My favourite Soviet and Russian films

by iouri-belov | created - 09 Aug 2012 | updated - 19 Apr 2014 | Public

See also: Some good Soviet and Russian films

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1. 12 stulyev (1977– )

305 min | Adventure, Comedy, Mystery

Two scoundrels try to find the twelve chairs, in one of which their aunts has sewn jewelry into.

Stars: Andrey Mironov, Anatoliy Papanov, Rolan Bykov, Georgiy Vitsin

Votes: 3,514

Directed by Mark Zakharov. A comedy-musical, based on the novel of the same title by Ilf and Petrov (written in 1920s). The characters, played by famous Soviet actors Mironov and Papanov, are trying to seize a treasure hidden in one of the 12-chair set.

2. Afonya (1975)

PG | 92 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

The 1975 film by Georgi Daneliya "Afonya" was an unexpected commercial hit in USSR. The main character Borshev A.N. is a Plumber who spends his free time, as well as working hours, drinking... See full summary »

Director: Georgiy Daneliya | Stars: Leonid Kuravlyov, Evgeniya Simonova, Evgeniy Leonov, Saveliy Kramarov

Votes: 2,635 (full film with English subtitles)

3. 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: 5,517

The best Soviet action film, it has also become a cult film. For example, the Russian cosmonauts have a tradition to see it every time before the launch into the outer space. The theme song "Vashe blagorodie, gospozha Udacha" ("Your Excellency Lady Luck") has been a hit for decades. Plot: Comrade Sukhov returning home from the civil war is charged (against his will) with the task of protecting a harem of Oriental women from their husband. (full film with English subtitles)

4. Watch Out for the Automobile (1966)

94 min | Comedy, Crime, Romance

The hero of the film is an insurance agent who is also a car thief. He steals cars only from various crooks and never from the good people. Then he sells those stolen cars and gives all the... See full summary »

Director: Eldar Ryazanov | Stars: Innokentiy Smoktunovskiy, Oleg Efremov, Lyubov Dobrzhanskaya, Anatoliy Papanov

Votes: 3,609

This is one of Ryazanov's best comedies and played by stars of Soviet cinema. Many quotes from the film have become sayings in Russian. (full film with English subtitles)

5. Bratya Karamazovy (1969)

232 min | Drama

Three brothers, one spiritual and living at a monastary, one a gambler, and one an intellectual, work out their problems in 19th century Russia.

Directors: Kirill Lavrov, Ivan Pyrev, Mikhail Ulyanov | Stars: Mikhail Ulyanov, Lionella Pyryeva, Kirill Lavrov, Andrey Myagkov

Votes: 527

Directed by Pyryev.

6. War and Peace (1966)

Unrated | 427 min | Drama, History, Romance

A Russian Prince experiences battle against Napoleon and a troubled relationship with his father and wife. Finds acceptance of her death and eventually his chance of true love. A spoiled, ... See full summary »

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

Votes: 5,202

Based on Tolstoy's novel, it has probably been the most expensive of all Russian films, due to the battling scenes. I like the acting very much, but I am not so fond of the film director's style - too much smoke, clouds, and bird's-eye views. It has got an Oscar for the best foreign film. All four parts with English subtitles:

7. Aladdin and His Magic Lamp (1967)

PG | 84 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Romance

A young boy finds a magic lantern that contains a genie, and when he frees the genie he's granted three wishes. He uses the wishes to help the princess of Baghdad and her father fight off ... See full summary »

Director: Boris Rytsarev | Stars: Boris Bystrov, Dodo Chogovadze, Andrey Fayt, Otar Koberidze

Votes: 417

8. 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: 332 (1 part, English subtitles) (2 part, English subtitles)

9. Dnevnik ego zheny (2000)

Not Rated | 110 min | Biography, Drama

A tragic story of love and loneliness - this is the unknown life of the great Russian writer Ivan Bunin. The confused love story that involved Bunin, his wife Vera, the young poet Galina ... See full summary »

Director: Aleksey Uchitel | Stars: Andrey Smirnov, Galina Tyunina, Olga Budina, Evgeniy Mironov

Votes: 471

The private live of the great Russian writer Ivan Bunin in emigration.

10. House of Fools (2002)

R | 104 min | Drama, Music, Romance

52 Metascore

In the midst of the Chechen War, a remote psychiatric institution is left without staff leaving the patients to fend for themselves. Based on a true story.

Director: Andrey Konchalovskiy | Stars: Yuliya Vysotskaya, Sultan Islamov, Bryan Adams, Evgeniy Mironov

Votes: 2,464 | Gross: $0.06M

Psychiatric patients become entrenched in the Chechen War after the staff split to find them a safer hospital. Based on a true story.

