42 user 14 critic

White Nights (1985)

PG-13 | | Drama | 6 December 1985 (USA)
2:03 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

An expatriate Russian dancer is on a plane forced to land on Soviet territory. He is taken to an apartment in which a black American who has married a Russian woman lives with her. He is to... See full summary »


Taylor Hackford


James Goldman (screenplay), Eric Hughes (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Mikhail Baryshnikov ... Nikolai 'Kolya' Rodchenko
Gregory Hines ... Raymond Greenwood
Jerzy Skolimowski ... Colonel Chaiko
Helen Mirren ... Galina Ivanova
Geraldine Page ... Anne Wyatt
Isabella Rossellini ... Darya Greenwood
John Glover ... Wynn Scott
Stefan Gryff Stefan Gryff ... Captain Kirigin
William Hootkins ... Chuck Malarek
Shane Rimmer ... Ambassador Smith
Florence Faure Florence Faure ... Ballerina (Death)
David Savile David Savile ... Pilot
Ian Liston Ian Liston ... Co-Pilot
Benny Young Benny Young ... Flight Engineer
Hilary Drake Hilary Drake ... Stewardess I


An expatriate Russian dancer is on a plane forced to land on Soviet territory. He is taken to an apartment in which a black American who has married a Russian woman lives with her. He is to become a dancer for the Kirov Academy of Ballet again, but he wishes to escape, but can he trust the American? Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Two men. Not soldiers. Not heroes. Just dancers. Willing to risk their lives for freedom-and each other. See more »




PG-13 | See all certifications »





English | Russian

Release Date:

6 December 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sol de medianoche See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$477,539, 24 November 1985, Limited Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)| Dolby Stereo


Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The picture's second unit filming location country of Russia, which shot in St. Petersburg, was not included in the list of countries billed as shooting locations in the film's closing credits, they being England, Finland, Portugal and Scotland, but not the then USSR. See more »


During Chaiko's interrogation of Rodchenko at the clinic, the torn items thrown on Rodchenko change. The image of a partial American Express Gold Card appears, disappears, then re-appears during the course of the questioning. See more »


Captain Kirigin: Colonel, there's something I think you should hear
Colonel Chaiko: [beat] Later. I'm busy.
Captain Kirigin: But sir ...
Colonel Chaiko: [raising his voice] Captain Kirigin, can't you see I'm busy?
Captain Kirigin: [smiles knowingly at Raymond] Very well, Colonel.
Captain Kirigin: Later.
See more »


Spoofed in Running Scared (1986) See more »


This is Your Day
Written and Produced by Nile Rodgers
Performed by Sandy Stewart and Nile Rodgers
Courtesy of Modern Records and Warner Bros. Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Fine interesting movie, wonderfully acted (and of course danced)
19 July 2002 | by trpdeanSee all my reviews

I just saw this on television - having resisted my sister-in-law's entreaties years ago to see it. It's awfully good.

The movie is imaginative - having Gregory Hines in a theater in Siberia, a defector to Russia when disillusioned and unable to find use for his talents as an adult tap dancer in America after the Vietnam War, married to the translator initially assigned him (an astonishing peformance by Isabella Rosellini), and performing Porgy & Bess to audiences including Russian troops - well, it's a character and situation you don't find in movies every day!

I was amazed at the close-knit work of actors who were not then first name movie stars - and at how well-drawn these characters are -

Helen Mirren is superb as Baryshnikov's former lover, partner, and now director of the Kirov Ballet - angry and constantly deluding herself that things are getting more artistically free in Russia -

Baryshnikov is excellent, reliving the pain of defection in his old theater, seeing a tape of himself when at 17 he was care-free and full of illusory ambition, the discovery of the erasure of his name among children in Russia, the anger of his former partner for his abandonment of her and denunciation of his "selfishness" in defecting -

Hines as a man living with an atrocious mistake and trying always to justify itself to himself - in Siberia, he seems like a man on Mars -

an almost unrecognizable Rosellini as a Russian woman in pained love with Hines (just the looks on her face of love and sympathy and pity and helplessness for Hines are so powerful and moving - I'll never forget them)-

the four are so very very fine together. Each TRULY seems the person they're portraying. If one were to see news photographs or a documentary about such characters - they would look this way, sound this way, move and speak and dress this way.

The dancing is very enjoyable to watch - and you really needn't be a fan of dance (I'm not) to marvel at it.

The only downside of the movie is that it takes these four fascinating and pained characters, and stuffs them into a somewhat formulaic action plot. I also found the music too heavy throughout - let there be silences as they contemplate their messy situations.

This is very well worth seeing.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 42 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed