Kolya (1996)
"Kolja" (original title)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Music  |  24 January 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 11,930 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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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 ...
Nela Boudová ...
Brozová (as 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 <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

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?


Magda Vásáryová turned down the part of Klára, eventually played by Libuse Safránková. See more »


After Kolya becomes lost on the subway network and is trying to negotiate the escalator, he is trying to step onto the left hand side of the up escalator. However, from Kolya's point of view shot, he is trying to step onto the right hand side of the up escalator. See more »


Referenced in Particka: Episode #2.4 (2011) See more »


The Wedding March
Music by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent film
13 August 2000 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

I did not think this film was at all sentimental (if you are using the word in its pejorative sense). In reading the comments on this film, I noticed the Czechs who responded were rather lukewarm about it. This surprises me. Kolya works as a film on several levels at once -- political, artistic, personal, etc. and I do not think it is at all predictable. The performances are magical and the entire film is encased by music of very great beauty and humanity by Dvorak and other great Czech composers. Music from Dvorak's "Four Biblical Songs" is at the heart of the film. It is the song that Klara sings at the funerals and the song Kolya is singing before and during the closing credits. The vintage film footage of Kubelik conducting Smetana's Ma Vlast at a concert at the end of the Russian occupation is a wonderful touch. Although I'm sure many other Czech films deserve Oscars, I am glad Kolya was recognized. I hope this film is released on DVD soon.

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