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The Inner Circle (1991)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  25 December 1991 (USA)
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The true story of Ivan Sanchin, the KGB officer who was Stalin's private film projectionist from 1939 until the dictator's death. Told from Sanchin's view, the sympathetic but tragically ... See full summary »


(as Andrei Konchalovsky)


(as Andrei Konchalovsky) ,
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Aleksandr Zbruev ...
Feodor Chaliapin Jr. ...
Bess Meyer ...
Katya (16 years)
Mariya Baranova ...
Katya (10 years)
Irina Kupchenko ...
Vladimir Kuleshov ...
Vsevolod Larionov ...
Aleksandr Filippenko ...
Evdokiya Germanova ...
Lyubov Matyushina ...
Aleksandr Garin ...
Mariya Vinogradova ...


The true story of Ivan Sanchin, the KGB officer who was Stalin's private film projectionist from 1939 until the dictator's death. Told from Sanchin's view, the sympathetic but tragically flawed hero maintains unwavering faith in his "Master" despite the arrest of his neighbors and his involvement with their daughter, his wife's affair with the chilling State Security chief Lavrentii Beria and her tragic decline, and the deadly political machinations within the Kremlin he witnesses firsthand. Written by Martin H. Booda <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




PG-13 | See all certifications »



| |


Release Date:

25 December 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Projectionist  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$583,979 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


While in Russia, Tom Hulce met with Alexander Ganshin (upon whose life the film was based) to better learn what it was like to work for Stalin. See more »


The moment than Ivan Sunchin has a meeting with his NKVD (KGB) superiors in Moscow's "Revolutionary Square" Metro Station. Just before coming in to his superior bunker office, he is strolling along the station. The plan of Arbatsko - Pokrovskaya line is visible on a wall of the station . The plan consist of five or six transfers to other lines of the Moscow metro, which was current for Moscow metro circa early 1990s, not 1940s than movie plot set. In early 1940s Arbatsko - Pokrovskaya line had only two transfers to other lines, and metro plan looked different. See more »


Katya: [On her parents] They're traitors! They tried to kill Stalin! They should be shot!
See more »


Features The Great Waltz (1938) See more »

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User Reviews

Sad, beautiful, very moving
22 November 1999 | by (Chicago, Illinois, USA) – See all my reviews

This film is a great favorite of mine, though it's a hard-sell to recommend to friends. It's an extremely moving story that brings tears to your eyes, without manipulating you by "pulling the strings." The pathos emerge from the events and the (very well-played) characters depicted. Russian artists seem to have a special affinity for this, and for Konchalovsky this is a very accessible film. Was it tailor-made for Western audiences? The cast would suggest so. Although Tom Hulce was wonderful in "Amadeus," seeing him in "The Inner Circle" impressed me no end. I think it's telling that more than one reviewer of Russian descent on the IMDb found his characterization quintessentially Russian. It's a damn shame we don't see more of his work in films these days. The character of Ivan's wife Anastasia might have helped given rise to some comments that the characters are two-dimensional. As played by Lolita Davidovich, she is all simple, sweet naivety. Somewhat distractingly, for me she evoked memories of Gilda Radner in her appearance and voice. Nevertheless, I enjoyed her performance, and thought it an honest and effective one. All of us should have the opportunity to know someone like Anastasia in our lifetimes. Like many such characters in works of fiction, she proves to be too good to live. The scene at the end of the film, when Ivan sees the teenaged Katya amongst the mob at Stalin's funeral, and runs over the heads and shoulders of the crowd to prevent her from killing herself in the lethal crush -- it's absolutely devastating. How Konchalovsky finds a credible way to set the scene of their cathartic breakdown to each other to the fourth movement of Tchaikovsky's "Pathetique" symphony is really ingenious. I get misty just writing about it. Maybe it's not for everybody, but I can't praise it highly enough.

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