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Start the Revolution Without Me (1970)

Gene Wilder , Donald Sutherland , Bud Yorkin  |  PG |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Gene Wilder, Donald Sutherland, Hugh Griffith, Jack MacGowran, Billie Whitelaw
  • Directors: Bud Yorkin
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 1, 2003
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JM8R
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,162 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Start the Revolution Without Me" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Gene Wilder and Donald Sutherland star as two sets of twins mixed up at birth -- one raised as an aristocrat, and the other as a peasant. They meet 30 years later on the eve of the French Revolution, where their mistaken identities create mass confusion.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ignore the nay Sayers, this movie is genius comedy October 10, 2005
By C. Chow
I first remember seeing this film at age 6. I remember it because not fully understanding history, I thought this was a film about the American Revolution and the climax featured American patriots sacking a palace of George III.

I'm surprised there are so many negative reviews of film here on Amazon. The only people I've ever met whom even remember this film remember it because it's one of their favorites.

The plot: Two sets of twin brothers are switched at birth just before the French Revolution. One set is raised in the opulence of the aristocracy while the other set are raised as peasants.

1789, the rich brothers are sent to infiltrate Louis XIV palace and take part in an overly elaborate coup. The poor set are reluctant members of the French revolutionaries. After a mix up, the peasants become guests is Louis XIV's palace where they are not only out of place at balls and dinners, but fighting for their lives to survive this overly elaborate coup. In the climax the brothers flee with their girlfriends as the uprising peasants storm the palace in a battle royal.

Why this works:

High production quality: Photography, costume design, set direction, and editing are usually pushed aside in most comedies since the focus is on the actors and the jokes they tell. `Start the Revolution Without Me' is brilliantly shot on location to a production degree that dwarfs most recent 18th century films and take full advantage of it's beautiful setting.

Orson Wells' narration: I'd never have guessed that Orson Wells could be so funny. And in fact he isn't. He narrates throughout as if `Start the Revolution Without Me' were a serious historical piece. This is what's so funny. EVERY scene is introduced with the phrase "1789" the way only Wells can.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Always funnier each time you watch October 30, 2003
I have loved this movie from the first time I saw it and repeated viewings over the years have not diminished it at all. In fact, it seems funnier every time I watch it. The DVD presentation is good and the commentary soundtrack by Wilder, Sutherland and Yorkin is worth hearing for any fan of the film. As funny as anything produced by Monty Python, Mel Brooks or Mystery Science Theater, the comedy is dense and unending. Every opportunity for humor is used to great extent, visually, verbally, and physically. The supporting cast is strong (Billie Whitelaw, Hugh Griffith and more greats) and there are many LOL (laugh out loud) scenes. Thank goodness you can watch this DVD, so it's always "still 1789"!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
This hilarious comedy takes the story of the Corsican Brothers and fractures it with two sets of mismatched twins, both played by Donald Sutherland and Gene Wilder, one set raised as the noble brothers, the other as peasants. Throw in the France of Louis XVI just before the revolution and you've got the setting for this totally screwball comedy.

Bud Yorkin & Norman Lear (of All in the Family) directed and produced and added a cast of the best English comedians to their two stars, Sutherland & Wilder. This includes: Hugh Griffith as the befuddled King; Billie Whitelaw as a randy Marie Antoinette; Victor Spinetti as the reptilian Count Escargot; Jack MacGowran as the seedy Revolutionary amongst others. Oh, and Ewa Aulin (she played Candy) is delicious.

When Gene Wilder goes nuts, no one can match him for hilarity. As the arrogant, pigheaded, lightning-tempered Corsican nobleman he is just simply wonderful. Sutherland's foppish brother is a perfect counterpoint.

There is so much good stuff in this that one could go on at length (the Ball with everyone passing notes of intrigue and the King in his chicken costume is just one). Suffice it to say, they threw in the kitchensink with one-liners, references to Dumas and every kind of swashbuckler, non-sequiters, puns etc.

A crazy madcap just-for-fun all-out comedy. One of the best ever made. A Classic. See it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gene Wilder at his very best! December 15, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
If you enjoy Gene Wilder in the Mel Brooks films, then this movie is right up your alley. It is truly one of the funniest ever made.
The story involves two sets of twins - with one brother in each set switched at birth. One set is raised as aristocrats; the other as peasant revolutionaries. The time - 1779. (When you see the movie, you'll know how funny that line just was!)
Donald Sutherland and Gene Wilder are hilarious as the mismatched brothers, with the peasant-raised set rather normal if a bit cowardly, and the aristos just this side of psychotic. (Ok, maybe they are on the other side...).
Throw in a misunderstood Louis XVI betrayed by everybody and his brother, a Marie Antoinette who could give Messalina a run for her money and, of course, the sinister minister, D'Escargot, and you have the most outrageously funny Gene Wilder movie ever.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AIRPLANE! long before AIRPLANE! April 11, 2003
Years before BLAZING SADDLES, AIRPLANE! and THE NAKED GUN, this movie broke the ground for straight-faced wackiness while sending up the French Revolution.
Gene Wilder is absolutely hilarious as both the cowardly peasant and the kinky Corsican Brother. This is right up there with his performance in THE PRODUCERS, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, and his side-splitting vignette in Woody Allen's EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX.
Donald Sutherland is also hilarious as his shuffled twins and the rest of the cast is excellent. Billie Whitelaw, who six years later played the demonic maid in THE OMEN, is a sexy Queen Marie Antoinette.
Definitely check this out--when it finally hits on DVD!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A family classic... we've memorized all the ...
A family classic...we've memorized all the words!
Published 2 months ago by RC
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, funny, funny!
If you need a good laugh...this movie is one of the answers.
An under-rated film IMHO!
Excellent cast!
Published 2 months ago by Penelope Phares
5.0 out of 5 stars A mix of Monty and Mel
Gene Wilder, Donald Sutherland, Orson Wells, humor that is a mix of Monty Python and Mel Brooks… need I say more? This is insanely funny.
Published 2 months ago by Mark A Stauffer
5.0 out of 5 stars love the movie--lots of laughs
arrived promptly, love the movie--lots of laughs!
Published 2 months ago by mary
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Hys. Ter. I. Cal.
Published 3 months ago by Pavlin Lange
5.0 out of 5 stars Wacky Wilder + Silly Sutherland = Twice the fun!
If you like crazy, wacky, off-the-wall comedy, this is for you. Lots of great people (Gene Wilder, Donald Sutherland, Hugh Griffiths, Orson Welles). Read more
Published 4 months ago by Chris Grapentine
5.0 out of 5 stars Crazy, silly flick
This is a great movie! It has loads of comedy, and will make you chuckle. How could you go wrong with Gene Wilder and Donald Sutherland? Hilarious!
Published 5 months ago by Heather Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Rollicking Ribald Raucous Revolutionary Romp
What can you say about a movie that has Louis XVI decked out in a metallic chicken suit at a palace reception? Read more
Published 5 months ago by David Baldwin
3.0 out of 5 stars Ho-Ho-Hum
Erroll Flynn meets the Keystone Kops in this dated film. If you like a hysterical Wilder, this is just for you. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Grampy
4.0 out of 5 stars Typical Gene Wilder movie
While I like the movie as a whole, I find Gene Wilder's propensity for yelling his lines a tad bit annoying... similar to many of his other movies.
Published 7 months ago by Peter N. Anderson
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