Moscow on the Hudson

Overview

Robin Williams stars as Vladimir Ivanoff, a Russian sax player working in a circus whose home life with his warm and colorful family does not compensate for his feelings of repression and lost opportunity in his native land. When the circus comes to New York, Williams goes on a shopping trip to Bloomingdale's -- where he suddenly announces his intention to defect. Befriended and given a place to stay by security guard Lionel Witherspoon Cleavant Derricks, Vladimir makes the slow and sometimes painful transition ...
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Overview

Robin Williams stars as Vladimir Ivanoff, a Russian sax player working in a circus whose home life with his warm and colorful family does not compensate for his feelings of repression and lost opportunity in his native land. When the circus comes to New York, Williams goes on a shopping trip to Bloomingdale's -- where he suddenly announces his intention to defect. Befriended and given a place to stay by security guard Lionel Witherspoon Cleavant Derricks, Vladimir makes the slow and sometimes painful transition from Russian to American citizen, helped along by his lady love and fellow immigrant, Lucia Lombardo Maria Conchita Alonso, and immigration attorney and onetime Cuban refugee Orlando Ramirez Alejandro Rey.
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Special Features

Director's Commentary ; Bonus Trailers ; Interactive Menus ; Scene Selections
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
Paul Mazursky's tale of a Russian saxophone player, Vladimir Ivanoff Robin Williams, who defects in Bloomingdale's during a New York tour is one of the director's most accomplished and affecting works. As longtime fan Pauline Kael once observed, Mazursky is most inspired at his messiest -- when he casually strings observational scenes together, bound by a cohesive idea. Moscow on the Hudson embodied a stride forward for the director; Mazursky and co-screenwriter Leon Capetanos are able to maintain two narrative levels at once. On its surface, the story retains the haphazard, random, and slightly chaotic feel of everyday life in the States like Mazursky's earlier pictures, but beneath it all, Mazursky and Capetanos meticulously structure the script, never once abandoning the path of watching Vlad become fully Americanized and relinquish his cultural identity. This idea of bittersweet assimilation not only anchors the picture, but sustains its sad-eyed seriocomic flavor. Mazursky and Capetanos resist the urge to overtly politicize; they suggest that the socioeconomic drawbacks of living on the far side of the Curtain such as the thousand-person lineups for toilet paper, poorly sized shoes, etc. may have threatened to make life miserable, but that the existence of family and friends -- and a Russian cultural identity -- partially redeemed it all, which explains why Vlad so misses his homeland even as he relishes political asylum. Most clever are the related parallels that Mazursky and Capetanos establish between Vlad's kinfolk and the African-American clan of Lionel Cleavant Derricks, with whom he comes to reside such as the similarities of their eccentric grandfathers -- reminding us that family is family, regardless of cultural or political backdrop. The supporting cast of immigrant characters, such as Maria Conchita Alonso as Vlad's Italian lover, Lucia; and the late Flying Nun vet Alejandro Rey as Argentinean immigration attorney Orlando Ramirez -- is uniformly superb. Most impressive, however, is Williams, who climbs so deeply into character that he loses all traces of himself. That he failed to earn an Oscar nomination for this picture is incredible. In interviews, he has vaguely referenced Mazursky's hyper-disciplined directorial style -- and one senses that this director, like George Roy Hill on the Garp set, refused to let Williams cut up his scenes with shtick. That is fortunate; the actor's performance suggests that his ability as a thespian, when it is properly disciplined and grounded in a worthy production, far outstrips that of his Hollywood contemporaries. Mazursky and Capetanos fill their script with hilarious, touching, insightful moments, many used to capture the confusion and insanity that an Eastern European would experience upon immigrating to the Big Apple.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/27/2001
  • UPC: 043396065369
  • Original Release: 1984
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Pan & Scan
  • Language: English, Français
  • Time: 1:57:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 156

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Robin Williams Vladimir Ivanoff
Maria Conchita Alonso Lucia Lombardo
Cleavant Derricks Lionel Witherspoon
Alejandro Rey Orlando Ramirez
Savely Kramarov Boris
Elya Baskin Anatoly
Oleg Rudnick Yuri
Natalie Iwanow Sasha
Tiger Haynes Lionel's grandfather
Edye Byrde Lionel's Mother
Robert Macbeth Lionel's Stepfather
George Kelly Wild Bill Hawthorne
Ludmila Kramarevsky Vladimir's Mother
Eric Orbom Young Frenchman
Ivo Vrzal Vladimir's Father
Murray Grand
Donald King
Juanita Mahone
Royce Rich Bloomingdale's Cop
Dana Lorge Wanda
Filomena Spagnuolo Uncle Sal's Mother
Alexander Beniaminov Vladimir's grandfather
Donna Ingram-Young Lelanne
Olga Talyn Svetlana
Stephanie Cotsirilos Veronica Cohen
Fred Strother Bill
Anthony Cortino Male Clerk
Betsy Mazursky Bloomingdale's Manager
Christopher Wynkoop Agent Ross
Lyman Ward Agent Williams
Joe Lynn Mean Man on Subway
Joy Todd Blanche
Paul Mazursky Dave
Thomas Ikeda Korean Cab Driver
Barbara Montgomery Mrs. Marlowe
Sam Moses Dr. Reddy
Yakov Smirnoff Lev
Sam Stoneburner Panama Hat
Michael Greene Texan
Rosetta Le Noire The Judge
Sal Carollo Uncle Sal
Jacques Sandulescu Truck Driver
Emil Feist Circus Performer
Vladimir Tukan Strong Man
Michael T. Laide Waiter at Reception
Linda Kerns Fat Lady at Bloomingdale's
Armand Dahan Iranian
Jose Rabelo Supermarket Clerk
Antonia Rey Counter Woman at McDonald's
Paul Davidovsky Russian Man
Luis Ramos Mexican Dishwasher
Kim Chan Chinese Customer
Technical Credits
Paul Mazursky Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Leon Capetanos Screenwriter
Pato Guzman Production Designer
Richard Halsey Editor
Alex Hapsas Asst. Director
Waylon Jennings Songwriter
Steven Jordan Set Decoration/Design
Dennis L. Maitland Sound/Sound Designer
David McHugh Score Composer, Songwriter
Michael Molly Art Director
Peter Rothe Art Director
Geoffrey Taylor Producer
Albert Wolsky Costumes/Costume Designer
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