Over 150 of the best Russian language films

by AksanaKravtsova | created - 25 Jan 2011 | updated - 5 months ago | Public

*in no particular order

Russian cinema has experienced three political regimes: the Russian Empire, Pre-1917; the Soviet Union, 1917–1991; and the Russian Federation, 1991–present. Unfortunately, during the past decade Russians learned very well to shoot bad films, produce good promotions for them and make big money at the same time. Russian films of the 21 century take up less than a quarter of my list. Russia shoots a lot of films today, but only 1% make it to the theaters. However, I do highly recommend all the films on my list. I do not list the films in any particular order, so you may chose to go by IMDB rating or by the time period you prefer the most. Many films are available on YouTube with English subtitles. If you have any questions or suggestions, please message me or leave a comment. Also, take a look at my other lists on IMDB. I was careful to include all the films that I really like.

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1. The Italian (2005)

PG-13 | 90 min | Drama

74 Metascore

Set in 2002, an abandoned 5-year-old boy living in a rundown orphanage in a small Russian village is adopted by an Italian family.

Director: Andrey Kravchuk | Stars: Nikolay Spiridonov, Mariya Kuznetsova, Nikolay Reutov, Yuriy Itskov

Votes: 2,972 | Gross: $0.55M

2. How I Ended This Summer (2010)

Not Rated | 130 min | Drama

74 Metascore

One place. One day. Two men. The place is a polar research station on an island in the Arctic Ocean, inhabited now only by Sergei and Pavel. One day when Sergei is out angling, Pavel picks up a radio message that he daren't communicate.

Director: Aleksey Popogrebskiy | Stars: Grigoriy Dobrygin, Sergey Puskepalis, Igor Chernevich, Artyom Tsukanov

Votes: 6,136 | Gross: $0.01M

3. The Thief (1997)

R | 96 min | Crime, Drama

A woman meets a man who isn't the right man for her - but she hasn't realised it yet...

Director: Pavel Chukhray | Stars: Vladimir Mashkov, Yekaterina Rednikova, Mikhail Filipchuk, Dima Chigaryov

Votes: 4,538 | Gross: $1.13M

4. Harvest Time (2004)

67 min | Drama

Winner of a Golden Plaque award at the Chicago International Film Festival "for its complex and poetic evocation of an ambiguous period in Soviet history," Marina Razbezhkina's debut film ... See full summary »

Director: Marina Razbezhkina | Stars: Lyudmila Motornaya, Vyacheslav Batrakov, Dmitri Yakovlev, Dmitri Yermakov

Votes: 193

5. The Return (2003)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama

82 Metascore

In the Russian wilderness, two brothers face a range of new, conflicting emotions when their father - a man they know only through a single photograph - resurfaces.

Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev | Stars: Vladimir Garin, Ivan Dobronravov, Konstantin Lavronenko, Nataliya Vdovina

Votes: 38,488 | Gross: $0.50M

6. Prisoner of the Mountains (1996)

R | 99 min | Drama, War

Two Russian soldiers, one battle-seasoned and the other barely into his boots and uniform, are taken prisoner by an anxious Islamic father from a remote village hoping to trade them for his captured son.

Director: Sergei Bodrov | Stars: Oleg Menshikov, Sergey Bodrov, Susanna Mekhraliyeva, Jemal Sikharulidze

Votes: 3,916 | Gross: $0.66M

7. The Old Man and the Sea (1999)

20 min | Animation, Short, Adventure

An old fisherman goes out on his fishing trip and makes a huge catch, the biggest of his life.

Director: Aleksandr Petrov | Stars: Gordon Pinsent, Kevin Duhaney, Yôji Matsuda, Rentarô Mikuni

Votes: 3,482

8. Dog's Heart (1976)

113 min | Comedy

Professor Preobrazhensky puts courageous experiences, trying to turn a dog in equal to in all of the person. As a result somebody turns out Doggies. Unfortunately, experience proves that it is better for dog to remain a dog.

