Life and Death Under Communism

by simplulo | created - 17 Apr 2013 | updated - 7 months ago | Public

Films that take place in communist countries, showing the reality of life there. There are just a few of these "Hollywood's missing movies": http://reason.com/archives/2000/06/01/hollywoods-missing-movies Suggestions welcome!

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1. The Killing Fields (1984)

R | 141 min | Biography, Drama, History

A journalist is trapped in Cambodia during tyrant Pol Pot's bloody 'Year Zero' cleansing campaign, which claimed the lives of two million 'undesirable' civilians.

Director: Roland Joffé | Stars: Sam Waterston, Haing S. Ngor, John Malkovich, Julian Sands

Votes: 45,620 | Gross: $34.70M

2. Katyn (2007)

121 min | Drama, History, War

81 Metascore

An examination of the Soviet slaughter of thousands of Polish officers and citizens in the Katyn forest in 1940.

Director: Andrzej Wajda | Stars: Andrzej Chyra, Maja Ostaszewska, Artur Zmijewski, Danuta Stenka

Votes: 13,699 | Gross: $0.12M

3. The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)

R | 171 min | Drama, Romance

In 1968, a Czech doctor with an active sex life meets a woman who wants monogamy, and then the Soviet invasion further disrupts their lives.

Director: Philip Kaufman | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Juliette Binoche, Lena Olin, Derek de Lint

Votes: 29,800 | Gross: $10.01M

4. The Lost City (2005)

R | 144 min | Drama, Romance

47 Metascore

In Havana, Cuba in the late 1950s, a wealthy family, one of whose sons is a prominent night-club owner, is caught in the violent transition from the oppressive regime of Batista to the ... See full summary »

Director: Andy Garcia | Stars: Andy Garcia, Inés Sastre, Bill Murray, Alfredo Armenteros

Votes: 8,719 | Gross: $2.48M

5. Reds (1981)

PG | 195 min | Biography, Drama, History

76 Metascore

A radical American journalist becomes involved with the Communist revolution in Russia, and hopes to bring its spirit and idealism to the United States.

Director: Warren Beatty | Stars: Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Edward Herrmann, Jerzy Kosinski

Votes: 18,176 | Gross: $40.38M

6. We the Living (1942)

Not Rated | 170 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

The time is the Russian Revolution. The place is a country burdened with fear - the midnight knock at the door, the bread hidden against famine, the haunted eyes of the fleeing, the ... See full summary »

Director: Goffredo Alessandrini | Stars: Alida Valli, Fosco Giachetti, Rossano Brazzi, Emilio Cigoli

Votes: 159

7. Zhila-byla odna baba (2011)

150 min | Drama

A chronicle of the life of an illiterate Russian peasant woman between 1909 and 1921, focusing on her private life and major historic events in the country.

Director: Andrey Smirnov | Stars: Darya Ekamasova, Nina Ruslanova, Vladislav Abashin, Roman Madyanov

Votes: 664

9. The Lives of Others (2006)

R | 137 min | Drama, Thriller

89 Metascore

In 1984 East Berlin, an agent of the secret police, conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives.

Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck | Stars: Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur

Votes: 301,062 | Gross: $11.29M

10. Doctor Zhivago (1965)

PG-13 | 197 min | Drama, Romance, War

69 Metascore

The life of a Russian physician and poet who, although married to another, falls in love with a political activist's wife and experiences hardship during the First World War and then the October Revolution.

Director: David Lean | Stars: Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Geraldine Chaplin, Rod Steiger

Votes: 61,165 | Gross: $111.72M

11. Der Tunnel (2001)

150 min | Drama, History, Thriller

72 Metascore

Based on a true story a group of East Berliners escaping to the West. Harry Melchior was a champion East German swimmer at odds with the system under which he has already been imprisoned. ... See full summary »

Director: Roland Suso Richter | Stars: Heino Ferch, Nicolette Krebitz, Sebastian Koch, Alexandra Maria Lara

Votes: 5,607 | Gross: $0.01M

12. I Am David (2003)

PG | 90 min | Drama

47 Metascore

A 12-year-old boy escapes from a Bulgarian Communist concentration camp and sets out on a journey to reach Denmark.

