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A radical American journalist becomes involved with the Communist revolution in Russia and hopes to bring its spirit and idealism to the United States.


Won 3 Oscars. Another 19 wins & 34 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Grigory Zinoviev
Louis Fraina
Paul Trullinger
Speaker - Liberal Club
Mr. Partlow
Mrs. Partlow
MacIntyre Dixon ...
Carl Walters
Pat Starr ...
Helen Walters
Eleanor D. Wilson ...
Mrs. Reed
Floyd Dell


American journalist John Reed journeys to Russia to document the Bolshevik Revolution and returns a revolutionary. His fervor for left-wing politics leads him to Louise Bryant, then married, who will become a feminist icon and activist. Politics at home become more complicated as the rift grows between reality and Reed's ideals. Bryant takes up with a cynical playwright, and Reed returns to Russia, where his health declines. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Not since Gone With The Wind has there been a great romantic epic like it!


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

25 December 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Comrades  »

Box Office


$35,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Elaine May and Robert Towne did touch-up and polish work on the script. See more »


In the scene where Gene and Louise talk in Gene's apartment, the position of Gene's cigarette pack changes radically from shot to shot. See more »


[first lines]
Witness 1: [voiceover] Was that in 1913 or 17? I can't remember now. Uh, I'm, uh, beginning to forget all the people that I used to know, see?
Witness 2: [voiceover] Do I remember Louise Bryant? Why, of course, I couldn't forget her if I tried.
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Crazy Credits

As the credits roll, additional interviews with the 'witnesses' play. See more »


Featured in 100 Years at the Movies (1994) See more »


The Red Army is the Most Powerful of All
Performed by Moscow Radio Chorus
Recording courtesy of Folkways Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

21 April 1999 | by (Marietta, OH) – See all my reviews

An engrossing film about John Reed's love affair with Louise Bryant and his struggles in the midst of the Russian Revolution. There are great performances from Beatty, Keaton, Nicholson (excellent as Eugene O'Neill) and Stapelton in her Oscar winning performance as Emma Goldman. Beatty's precision and timing in the use of his camera in this picture is a superb achievement. There is a touch of David Lean in director Beatty in this film. The color, the editing, the sound. All of those important filmic elements are at play here in great form. Beatty won the Best Director Oscar, but lost the Best Picture award to Chariots of Fire.

22 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Diane Keaton deserved the Oscar, but... Kachito82
Disagree(d) with the praise for this movie larrydeemer
Saw this movie for the first time the other wmchase65
Is this the greatest film of the last 30 years? Gondorff4
The major Flaw. Nathan-Lock
Other great films about the Russian Revolution mcnuggets360
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