Director: Alberto Lattuada | Stars: Max von Sydow, Eleonora Giorgi, Mario Adorf, Gina Rovere

Votes: 207

9. Rebro Adama (1990)

79 min | Comedy, Drama

In a small urban flat, grandma, mom, and two daughters live in partial harmony. Grandma is bed-ridden and mute, but rings a bell above her head. Her daughter Nina, a museum docent, misses ... See full summary »

Director: Vyacheslav Krishtofovich | Stars: Inna Churikova, Yelena Bogdanova, Svetlana Ryabova, Mariya Golubkina

Votes: 257 | Gross: $0.24M

10. Family Relations (1982)

98 min | Comedy, Drama

A woman from the countryside comes to the city to visit her only daughter and granddaughter. She is hopelessly lost in this world she does not understand.

Director: Nikita Mikhalkov | Stars: Nonna Mordyukova, Svetlana Kryuchkova, Yuriy Bogatyryov, Ivan Bortnik

Votes: 1,095

11. The Island (2006)

PG-13 | 112 min | Drama

Somewhere in Northern Russia in a small Russian Orthodox monastery lives an unusual man whose bizarre conduct confuses his fellow monks, while others who visit the island believe that the man has the power to heal, exorcise demons and foretell the future.

Director: Pavel Lungin | Stars: Pyotr Mamonov, Viktor Sukhorukov, Dmitriy Dyuzhev, Yuriy Kuznetsov

Votes: 10,154

12. A Cruel Romance (1984)

142 min | Drama, History, Romance

A bitter story about tender love and its cruel betrayal set in Russia of the 19th century.

Director: Eldar Ryazanov | Stars: Alisa Freyndlikh, Larisa Guzeeva, Nikita Mikhalkov, Andrey Myagkov

Votes: 2,882

13. East/West (1999)

PG-13 | 121 min | Adventure, Drama, History

61 Metascore

June 1946: Stalin invites Russian emigres to return to the motherland. It's a trap: when a ship-load from France arrives in Odessa, only a physician and his family are spared execution or ... See full summary »

Director: Régis Wargnier | Stars: Oleg Menshikov, Sandrine Bonnaire, Catherine Deneuve, Sergey Bodrov

Votes: 4,380 | Gross: $2.78M

14. The Twelve Months (1956)

55 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy

A poor girl was given an impossible task by her stepmother: to gather snowdrops in a winter forest. Suddenly she stumbled across twelve brothers who happened to be the twelve months.

Directors: Ivan Ivanov-Vano, Mikhail Botov | Stars: Tatyana Barysheva, Yuliya Yulskaya, Lyudmila Kasatkina, Galina Novozhilova

Votes: 900

15. Hipsters (2008)

Not Rated | 130 min | Drama, Musical, Romance

67 Metascore

Young people struggle to do things their way in the 1950s.

Director: Valeriy Todorovskiy | Stars: Anton Shagin, Oksana Akinshina, Evgenia Brik, Max Matveev

Votes: 4,003

16. The Dawns Here Are Quiet (1972)

PG-13 | 188 min | Drama, History, War

During WWII in a small village outpost, a commander has his troop replaced by an all female unit. As they finally begin to appreciate one another, German paratroopers are spotted nearby and the realities of war emerge.

Director: Stanislav Rostotskiy | Stars: Andrey Martynov, Irina Dolganova, Elena Drapeko, Ekaterina Markova

Votes: 3,233

17. The Barber of Siberia (1998)

180 min | Comedy, Drama, History

At the edge of the 19th and 20th centuries, the career of young Russian cadet is crashing because of his love to American adventuress. But she falls in love too, and her life changes forever as well.

Director: Nikita Mikhalkov | Stars: Julia Ormond, Oleg Menshikov, Aleksey Petrenko, Richard Harris

Votes: 10,760

18. Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears (1980)

PG | 150 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

This is a life story of three girlfriends from youth to autumn ages. Their dreams and wishes, love, disillusions. Different careers. And big late love.

