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Volga - Volga (1938)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Musical | 16 May 1941 (USA)
Widely claimed to be Joseph Stalin's favorite movie, this classic musical comedy is a must-see. The action takes place on a steamboat on the iconic Volga River, as two groups of performers ... See full summary »
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Cast overview:
Igor Ilyinsky ... Byvalov
Vladimir Volodin ... The Pilot
Pavel Olenev Pavel Olenev ... The Water-Carter
Sergei Antimonov Sergei Antimonov ... The Steamboat Captain
Andrey Tutyshkin ... Alyosha Trubyshkin
Lyubov Orlova ... Strelka Petrova
Anatoli Shalayev Anatoli Shalayev ... The Boy Musical Prodigy (as Tolya Shalayev)
Mariya Mironova ... The Secretary (as M. V. Mironova)
Nikita Kondratyev Nikita Kondratyev ... The Waiter (as N. S. Kondratyev)
Vsevolod Sanaev ... The Lumberjack (as V. V. Sanayev)
Alexei Dolinin ... The Militia Man (as A. G. Dolinin)
Ivan Chuvelyov ... The Olympiad Representative (as I. P. Chuvelyov)


Widely claimed to be Joseph Stalin's favorite movie, this classic musical comedy is a must-see. The action takes place on a steamboat on the iconic Volga River, as two groups of performers travel to Moscow to perform in the Moscow Musical Olympiad.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Artkino's New Soviet Musical Comedy


Comedy | Musical


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Famously, this was Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin's favorite film and he would often show off how well he knew it by performing every part just before the actors on screen. See more »


Referenced in Cossacks of the Kuban (1950) See more »

User Reviews

One of the best known Soviet Musicals
20 July 2015 | by Andy-296See all my reviews

This 1938 musical comedy from the Soviet Union directed by Grigori Alexandrov has some fame as Stalin's favorite movie. He liked it so much he has it shown in his private screening room at the Kremlin to his Politburo colleagues scores of time. He repeatedly teased Khrushchev for his likeness to Byvalov, the humorless village bureaucrat played by Igor Ilinsky.

The movie opens with an amusing intro in which a catchy song mentions the main cast and the characters they play. Then it moves to a scene showing the two love interests of the film kissing in the mouth (the kiss is far more passionate than what most movies from the West would permit at the time). And then we go to the main story. In a country village along the Volga River, there is a friendly competition between a folk music band (led by the beautiful Lyubov Orlova) and a more conventional classical music outfit, which is led by her boyfriend, Alyosha (played by Andrei Tutyshkin). When in the village they heard there is a musical contest for country bands in Moscow, and despite the initial opposition of the bureaucrat, both bands take the river boat to reach the capital.

Naturally for a musical comedy, the finest thing in the film is the musical numbers. The best in my opinion comes around the middle when virtually all the village gets into playing different tunes to convince the bureaucrat that they have talent worthy of going to the contest in Moscow. The movie oozes nostalgia for the simple village life (in a time when the Soviet Union was rapidly urbanizing) and is also how the Soviet government has made life so much better than now villagers mostly has to worry not about surviving but about playing in music contests. Only towards the end the movie falls into the territory of heavy propaganda. The sympathy of Orlova helps (though sometimes she stretches it too far).

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Soviet Union



Release Date:

16 May 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Volga Volga See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mosfilm See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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