Start the Revolution Without Me is a 1970 comedy film 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
- Agent Peacock: Pierre. He may be a dandy but he is a deadly one.
- Artistic License – History: The film is somewhat of a parody of various historical fiction 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.
- Butt Monkey: The King.
- 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.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Philippe
- 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.
Philippe: Hmm. (beat) And for my brother?
- It's a Costume Party, 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?
- Lovable Coward: Both Charles and Claude who will flee whenever danger erupts
- Medieval Morons
- No Ending
- Really Gets Around: Marie Antoinette
- Separated at Birth: The two pairs of twins, with each family getting one from each pair.
- Swapped Roles
- Switched at Birth: One of the babies that grew up into Gene Wilder was switched with one of the babies that grew up into Donald Sutherland.
- Trap Door: The doctor at the mental hospital has one in his office.
- Twin Switch
- Upper-Class Twit: King Louis