Director: Vladimir Menshov | Stars: Vera Alentova, Aleksey Batalov, Irina Muravyova, Raisa Ryazanova

Votes: 10,193 | Gross: $2.50M

19. Anna Karenina (1967)

PG-13 | 145 min | Drama, Romance

Anna Karenina is a young wife of an older husband. She has an affair with the handsome Count Vronsky. By following her desires Anna complicates her life.

Director: Aleksandr Zarkhi | Stars: Tatyana Samoylova, Nikolai Gritsenko, Vasiliy Lanovoy, Yuriy Yakovlev

Votes: 784

20. Lilya 4-Ever (2002)

R | 109 min | Crime, Drama

82 Metascore

Sixteen-year-old Lilja and her only friend, the young boy Volodja, live in Estonia, fantasizing about a better life. One day, Lilja falls in love with Andrej, who is going to Sweden, and invites Lilja to come along and start a new life.

Director: Lukas Moodysson | Stars: Oksana Akinshina, Artyom Bogucharskiy, Pavel Ponomaryov, Lyubov Agapova

Votes: 40,005 | Gross: $0.18M

21. Everybody Dies But Me (2008)

80 min | Drama

One Monday morning Katya, Vika and Zhanna learn that there will be a school disco, their first disco, on the coming Saturday night. The girls feverishly start preparing for the event, which... See full summary »

Director: Valeriya Gay Germanika | Stars: Polina Filonenko, Agniya Kuznetsova, Olga Shuvalova, Yuliya Aleksandrova

Votes: 1,967

22. Bury Me Behind the Baseboard (2009)

PG-13 | 117 min | Drama

A small child is trapped in a tug-of-war battle between his frivolous, but loving mother and an emotionally abusive neurotic grandmother, who wants to "shelter" her beloved grandson at all cost.

Director: Sergey Snezhkin | Stars: Svetlana Kryuchkova, Aleksey Petrenko, Mariya Shukshina, Konstantin Vorobyov

Votes: 968

23. Burnt by the Sun (1994)

R | 135 min | Drama, History, War

In Soviet Union in 1936, a shadow of Stalin's repressions lie on a famous revolution hero. An accusations of being him a foreign spy are nonsense, and all known that, but a slow process of his life's downfall is already running.

Director: Nikita Mikhalkov | Stars: Nikita Mikhalkov, Ingeborga Dapkunaite, Oleg Menshikov, Nadezhda Mikhalkova

Votes: 13,226 | Gross: $2.62M

24. Voenno-polevoy roman (1983)

92 min | Drama, Romance

This melodrama revolves around the post-war meeting reunion an intelligent front-line officer, now happily married, and a woman street vendor. This encounter reawakens in them submerged ... See full summary »

Director: Pyotr Todorovskiy | Stars: Nikolay Burlyaev, Natalya Andreychenko, Inna Churikova, Ekaterina Yudina

Votes: 431

25. Roads to Koktebel (2003)

Not Rated | 100 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

A widowed aeronautics engineer, who has lost his job, travels with his son hopping freight trains from Moscow to Koktebel, a town by the Black Sea, to start a new life with the father's ... See full summary »

Directors: Boris Khlebnikov, Aleksey Popogrebskiy | Stars: Gleb Puskepalis, Igor Chernevich, Evgeniy Sytyy, Vera Sandrykina

Votes: 1,646

26. War and Peace (1966)

GP | 422 min | Drama, History, Romance

Eight-hour epic based on the book of the same name by Leo Tolstoy. Two main story-lines are complex and intertwined. One is the love story of young Countess Natasha Rostova and Count Pierre... See full summary »

Director: Sergey Bondarchuk | Stars: Lyudmila Saveleva, Vyacheslav Tikhonov, Sergey Bondarchuk, Boris Zakhava

Votes: 5,541 | Gross: $0.13M

27. The Night Before Christmas (1961)

68 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

Surreal Soviet-era Christmas fantasy movie.