11. Zhenitba Balzaminova (1965)

90 min | Comedy, History, Romance

Listening to the sweet sound of the crazy old woman's song "Dobraya, dobraya!" curly dreamer can't decide to marry.

Director: Konstantin Voinov | Stars: Georgiy Vitsin, Lyudmila Shagalova, Lidiya Smirnova, Ekaterina Savinova

Votes: 443 (full film without subtitles)

12. Come and See (1985)

Not Rated | 142 min | Drama, War

After finding an old rifle, a young boy joins the Soviet resistance movement against ruthless German forces and experiences the horrors of World War II.

Director: Elem Klimov | Stars: Aleksey Kravchenko, Olga Mironova, Liubomiras Laucevicius, Vladas Bagdonas

Votes: 38,257

13. The Idiot (1958)

122 min | Drama

Upon Prince Myshkin's return to St. Petersburg from an asylum in Switzerland, he becomes beguiled by the lovely young Aglaya, daughter of a wealthy father. But his deepest emotion is for ... See full summary »

Director: Ivan Pyrev | Stars: Yuriy Yakovlev, Yuliya Borisova, Nikita Podgorny, Vera Pashennaya

Votes: 451

Directed by Pyryev

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

TV-G | 93 min | Adventure, Comedy, Musical

Shurik Timofeev builds a working model of a time machine. By accident, Ivan Bunsha, an apartment complex manager, and George Miloslavsky, a petty burglar, are transferred to the 16th ... See full summary »

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

Votes: 12,211

In this famous comedy, Shurik (whom you probably know from Operatsiya Y and Kavkazskaya plennitsa) invents a time machine and decides to travel to the Medieval Moscow. The film is very amusing and probably is more understadable for foreigners than other Gaidai's comedies. The music by Alexandr Zatsepin is superb!

Full film (English subtitles):

More about this film in my blog: (songs)

15. Ironiya sudby, ili S legkim parom! (1975)

192 min | Comedy, Romance

A group of old friends have a tradition of going to a public bathing house on New Years eve. Incidentally, too much vodka and beer makes two of them unconscious. The problem is that one of ... See full summary »

Stars: Liya Akhedzhakova, Aleksandr Belyavskiy, Barbara Brylska, Georgiy Burkov

Votes: 9,023

One of the most loved Soviet films, traditionally showed on TV during New Year holidays. The sequel, made in 2007, is to be avoided. (1 part, English subtitles) (2 part, English subtitles)

16. Kalina krasnaya (1974)

110 min | Drama

A former thief is released from a prison. He tries to start a new life with his penfriend - a good village woman, but his past doesn't let him go.

Director: Vasiliy Shukshin | Stars: Lidiya Fedoseeva-Shukshina, Vasiliy Shukshin, Ivan Ryzhov, Mariya Skvortsova

Votes: 1,072

17. Kavkazskaya plennitsa, ili Novye priklyucheniya Shurika (1967)

TV-13 | 82 min | Comedy, Romance

In this comic story, nerdy Shurik travels to the Caucasus in search of native legends and folklore. But what he finds is a beautiful girl whom, due to intoxication and deceit of the local "... See full summary »

Director: Leonid Gayday | Stars: Aleksandr Demyanenko, Natalya Varley, Ruslan Akhmetov, Yuriy Nikulin

Votes: 8,375 (full film with English subtitles)

18. 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: 12,021 (full film with English subtitles)

19. 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: 1,436 | Gross: $1.26M

20. Mesto vstrechi izmenit nelzya (1979– )

60 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

After WWII is over, a young officer Volodya Sharapov returns to Moscow to work in MUR - Moskovskiy Ugolovny Rozysk (Moscow Criminal Police). There he meets Gleb Zheglov who is a chief of a ... See full summary »

Stars: Vladimir Vysotskiy, Vladimir Konkin, Sergey Yurskiy, Aleksandr Belyavskiy

Votes: 3,323

21. Obyknovennoe chudo (1979 TV Movie)

138 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Musical

A wizard invents characters who all come to life and start to arrive at his house: a King, his servants, a princes, a bear trapped in a man's body - the usual lot. The Plot mainly rotates ... See full summary »

Director: Mark Zakharov | Stars: Oleg Yankovskiy, Irina Kupchenko, Evgeniy Leonov, Evgeniya Simonova

Votes: 2,309 (1 part with English subtitles) (2 part with English subtitles)

22. Window to Paris (1993)

PG-13 | 87 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

Nikolai (played by Sergei Dontsov) has been fired from his job as a music teacher and has to live in the gym until he finds a place to stay. Finally, he gets a communal room in the ... See full summary »

Director: Yuri Mamin | Stars: Sergey Dreyden, Viktor Mikhaylov, Agnès Soral, Nina Usatova

Votes: 1,200 | Gross: $0.26M

23. Osenniy marafon (1979)

90 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

School teacher is cheating on his wife and lies about it.