Director: Paul Feig | Stars: Ben Tibber, Jim Caviezel, Joan Plowright, Hristo Shopov

Votes: 6,656 | Gross: $0.28M

13. V kruge pervom (2006– )

440 min | Drama

"V kruge pervom" is a ten-episode TV-series based on the autobiographical book 'The First Circle' by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Film is set in 1949-1950, in Moscow and in a prison-laboratory ... See full summary »

Stars: Evgeniy Mironov, Dmitriy Pevtsov, Sergey Karyakin, Aleksey Kolubkov

Votes: 223

14. Chekist (1992)

93 min | Drama

Srubov is a part of CHEKA, the secret police Lenin established after the Bolshevik Revolution. They arrest, interview for a minute, try in ten seconds, and execute intellectuals, ... See full summary »

Director: Aleksandr Rogozhkin | Stars: Igor Sergeev, Aleksey Poluyan, Mikhail Vasserbaum, Sergei Isavnin

Votes: 656

15. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1970)

G | 100 min | Drama

Ivan Denisonvich (Tom Courtenay) is a Russian World War II hero captured by the Germans. Upon his return to Russia after the war, and during the Stalinist regime, he is sentenced to 10 ... See full synopsis »

Director: Caspar Wrede | Stars: Tom Courtenay, Espen Skjønberg, Alf Malland, Frimann Falck Clausen

Votes: 437

16. The Inner Circle (1991)

PG-13 | 137 min | Drama

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 »

Director: Andrey Konchalovskiy | Stars: Tom Hulce, Lolita Davidovich, Bob Hoskins, Aleksandr Zbruev

Votes: 1,726 | Gross: $0.58M

17. The Looking Glass War (1970)

M | 108 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

From the John le Carré novel about a British spy, who sends a Polish defector to East Germany, to verify missile sites.

Director: Frank Pierson | Stars: Christopher Jones, Pia Degermark, Ralph Richardson, Paul Rogers

Votes: 793

18. Burnt by the Sun (1994)

R | 135 min | Drama, War

Russia, 1936: revolutionary hero Colonel Kotov is spending an idyllic summer in his village with his young wife and six-year-old daughter Nadia and other assorted family and friends. Things... See full summary »

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

Votes: 12,423 | Gross: $2.62M

19. Man on a Tightrope (1953)

Approved | 105 min | Drama, Thriller

Czech circus owner-Clown and his entire troupe employ a daring stratagem in order to escape en masse from behind the iron curtain.

Director: Elia Kazan | Stars: Fredric March, Terry Moore, Gloria Grahame, Cameron Mitchell

Votes: 835

20. Stalin (1992 TV Movie)

172 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

The life and career of the brutal Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin.

Director: Ivan Passer | Stars: Robert Duvall, Julia Ormond, Maximilian Schell, Jeroen Krabbé

Votes: 1,984

21. Guantanamera (1995)

TV-14 | 105 min | Comedy, Drama

It is a satire about life in Cuba. The members of a funeral procession and some truckdrivers who have to take the same route begin to talk about god and the world ending up in discovering ... See full summary »

Directors: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Juan Carlos Tabío | Stars: Carlos Cruz, Mirta Ibarra, Jorge Perugorría, Raúl Eguren

Votes: 1,296 | Gross: $0.75M

22. 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: 4,251 | Gross: $1.13M

23. Night Crossing (1982)

PG | 107 min | Drama, Family, History

Two men want to escape from East Germany, but they will only go if they can take their families with them.

Director: Delbert Mann | Stars: John Hurt, Jane Alexander, Doug McKeon, Keith McKeon

Votes: 1,017 | Gross: $8.00M

24. To Live (1994)

Not Rated | 133 min | Drama, War

After Fugui and Jiazhen lose their personal fortunes, they raise a family and survive difficult cultural changes during 1940s to 1970s China.

Director: Yimou Zhang | Stars: You Ge, Li Gong, Ben Niu, Wu Jiang

Votes: 13,213 | Gross: $2.33M

25. The Way Back (I) (2010)

PG-13 | 133 min | Adventure, Drama, History

66 Metascore

Siberian gulag escapees travel 4,000 miles by foot to freedom in India.