Director: Aleksandr Rou | Stars: Aleksandr Khvylya, L. Myznikova, Yuri Tavrov, Lyudmila Khityaeva

Votes: 1,107

28. White Sun of the Desert (1970)

Not Rated | 84 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

At the end of the Russian Civil War, Red Army soldier Fyodor Sukhov is ordered to guard the harem of a Caspian Sea guerrilla leader.

Director: Vladimir Motyl | Stars: Anatoliy Kuznetsov, Pavel Luspekayev, Spartak Mishulin, Kakhi Kavsadze

Votes: 5,993

29. The Cranes Are Flying (1957)

Not Rated | 95 min | Drama, Romance, War

Veronica plans a rendezvous with her lover, Boris, at the bank of river, only for him to be drafted into World War II shortly thereafter.

Director: Mikhail Kalatozov | Stars: Tatyana Samoylova, Aleksey Batalov, Vasiliy Merkurev, Aleksandr Shvorin

Votes: 13,034

30. Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future (1973)

TV-G | 93 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

An ordinary Soviet building manager, living in the 20th century, is extremely similar to a Tsar of All Rus' - Ivan IV the Terrible (1530-1584). He would never learn about it, but one day his neighbor created a time machine.

Director: Leonid Gaidai | Stars: Yuriy Yakovlev, Leonid Kuravlyov, Aleksandr Demyanenko, Saveliy Kramarov

Votes: 13,460

31. Brother (1997)

99 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

An ex-soldier with a personal honor code enters the family crime business in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Director: Aleksey Balabanov | Stars: Sergey Bodrov, Viktor Sukhorukov, Svetlana Pismichenko, Mariya Zhukova

Votes: 14,358

32. The Diamond Arm (1969)

PG-13 | 100 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime

An ordinary Soviet citizen accidentally intervenes into the huge operation of international criminal group that trades illegally obtained jewelry.

Director: Leonid Gaidai | Stars: Yuriy Nikulin, Nina Grebeshkova, Andrey Mironov, Anatoliy Papanov

Votes: 11,713

33. Operation 'Y' & Other Shurik's Adventures (1965)

TV-G | 95 min | Comedy, Crime, Romance

Three stories about Shurik - a young student. He fights against criminals, falls in love, confuses apartments, passes exams - he lives after all.

Director: Leonid Gaidai | Stars: Aleksandr Demyanenko, Mikhail Pugovkin, Aleksei Smirnov, Vladimir Basov

Votes: 10,525

34. Country of the Deaf (1998)

105 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

Alyosha has a gambling problem and his girlfriend becomes a stripper to help pay off his debt.

Director: Valeriy Todorovskiy | Stars: Chulpan Khamatova, Dina Korzun, Maksim Sukhanov, Nikita Tyunin

Votes: 1,156

35. Barbara the Fair with the Silken Hair (1970)

85 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

A Czar who attempts to trick a creature that demands tribute from him into taking a fisherman's baby instead of his newborn heir. Complications arise when the daughter of the creature, Barbara, requests a human suitor to find true love.

Director: Aleksandr Rou | Stars: Mikhail Pugovkin, Georgiy Millyar, Anatoliy Kubatskiy, Lidiya Korolyova

Votes: 764

36. Kurochka Ryaba (1994)

117 min | Comedy

A comedy about a successful entrepreneur and her jealous neighbors.

Director: Andrey Konchalovskiy | Stars: Inna Churikova, Viktor Mikhaylov, Aleksandr Surin, Gennady Yegorychev

Votes: 337

37. Stalker (1979)

Not Rated | 162 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

A guide leads two men through an area known as the Zone to find a room that grants wishes.

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky | Stars: Alisa Freyndlikh, Aleksandr Kaydanovskiy, Anatoliy Solonitsyn, Nikolay Grinko

Votes: 98,938 | Gross: $0.23M

38. Admiral (2008)

Not Rated | 124 min | Biography, Drama, History

The story of admiral Aleksandr Kolchak who remained faithful to his oath to the Russian Emperor and fought against the Bolshevik rule after the 1917 October Revolution.

