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Kolya (1996)
"Kolja" (original title)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Music  |  24 January 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 11,834 users  
Reviews: 62 user | 62 critic

Franta Louka is a concert cellist in Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia, a confirmed bachelor and a lady's man. Having lost his place in the state orchestra, he must make ends meet by playing ... See full summary »



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Title: Kolya (1996)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 20 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Zdenek Sverák ...
Andrey Khalimon ...
Kolja (as Andrej Chalimon)
Libuse Safránková ...
Ondrej Vetchý ...
Stella Zázvorková ...
Ladislav Smoljak ...
Irina Bezrukova ...
Nadezda (as Irina Livanova)
Liliyan Malkina ...
Tamara (as Lilian Malkina)
Karel Hermánek ...
Petra Spalková ...
Nella Boudová ...
René Pribil ...
Miroslav Táborský ...
Slávka Budínová ...


Franta Louka is a concert cellist in Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia, a confirmed bachelor and a lady's man. Having lost his place in the state orchestra, he must make ends meet by playing at funerals and painting tombstones. But he has run up a large debt, and when his friend, the grave-digger Mr. Broz, suggests a scheme for making a lot of money by marrying a Russian woman so that she can get her Czech papers, he reluctantly agrees. She takes advantage of the situation to emigrate to West Germany, to her lover; and leaves her five-year-old son with his grandmother; when the grandmother dies, Kolya must come and live with his stepfather - Louka. Written by Gary Dickerson <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The perfect grouch has met his match. A five-year-old boy named Kolya.


Comedy | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



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Release Date:

24 January 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kolya  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$37,795 (USA) (24 January 1997)


$5,730,711 (USA) (11 July 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The child actor who plays Kolja, Andrey Khalimon, was not cast until three weeks before filming started. See more »


Throughout the movie, many background cars are clearly newer than 1989 models. The film is set in 1989. See more »


Referenced in Empties (2007) See more »


American Quartet
(2nd movement)
Music by Antonín Dvorák
See more »

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User Reviews

It's even better if you understand Czech
15 October 2004 | by (Hradec Kralove, Czech Rep.) – See all my reviews

I like this movie very much and I am glad to read that most of you like it too. However, some comments here describe it as predictable and having the funny parts far from one another. It is not true. There are two more things that you cannot appreciate: 1) The background. I am a Czech myself and I remember the times which the film speaks about. There are many little details that probably come and go unnoticed for the foreigner eye but each of them is a symbol - it carries meaning that is so obvious for a Czech viewer. 2) The language is FUNNY! Sverak (the author) is a well known writer here. He is a GENIUS with the language, it's full of sweet little word puns that can never be translated into another language. You can translate the data, the information - but you lose the atmosphere. Believe me, even in the parts that look boring, there is something hidden between the lines - it's either funny, emotional, powerful... There is another great thing with playing with the differences between Czech and Russian. The languages are similar (to some extend) but there are differences that can result in misunderstandings - and they use it in the movie too. Czech people used to learn Russian language at schools so they can appreciate it.

I am so sorry that there is no way that you could enjoy even these parts of the movie. (Unless you'd want to learn Czech of course :-)

Just please, please, bear in mind that this is not just a shallow romantic movie. Yes, it is lovely - but there is more than that.

56 of 61 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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