Sleeper (1973) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • A nerdish store owner is revived out of cryostasis into a future world to fight an oppressive government.

  • Miles, a nebbishy clarinet player who also runs a health food store in NYC's Greenwich Village, is cryogenically frozen, and brought back - 200 years in the future, by anti-government radicals in order to assist them in their attempt to overthrow the oppressive government. When he goes off on his own, he begins to explore this brave new world, which has Orgasmatron booths to replace sex and confessional robots.

  • Health food store owner and wannabe jazz clarinetist Miles Monroe is involuntarily cryogenically frozen in 1973 after a mishap while in minor surgery. His still frozen body is found in 2173, and unfrozen by scientists Drs. Melik and Orva. In unfreezing Miles, the doctors have committed an illegal act in what is now a totalitarian police state, where records of the past have been destroyed and the resulting history unknown. The society is filled primarily of conformists who look to the state's "leader" for guidance. The doctors, working with an underground group of revolutionaries based in what is called the Western District, ask Miles to help the revolutionaries infiltrate the state's secret and highly important Aires project. Their rationale is that Miles does not exist in the eyes of the state and thus if captured cannot provide any information to them. In Miles' reluctant journey to the Western District, he co-opts the initially unwilling assistance of one of the conformists, poet Luna Schlosser, in trying both to reach the Western District and avoid capture by the police. As a non-political person who believes that all leaders are self-interested, Miles - even after learning the nature of the Aires project - has the primary goals of staying alive and getting the girl, as he is starting to fall in love with Luna, who may have her own thoughts about love and life in this society.

  • A shy and awkward New York health food store owner, Miles Munroe, is cryogenically frozen and is awakened some 200 years in the future. This is not the world Miles would have expected. Here, law and order is the rule and dissent of any kind is forbidden. Those who have re-animated him are rebelling against the forces that be and they send Miles off into his new world telling him to look for the Aries project. Miles isn't quite prepared for the automated, emotionless world that he faces and it leads to many numerous escapades.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • In the year 2173, doctors revive cryogenically frozen Miles Monroe (Woody Allen), a Greenwich Village health food store owner and ragtime clarinet player, who entered a hospital in 1973 for a routine ulcer operation and never regained consciousness. When Miles's tinfoil protective covering is peeled off, he wakes up a fugitive in a totalitarian state called the American Federation led by a Big Brother-esq man known only as 'The Leader'. The doctors hide the illegally defrosted Miles at Dr. Melik's house, marveling at his quaint requests for organic foods and his ignorance of the health benefits of steak, deep-fried foods and hot fudge.

    Soon, the doctors ask Miles to help them learn about the Aries Project, which they suspect is The Leader's plot to destroy their revolutionary movement, adding that Miles's brain will be reprogrammed if his identity is revealed. Just as Miles declines to participate, security police swarm, enabling him to escape as the doctors are captured.

    Hiding in a nearby van full of robots, Miles uses spare parts to disguise himself as one of them and is delivered to the home of poet Luna Schlosser (Diane Keaton), who is disappointed by her new servant's facial features, but needs help for a party that evening. Instructed by Luna to prepare food for her guests, Miles spoons instant pudding powder into a bowl, immediately producing a viscous mass, which is enveloping the counter as the doorbell sounds. After accidentally incinerating the guests' wraps, Miles struggles with the rampaging pudding in the kitchen, beating it into submission with a broom while Luna and her artist friends become intoxicated from passing around an orb (a synthetic marijuana orb that can be absorbed through one's bare skin).

    After the party, Luna and her painter friend Herald enter the orgasmatron, a device which simulates sex. After climaxing, they emerge chatting casually, after which Luna recites her new poem about a butterfly turning into a caterpillar and then has a tantrum when Herald points out the biological flaw of its premise. Luna is calmed when they turn to the telescreen, a huge television, and waves back to The Leader as he bids them goodnight.

