughtful comedy. This was the first film that broke whatever box folks might have been trying to put Robin Williams in (after Mork and Mindy) and added Actor with a capital A to the public perception of him (at least for those who had the chance to see Moscow).

Among my favorite lines in the film is the disenchanted emigree played by Robin in a blue moment saying "When I was in Russia, I loved my misery, because it was mine." I think of this when I meet people whose eyes are closed to how precious our freedom is and the cost we must pay to learn to respect and treasure it.

There are many great scenes worth the wait, such as the final statement scene in the diner where other Russians who have learned how to deal with freedom, set the little Russian straight.

This is not an action filled or laugh filled romp. It is a film that requires a little patience and reflection, but an illumination to those with an open mind. Bravo Mazursky and Williams!
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
...and it would be worth checking out for that reason alone -- except that it's also a _really good_ movie, too. Aside from one brief nude scene (he and Maria Conchita Alonso are lounging in the bath to cool off), it's also about as wholesome as you're going to get in a film for adults. Maltin pretty much hits the nail on the head: It's a bittersweet story about finding out that the land of your dreams is great, but still not all it's cracked up to be. It could be hard for viewers born after about 1970 to really grasp the finality of the Williams character's decisionm, as he finds himself with no real prospect of ever seeing his home and old friends again.
IMHO, this film is severely under-rated. Most people have never heard of it; yet as far as I'm concerned, it's one of Williams' best roles. This is one of those movies that's about the characters, and they're developed beautifully. Mazursky and his casting people wisely selected veteran character performers to complement Williams and Venezualan soap-opera pro Alonzo. No one, not even Williams, steals their scenes, and that's as it should be in a movie like this.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
As someone whose family left Russia for America in the early to mid 70's this movie strikes a cord with me. I was too young to understand when this movie came out what my family felt when they came here. The sense of fear that Robins character feels when he is so close to being able to stay in America but the KGB will not allow him. Their watchful eye at every turn, even in America made Russians in that age feel justifiably paranoid. Robins overreaction in the super market to the choices in different brands of coffee. I found that hilarious as did members of my family but it is a humorous and accurate depiction of what we felt back then. The choices available was incredibly overwheeling. Seeing in that movie the drab lifestyle in communist Russia and the only thing that kept a person sane was idle chatter with ones neighbors. Of course I shouldnt forget the kindness expressed by the average American New Yorker. Also, the justifiable pride in being an American and standing up or someone seeking the safety of our borders. The only thing I would add to this film is maybe fast forwarding 20+ years when the Berlin Wall fell and the Communist Russia imploded. There a collective sigh of relief could be portrayed and Robins character would be reunited with this friends and family.
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I just got a copy today and, yeah, it's full screen, darn it. I only buy movies in the correct aspect ratio, so I'm sending this one back to Amazon. I'm rather disapointed they don't have a widescreen version in the USA. I guess I'll be ordering the Canadian one.
Jan 27, 2009 by Chris Swanson |  See all 2 posts
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