Director: Andrey Kravchuk | Stars: Konstantin Khabenskiy, Elizaveta Boyarskaya, Sergey Bezrukov, Vladislav Vetrov

Votes: 7,189

39. Solaris (1972)

PG | 167 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

90 Metascore

A psychologist is sent to a station orbiting a distant planet in order to discover what has caused the crew to go insane.

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky | Stars: Natalya Bondarchuk, Donatas Banionis, Jüri Järvet, Vladislav Dvorzhetskiy

Votes: 70,152

My mom's favorite movie and director.

40. Boris Godunov (1986)

130 min | Drama, History

Based on the Alexander Pushkin's play, epic story about Tsar Boris Godunov, who reigned over Russia between 1598 and 1605.

Director: Sergey Bondarchuk | Stars: Sergey Bondarchuk, Alyona Bondarchuk, Gennadi Mitrofanov, Valeriy Storozhik

Votes: 176

41. Andrei Rublev (1966)

R | 205 min | Biography, Drama, History

The life, times and afflictions of the fifteenth-century Russian iconographer.

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky | Stars: Anatoliy Solonitsyn, Ivan Lapikov, Nikolay Grinko, Nikolay Sergeev

Votes: 39,268 | Gross: $0.10M

42. Crime and Punishment (2002 TV Movie)

200 min | Crime, Drama

Living in squalor, a former student and loner (Raskolnikov) murders an old pawnbroker woman in order to confirm his hypothesis that certain individuals can pretermit morality in the pursuit of something greater.

Director: Julian Jarrold | Stars: John Simm, Ian McDiarmid, Shaun Dingwall, Geraldine James

Votes: 692

43. Fate of a Man (1959)

103 min | Drama, War

The story of a man (Andrey Sokolov) whose life was ruthlessly crippled by World War II. His wife and daughters were killed during the bombing of his village, he spent some time as a ... See full summary »

Director: Sergey Bondarchuk | Stars: Sergey Bondarchuk, Pavel Boriskin, Zinaida Kirienko, Pavel Volkov

Votes: 2,393

44. Little Vera (1988)

Unrated | 110 min | Drama, Romance

A story about a young woman, Vera, who is somebody, living the life of a troubled teenager in the time right before the end of the Soviet Union. She lives in a very small Russian apartment ... See full summary »

Director: Vasili Pichul | Stars: Natalya Negoda, Andrey Sokolov, Yuriy Nazarov, Lyudmila Zaytseva

Votes: 1,578 | Gross: $1.26M

45. Oblomov (1980)

Unrated | 140 min | Comedy, Drama, History

St. Petersburg, mid 19th century: the indolent, middle-aged Oblomov lives in a flat with his older servant, Zakhar. He sleeps much of the day, dreaming of his childhood on his parents' ... See full summary »

Director: Nikita Mikhalkov | Stars: Oleg Tabakov, Yuriy Bogatyryov, Elena Solovey, Andrei Popov

Votes: 1,817

46. The Rider Named Death (2004)

Not Rated | 106 min | Drama

48 Metascore

In pre-Soviet Russia, Boris Savinkov leads a terrorist faction of Socialist-Revolutionary Party members responsible for the deaths of governors and ministers.

Director: Karen Shakhnazarov | Stars: Andrey Panin, Kseniya Rappoport, Artyom Semakin, Rostislav Bershauer

Votes: 328 | Gross: $0.00M

47. Tchaikovsky (1970)

Not Rated | 157 min | Biography, Drama

The life and work of Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tschaikovsky is shown through his relationship with aristocratic art connoisseur Nadezhda Filaretovna von Meck.

Director: Igor Talankin | Stars: Innokentiy Smoktunovskiy, Antonina Shuranova, Kirill Lavrov, Vladislav Strzhelchik

Votes: 358

48. Vasya (2002)

60 min | Documentary

Vasya Sitnikov was officially insane, a man without a passport, in and out of mental institutions, yet he was the key figure of the nonconformist art movement in the Soviet Union. He left ... See full summary »

Director: Andrei Zagdansky | Stars: Kevin Clarke, Norton Dodge, Herbert H. Kliegerman,