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The Childhood of Maxim Gorky (1938)

Detstvo Gorkogo (original title)
A drama reveals the great writer's inauspicious early years as an orphan raised by conniving relatives.


Mark Donskoy


Mark Donskoy, Maxim Gorky (books) | 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Aleksei Lyarsky Aleksei Lyarsky ... Aleksei Peshkov (later, Maxim Gorky) (as Alyosha Lyarsky)
Varvara Massalitinova ... Akulina Ivanva Kashirin, grandmother
Mikhail Troyanovskiy ... Vasili Vasilyevich Kashirin, grandfather
Elizaveta Alekseeva Elizaveta Alekseeva ... Varvara Kashirina Peshkova, mother (as E. Alekseeva)
Vyacheslav Novikov Vyacheslav Novikov ... Uncle Yakov Kashirin (as V. Novikov)
Aleksandr Zhukov ... Mikhail Kashirin, an uncle
K. Zubkov K. Zubkov ... Old Grigori
Daniil Sagal ... Ivan, aka 'Gypsy'
Sergey Tikhonravov ... The Lodger (as S. Tikhonravov)
Igor Smirnov Igor Smirnov ... Alexei, aka 'Lenka' or 'Lex', a crippled boy
E. Mamaev E. Mamaev ... Sacha Kashirin, nephew
V. Korochentchikov V. Korochentchikov ... Mikhail's son, also named Sacha


This haunting, unforgettable film, based upon Maxim Gorky's 1913 autobiography, shows a twelve-year-old's journey in life against the tumultuous backdrop of 19th century Russia. With tableaux beautifully vivid and forceful, it recounts the touching relationships which develop when Gorky is put into custody at his grandparents' home. His grandmother, a simple woman who knows how to make people laugh, represents optimism in the direst situations, honesty in a world of deceit. Gorky's poverty-stricken childhood formed his life-long compassion for the underdog, and the film is filled with powerful portraits of lower class people whose qualities of integrity and dignity shine through their hopeless circumstances. Among many others are the half-blind Grigory, who works at the grandfather's dye factory, and Gorky's little orphaned friends, who live out of garbage cans, dreaming of a utopian neverland. From these portraits come an inspiring, panoramic view of human conditions and conflicts. Written by Anonymous

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Amkino is proud to present this magnificent film portrait of a genius in the making


Biography | Drama


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Followed by Gorky 3: My Universities (1940) See more »

User Reviews

very Russian early life of an author
19 October 2015 | by lee_eisenbergSee all my reviews

If you're not familiar with Maxim Gorky, he was a famous Russian author. Moscow's Gorky Park is named in his honor. Mark Donskoy's "Detstvo Gorkogo" ("The Childhood of Maxim Gorky" in English) looks at the author's younger years. If the movie - based on Gorky's autobiography - is any indication, then Gorky had a very Russian childhood. Not just the clothes that he and his relatives and acquaintances wore, but their lifestyle and attitude towards their predicament. Seeing what Gorky's childhood was like, it's easy to see why he ended up subscribing to revolutionary ideas. There was a reason why he adopted the pseudonym Gorky (Russian for "bitter").

The movie is very well done. The scene where the prisoners get paraded through town makes clear why Russia had a revolution. Finally, the song played at the end sounds like something that you'd expect to hear in a Hollywood epic from the era (except in Russian, obviously). I wouldn't call this one of the greatest Russian movies ever, but it's nevertheless a solid piece of cinema. I recommend it.

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Soviet Union



Release Date:

27 September 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

My Childhood See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Soyuzdetfilm See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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