Director: Peter Weir | Stars: Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Colin Farrell, Dragos Bucur

Votes: 97,413 | Gross: $2.70M

26. Repentance (1984)

PG | 153 min | Comedy, Drama

The day after the funeral of Varlam Aravidze, the mayor of a small Georgian town, his corpse turns up in his son's garden and is secretly reburied. But the corpse keeps returning, and the ... See full summary »

Director: Tengiz Abuladze | Stars: Avtandil Makharadze, Zeinab Botsvadze, Ia Ninidze, Ketevan Abuladze

Votes: 3,211 | Gross: $0.22M

27. Est - Ouest (1999)

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

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: 4,205 | Gross: $2.78M

28. Coming Out of the Ice (1982 TV Movie)

104 min | Biography, Drama

Victor and his family moved to the USSR in the mid '30's. When he refused to sign his skydiving accomplishment as a citizen of the USSR, he was not tried but simply sent to prison. His ... See full summary »

Director: Waris Hussein | Stars: John Savage, Willie Nelson, Francesca Annis, Ben Cross

Votes: 162

29. The Joke (1969)

80 min | Drama

In the 1950's, Ludvik Jahn was expelled from the Communist Party and the University by his fellow students, because of a politically incorrect note he sent to his girlfriend. Fifteen years ... See full summary »

Director: Jaromil Jires | Stars: Josef Somr, Jana Dítetová, Ludek Munzar, Evald Schorm

Votes: 979

30. Holodomor: Ukraine's Genocide of 1932-33 (2008)

12 min | Documentary, Short

In 1932-33, Ukraine, the breadbasket of Europe, had bountiful crops of grain, yet its people were dying of starvation. In order to crush the will of the independent-minded Ukrainian ... See full summary »

Director: Bobby Leigh | Stars: Jim Henderson, Jonny Lewis, Greg Halek, Tammy Ninichuk

Votes: 35

31. The North Star (1943)

Unrated | 108 min | Drama, Romance, War

A Ukrainian village must suddenly contend with the Nazi invasion of June 1941.

Director: Lewis Milestone | Stars: Anne Baxter, Dana Andrews, Walter Huston, Walter Brennan

Votes: 964

32. Mission to Moscow (1943)

Approved | 124 min | Drama, History, War

Ambassador Joseph Davies is sent by FDR to Russia to learn about the Soviet system and returns to America as an advocate of Stalinism.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Walter Huston, Ann Harding, Oskar Homolka, George Tobias

Votes: 742

34. The Red Danube (1949)

Passed | 119 min | Drama, Romance, War

Shortly after the end of World War II, British Colonel Michael 'Hooky' Nicobar is assigned to a unit in the British Zone of Vienna. His duty is to aid the Soviet authorities to repatriate ... See full summary »

Director: George Sidney | Stars: Walter Pidgeon, Ethel Barrymore, Peter Lawford, Angela Lansbury

Votes: 445

35. Before Night Falls (2000)

R | 133 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

85 Metascore

The life of Cuban poet and novelist Reynaldo Arenas.

Director: Julian Schnabel | Stars: Javier Bardem, Johnny Depp, Olatz López Garmendia, Giovanni Florido

Votes: 22,115 | Gross: $4.22M

36. Kray (2010)

124 min | Adventure, Drama, History

In 1945, Soviet war hero Ignat is sent to work as a locomotive mechanic in a Siberian labor camp where he meets an assortment of Germans and Russians.

Director: Aleksey Uchitel | Stars: Vladimir Mashkov, Anjorka Strechel, Yuliya Peresild, Sergey Garmash

Votes: 2,605

37. Ida (2013)

PG-13 | 82 min | Drama

91 Metascore

Anna, a young novitiate nun in 1960s Poland, is on the verge of taking her vows when she discovers a dark family secret dating back to the years of the German occupation.

Director: Pawel Pawlikowski | Stars: Agata Kulesza, Agata Trzebuchowska, Dawid Ogrodnik, Jerzy Trela

Votes: 42,057 | Gross: $3.83M

38. The Interview (II) (2014)

R | 112 min | Comedy

52 Metascore

Dave Skylark and his producer Aaron Rapoport run the celebrity tabloid show "Skylark Tonight". When they land an interview with a surprise fan, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, they are recruited by the CIA to turn their trip to Pyongyang into an assassination mission.

