6 user 1 critic

Boris Godunov (1954)

Action happens at the end of the 16th century, on the eve of "time of troubles". The main character of this historical tragedy - the Russian tsar Boris Godunov who has ascended to a throne ... See full summary »


Vera Stroyeva


Modest Mussorgsky (libretto), Alexander Pushkin (play) | 2 more credits »
1 nomination. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Aleksandr Pirogov Aleksandr Pirogov ... Boris Godunov
Nikandr Khanayev Nikandr Khanayev ... Prince Vasili Shinsky
Georgi Nelepp Georgi Nelepp ... Grigori, the False Dmitri (as G. Nellep)
Maksim Mikhaylov Maksim Mikhaylov ... Pimen, a monk
Ivan Kozlovsky Ivan Kozlovsky ... The Fool
Aleksey Krivchenya Aleksey Krivchenya ... Varlaam (as A. Krivchenya)
Veniamin Shevtsov Veniamin Shevtsov ... Misala, a monk (as V. Shevtsov)
A. Turchina A. Turchina ... Innkeeper's wife
Larisa Avdeyeva Larisa Avdeyeva ... Marina
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
G. Allakhverdov G. Allakhverdov
D. Bedrosiyi D. Bedrosiyi
Igor Bogdanov Igor Bogdanov ... (as I. Bogdanov)
Yu. Filin Yu. Filin
Fyodor Godovkin Fyodor Godovkin ... Khrishov (as F. Godovkin)
V. Gorbunov V. Gorbunov


Action happens at the end of the 16th century, on the eve of "time of troubles". The main character of this historical tragedy - the Russian tsar Boris Godunov who has ascended to a throne after Ivan the Terrible after tragic events: death of the eldest son of Grozny Fedor and death of the young tsarevitch Dimitrii.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Music


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Soviet Union



Release Date:

21 January 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Boris Godounov See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mosfilm See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Sovcolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Version of Boris Godunov (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

An excellent if flawed film version of a Russian operatic masterwork
5 September 2012 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Boris Godunov for me is the greatest of Russian operas and one of the finest operas there is too. This film version is excellent but it is not perfect at the same time. This is an abridged version of the opera, understandably as the opera is very long, which will make some despair. I didn't think all the cuts were bad, but a couple were so badly chopped that some scenes lost their impact. Act 3 is badly truncated to the extent that you are confused as to what is going on. I also didn't care for Fyodor's voice, to hear a high-pitched mezzo voice for a young boy really jarred for me. However, it is beautifully shot and the costumes and locations are splendid, with imaginative lighting, intoxicating shots of the Kremlin arches and a very realistic-looking burning city. As are the musical values, there is a lot of authentic Slavic flavour in the orchestral playing and conducting that in recent memory has only been replicated in my mind by Valery Gergiev. The chorus also sing powerfully.

The singing and acting of the principals is magnificent. Aleksandr Pirogov is one of the finest Boris Godunovs alongside Chaliapin, Christoff and Talvela. He does at times have a wobble to his voice, but there is also a dark sonority and command to it as well. One cannot deny either that this is a powerful reading of the tormented tsar, especially gripping in the justifiably famous Monologue. Part of you does wish that the Simpleton had more of a prominent role, he only has two scenes, but it is still important to the story. Ivan Kozlovsky sings and acts with eeriness, passion and poignancy. Maxim Mikhailov is a Pimen of great authority with a nobility to his sound, while Nikandr Khanaev's Shiusky is sly and malevolent. Aleksej Krivchenya is appropriately cunning as Varlaam, while Georgi Nelepp is an appealing Grigori and Larisa Avdeyeva likewise as Marina. Overall, flawed but still an excellent Boris Godunov. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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