Ivan the Terrible, Part I (1945)
"Ivan Groznyy" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Biography, History  |  8 March 1947 (USA)
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Reviews: 49 user | 34 critic

During the early part of his reign, Ivan the Terrible faces betrayal from the aristocracy and even his closest friends as he seeks to unite the Russian people.


(as Sergei Eisenstein)


(as Sergei Eisenstein)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lyudmila Tselikovskaya ...
Serafima Birman ...
Mikhail Nazvanov ...
Mikhail Zharov ...
Amvrosi Buchma ...
Mikhail Kuznetsov ...
Pavel Kadochnikov ...
Andrei Abrikosov ...
Aleksandr Mgebrov ...
Maksim Mikhaylov ...
Vladimir Balashov ...
Piotr Volynetz
Nikola, Simpleton Beggar
Semyon Timoshenko ...
Kaspar von Oldenbock, Livonian ambassador
Aleksandr Rumnyov ...
The Stranger


In 1547, Ivan IV (1530-1584), archduke of Moscow, crowns himself Tsar of Russia and sets about reclaiming lost Russian territory. In scenes of his coronation, his wedding to Anastasia, his campaign against the Tartars in Kazan, his illness when all think he will die, recovery, campaigns in the Baltic and Crimea, self-imposed exile in Alexandrov, and the petition of Muscovites that he return, his enemies among the boyars threaten his success. Chief among them are his aunt, who wants to advance the fortunes of her son, a simpleton, and Kurbsky, a warrior prince who wants both power and the hand of Anastasia. Ivan deftly plays to the people to consolidate his power. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Biography | History


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

8 March 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ivan the Terrible, Part I  »

Filming Locations:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Last movie directed and completed by Sergei M. Eisenstein. See more »


At the beginning of the color dancing sequence, the many dances jump and fall in front of the Tsar. At the end of this sequence, one of the falling dancers pushes the wig off the head of Vladimir, as he lays on the floor apparently in a drunken state. See more »


Referenced in Henri Langlois: The Phantom of the Cinémathèque (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

Majestic operatic film, restored with glory
8 February 1999 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

Eisenstein's 'Ivan the Terrible' once featured in an American book of the 50 worst films of all times, along with 'Attack of the Killer Tomatoes' and 'Plan 9 from Outer Space'.

But as true cinemaniacs acknowledge, 'Ivan', along with 'Ivan the Terrible Part 2', is one of the great masterpieces of the screen. Its style is highly artificial, the acting operatic with no condescension to realism. But the viewer is swept away by the stylised pacing, the way each scene is so precisely plotted and designed -- each camera shot becomes a precious ornamented jewel. The film is, like the earlier 'Alexander Nevsky', as much a vehicle for the great Russian composer Prokofiev as for Eisenstein -- the two attained a cinematic union of image and music which has been rarely equaled since.

The two 'Image' Region 1 DVDs for Ivan Parts One and Two are spartan affairs, with no added features. The orchestral soundtrack is definitely low-fi. But the print sources must have been excellent -- the black-and-white prints are as lustrous as the finest modern movie, the images sharp and clear. And when the film suddenly switches from black-and-white and erupts in colour, the colour is dense and brilliant, unlike the bleached and pale versions usually doing the art-cinema rounds.

How fantastic to have available such treasures on DVD, in such pristine condition! Buy! Buy! Buy!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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