Directors: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen | Stars: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Randall Park, Lizzy Caplan

Votes: 274,077 | Gross: $6.11M

39. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007)

Not Rated | 113 min | Drama

97 Metascore

A woman assists her friend in arranging an illegal abortion in 1980s Romania.

Director: Cristian Mungiu | Stars: Anamaria Marinca, Laura Vasiliu, Vlad Ivanov, Alexandru Potocean

Votes: 49,724 | Gross: $1.19M

40. Amintiri din epoca de aur (2009)

Not Rated | 155 min | Comedy, History

68 Metascore

Several urban legends of Communist Romania are dramatized.

Directors: Hanno Höfer, Razvan Marculescu, Cristian Mungiu, Constantin Popescu, Ioana Uricaru | Stars: Diana Cavallioti, Radu Iacoban, Vlad Ivanov, Tania Popa

Votes: 4,397

41. Nunta muta (2008)

87 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

In a small isolated village, in 1953, a wedding is interrupted by the news about the death of Stalin. Because any public celebration is forbidden, they decide to turn the happy event into a silent wedding.

Director: Horatiu Malaele | Stars: Meda Andreea Victor, Alexandru Potocean, Valentin Teodosiu, Alexandru Bindea

Votes: 4,672

42. 12:08 East of Bucharest (2006)

Unrated | 89 min | Comedy, Drama

77 Metascore

It's the 22nd of December. Sixteen years have passed since the revolution, and in a small town Christmas is about to come. Piscoci, an old retired man is preparing for another Christmas ... See full summary »

Director: Corneliu Porumboiu | Stars: Mircea Andreescu, Teodor Corban, Ion Sapdaru, Mirela Cioaba

Votes: 6,251 | Gross: $0.09M

43. The Way I Spent the End of the World (2006)

Not Rated | 106 min | Drama

In communist era Romania, people live with hope for a new life of freedom.

Director: Cãtãlin Mitulescu | Stars: Dorotheea Petre, Timotei Duma, Ioan Albu, Sergiu Anghel

Votes: 2,788

45. Undeva în Est (1991)

84 min | Action, Comedy, Drama

'Someplace in the East' is among the first movies made in Romania after the fall of the Communism, dealing with one of the troubled period at the beginning of the Communist rule in Romania.... See full summary »

Director: Nicolae Margineanu | Stars: Remus Margineanu, Valentin Voicila, Dorel Visan, Marius Stanescu

Votes: 180

46. Hammer & Tickle (2006)

89 min | Documentary, Comedy, History

George Orwell wrote that in a repressive political system every joke is a "tiny revolution." Jokes were an essential part of the communist experience because the monopoly of state power ... See full summary »

Director: Ben Lewis | Stars: Mikhail Gorbachev, Václav Havel, Wojciech Jaruzelski, Roy Medvedev

Votes: 92

47. Escape from East Berlin (1962)

Approved | 94 min | Drama

In January of 1962, 29 East Berliners escaped to West Berlin via a tunnel they had dug beneath the Berlin Wall, led by Erwin Becker, a chauffeur in the car pool of the East Germany ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Siodmak | Stars: Don Murray, Christine Kaufmann, Werner Klemperer, Ingrid van Bergen

Votes: 351

48. Berlin Tunnel 21 (1981 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 141 min | Thriller, Drama

In Berlin in 1961, an American soldier and a German engineer join forces to build a tunnel under the Berlin Wall in order to smuggle out refugees, including the soldier's East German girlfriend.

Director: Richard Michaels | Stars: Richard Thomas, Horst Buchholz, José Ferrer, Jacques Breuer

Votes: 244

49. V paprscích slunce (2015)

Not Rated | 106 min | Documentary

81 Metascore

A propaganda documentary about North Korea that reveals a few hidden facts because the director continues filming between the scripted scenes.

Director: Vitaliy Manskiy | Stars: Lee Zin-Mi, Yu-Yong, Hye-Yong, Oh-Gyong

Votes: 3,407 | Gross: $0.07M

50. The Death of Stalin (2017)

R | 107 min | Comedy

88 Metascore

Follows the Soviet dictator's last days and depicts the chaos of the regime after his death.

Director: Armando Iannucci | Stars: Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Jeffrey Tambor, Andrea Riseborough

Votes: 31,150 | Gross: $6.85M