    The next day, Luna takes her new robot to have his head replaced with a more attractive one, but before Miles is decapitated, he slips out to her car, explaining that he is a man from the past. When Luna responds to Miles's request for help with screams, trying to expose him as an alien, Miles hijacks her car and drives to the woods, where he gags her. Miles offers Luna safety if she will help him reach the underground, and eventually, overtaken by hunger, Luna agrees to help Miles if he will feed her.

    Finding gigantic produce growing at a farm, Miles is peeling a canoe-sized banana when the farmer arrives and they both repeatedly slip on the peel. After stunning the farmer with a strawberry, Miles returns to the woods where he and Luna dine on an enormous celery stalk and huge slices of banana. When Miles forces Luna to accompany him to a house where he asks to borrow a car, Luna contacts the police, who instruct her to detain the alien. Borrowing their host's inflatable hydrovac suit, Luna convinces Miles to wear it as a disguise, then drives to a deserted road near a river where she inflates the suit in order to disable Miles as the police approach. As Miles bounces away, the police seize Luna and, due to her exposure to the "alien", and are about to kill her. Just then, Miles pounces from behind. Running to the river, Luna climbs onto the buoyant Miles, paddling until the police fire a shot into his suit, propelling them to the other side. There, Miles finds an abandoned 20th century era Volkswagon, which starts immediately. As they drive away, Luna asks what it is like to be dead for 200 years, to which Miles replies it is "like a weekend in Beverly Hills". Luna doesn't understand.

    Miles and Luna take refuge in Dr. Melik's deserted house where Luna suggests they use the orgasmatron, but Miles tries to win her over to more primitive ways of making love. Interrupted by the police, Miles gives Luna Dr. Melik's gun, telling her to hide until he can lead them to the western district where they will find out about the Aries Project. Miles is hiding in the orgasmatron when the police find him disheveled and grinning like a zombie. They lead him away, then later, he wakes up in a drawer and is informed that he will be initiated into a society that will completely take care of his needs and desires. After being reprogrammed, fitted with new clothes and moved into a new apartment, complete with a robot dog named Rags, Miles is soon working at a new job and dating a pretty co-worker.

    Now living alone in the woods, Luna is captured by handsome, blond Erno Windt , a leader with the underground, and becomes a revolutionary. After dinner at McDonalds one night, Miles is surprised at home by Luna, whom he does not remember and, horrified to learn that she is with the underground, he calls for Rags to attack as Erno jumps out of the orgasmatron. Captured and taken to the woods, Miles is reprogrammed again. After regaining his original personality and memory, Miles is attracted to Luna, but sadly realizes she is involved with Erno. Agreeing to help with Erno's plan for Aries Day, Miles and Luna infiltrate a medical facility disguised as doctors, and as Miles jealously bickers with Luna over her feelings for Erno, they are surprised by a team of physicians who mistake them for expected guests.

    Entering a top- secret meeting, they all learn that an assassin's bomb has destroyed The Leader, except for his nose, which now must be cloned. Miles and Luna determine to create a diversion and steal the nose, but instead, find themselves in an operating theater with the doctors ready to observe them performing the procedure. After stalling as long as they can, Miles hides the nose under his surgical mask, but it is quickly discovered. Miles holds the nose hostage with Dr. Melik's gun while he and Luna run off, then ultimately throws it under a steamroller where it is flattened, to the horror of the doctors and police.

    Having successfully escaped, Luna ecstatically proclaims that Erno's revolution will soon triumph, but Miles retorts that political solutions never work, adding that in six months, someone will be stealing Erno's nose. Agreeing that they love each other, Luna ruefully informs Miles that science has proven meaningful relationships cannot last. When Miles refutes the theory, she observes that he does not believe in science, political systems or God and asks what he does believe in. Miles answers that he believes in sex and death, two things that come once in a lifetime, but after death one is not nauseous. Finally, Miles and Luna kiss.

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