Paramount Pictures | Release Date: November 17, 1933 CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION
Universal acclaim based on 15 Critic Reviews
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The Four Marx Brothers -- Groucho the Gabber, Harpo the Honker, Chico the Chiseler and Zeppo the Zero -- were the wildest, most anarchically funny movie comedians of their era. (Of any era.) And this is the high water mark of their unique cinematic insanity: a ferocious satire on government, war and diplomacy that leaves no propriety or pretension unpricked, no sacred cow unslaughtered. [19 Sept 1997, p.O]
Orlando SentinelCrosby Day
A classic of aggressive nonsense. Also, there is something tighter about Duck Soup as compared with their later efforts. It isn't just the absence of an extraneous love story, or the fact that Harpo doesn't play the harp and Chico doesn't "shoot the keys." Nor is it that much of the comedy crosses the magic line from parody into satire. It's a glistening patina of whimsy that rushes through the work, a heightened effervescence. In addition, the film is only 68 minutes long. [16 Dec 2001, p.16]
USA TodayWes D Gehring
A few years ago, the American Film Institute had the audacity to name Duck Soup (1933) merely one of the top five comedies ever made. I have no idea what they could have been thinking; it clearly is number one. [1 July 2004, p.75]
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)John Doyle
This 70-minute movie is the most startling, breakneck comedy of the Marx Brothers' career... Next to Chaplin's "The Great Dictator", this is the purest satire of dictatorship on film. [20 Jan 1996]
The Marx Brothers in their greatest movie.
The Marx Brothers at their purest and funniest - no romantic subplot, no musical interludes with Harpo, no distractions from the fun of watching Groucho deflate Margaret Dumont as he becomes dictator of Fredonia and frivolously declares war. Cleverly directed by Leo McCarey, it was the team's least popular 1930s film, perhaps because the tone of non-stop anarchy proved too unsettling to Depression audiences. [10 May 1991, p.65]