Director: Georgiy Daneliya | Stars: Oleg Basilashvili, Natalya Gundareva, Marina Neyolova, Evgeniy Leonov

Votes: 2,196 (full film, no subtitles)

24. Sluzhili dva tovarishcha (1968)

99 min | Comedy, Drama, War

Two soldiers become best friends during the Civil War in Russia in the 1920's.

Director: Yevgeni Karelov | Stars: Oleg Yankovskiy, Rolan Bykov, Anatoliy Papanov, Nikolay Kryuchkov

Votes: 862

The last days of the Civil War in Russia: the Reds assault the Crimea strongholds. Brilliant acting of O. Yankovsky, R. Bykov, A. Papanov, V. Vysotsky and others.

25. 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: 64,702 (1 part, English subtitles) (2 part, English subtitles)

26. The Cold Summer of 1953 (1988)

101 min | Action, Crime, Drama

After the general Soviet gulag amnesty of 1953 former political inmates Sergei and Nikolai arrive in a remote Siberian village where 8 pardoned common criminals terrorize the inhabitants.

Director: Aleksandr Proshkin | Stars: Valeriy Priyomykhov, Anatoliy Papanov, Viktor Stepanov, Nina Usatova

Votes: 1,541 (full film with English subtitles)

27. 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: 1,680 (part 1, no subtitles) (part 2, no subtitles)

28. A Forgotten Tune for the Flute (1987)

134 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A flutist in the forgotten past, at present the husband of a "big man's" daughter and head of one of the Chief Directorate's sections felt unwell one day: the forty-year-old man had a pain ... See full summary »

Director: Eldar Ryazanov | Stars: Leonid Filatov, Tatyana Dogileva, Irina Kupchenko, Valentin Gaft

Votes: 616 | Gross: $0.09M

One of my most loved films by Eldar Ryazanov. Made in the genre of tragicomedy, which characterised the perestroika period of the late USSR. (1 part, English subtitles) (2 part, English subtitles)

29. Formula lyubvi (1984 TV Movie)

90 min | Comedy, Romance

A young aristocrat, Aleksei Fedyashev, is languishing in his family's country estate, spending his days reading poetry and confessing his love... to a statue. Upon hearing that famous Count... See full summary »

Director: Mark Zakharov | Stars: Elena Valyushkina, Aleksandr Mikhaylov, Aleksandr Abdulov, Semyon Farada

Votes: 1,725 (full film English subtitles)

30. Sobache serdtse (1988 TV Movie)

136 min | Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi

Professor Preobrazhensky and his colleague place some human parts into a dog named Sharik. Soon the dog transforms into a human.

Director: Vladimir Bortko | Stars: Evgeniy Evstigneev, Vladimir Tolokonnikov, Boris Plotnikov, Roman Kartsev

Votes: 5,240

Based on Bulgakov's story. Satire on bolshevism. Yevstegneyev as Prof. Preobrazhenski is brilliant.

31. Dersu Uzala (1975)

G | 142 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

The Russian army sends an explorer on an expedition to the snowy Siberian wilderness where he makes friends with a seasoned local hunter.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Maksim Munzuk, Yuriy Solomin, Mikhail Bychkov, Vladimir Khrulev

Votes: 20,050 (1 part, English subtitles) (2 part, English subtitles)

32. Beg (1971)

196 min | Drama, History, War

The defeat of the "White Army" in the Russian Civil War of 1918-21, causing massive emigration of the upper classes and nobility, called "White Russians". Set in Crimea, Constantinopol and ... See full summary »

Directors: Aleksandr Alov, Vladimir Naumov | Stars: Lyudmila Saveleva, Aleksey Batalov, Mikhail Ulyanov, Tatyana Tkach

Votes: 790 (1 part, English subtitles) (2 part, English subtitles)

33. Avariya - doch menta (1989)

99 min | Drama

A teenage girl nicknamed Avariya - "Crash" - is a rebel child that just can't get along with her family members that try to persuade her to behave normally - that is as other people do. But... See full summary »

Director: Mikhail Tumanishvili | Stars: Oksana Arbuzova, Vladimir Ilin, Anastasiya Voznesenskaya, Nikolai Pastukhov

Votes: 252

Trailer in Russian: A scene at school (Нравится - не нравится, но это курс партии):