Start the Revolution Without Me
is a 1970 comedy starring Gene Wilder
and Donald Sutherland
as two sets of twins (one born from aristocrats, the other from peasants) who undergo a bizarre switch at birth after the doctor delivering them confuses the two sets; he switches one twin in each pair so each couple will get at least one of their own children. Years later, on the eve of the French Revolution, hilarity ensues as each pair plays a role in the upcoming events.Orson Welles
introduces and narrates the film, which was produced and directed by Bud Yorkin just before he and executive producer Norman Lear
created TV's All in the Family
This film provides examples of the following tropes:
- Affectionate Parody
- Artistic License: The film is somewhat of a parody of various historical works about the French Revolution, and is not particularly concerned with historical accuracy.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Hilariously done in the ending, when certain characters from the story show up to kill narrator Orson Welles.
- Camp Gay: Pierre.
Philippe: ONE DAY, I SHALL BE KING!
Pierre: And I shall be Queen!
- Clothing Damage: Christina keeps tearing at Mimi's clothes trying to find the birthmark to prove they're sisters, eventually leaving her completely nude.
- Combat Pragmatist: Both Charles and Claude, who will run away and hide whenever the fighting starts.
- The French Revolution: Which, we're continually reminded, takes place in 1789.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Philippe
- Hey, It's That Guy!: d'Escargot is played by Victor Spinetti, better known to most for his roles in The Beatles' films A Hard Day's Night, Help!, and Magical Mystery Tour.
- Identical Stranger: The two pairs of identical twins also perfectly resemble the other pair.
- I'll Take Two Beers Too: When d'Escargot visits the de Sisis and lays out his plan for them to betray the King:
Philippe: And what is the reward for this treachery?
Escargot: Half of France.
) And for my brother?
- It's a Costume Ball, I Swear: Marie Antoinette humiliates King Louis by having him don a chicken costume for a palace ball.
- Large Ham: Philippe. But it is Gene Wilder, what do you expect?
- Medieval Morons
- No Ending
- Really Gets Around: Marie Antoinette
- Separated at Birth / Switched at Birth: Of course.
- Swapped Roles
- The Cast Showoff: Gene Wilder with fencing. It shows up in several of his other movies too. Wilder was a college fencing champion and one of the best fencers in the country at one time.
- Trap Door: The doctor at the mental hospital has one in his office.
- Twin Switch
- Upper-Class Twit