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Peter the Great 

Biopic of Peter I, Czar of Russia, from childhood in 1682 to the Great Northern War against Sweden during the 1700s.




Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 5 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »




Series cast summary:
Maximilian Schell ...  Peter the Great 4 episodes, 1986
Vanessa Redgrave ...  Sophia 4 episodes, 1986
Omar Sharif ...  Prince Feodor Romodanovsky 4 episodes, 1986
Trevor Howard ...  Sir Isaac Newton 4 episodes, 1986
Laurence Olivier ...  King William III of Orange 4 episodes, 1986
Helmut Griem ...  Alexander Menshikov 4 episodes, 1986
Jan Niklas ...  Young Peter the Great 4 episodes, 1986
Elke Sommer ...  Charlotte 4 episodes, 1986
Renée Soutendijk ...  Anna Mons 4 episodes, 1986
Ursula Andress ...  Athalie 4 episodes, 1986
Mel Ferrer ...  Frederick 4 episodes, 1986
Hanna Schygulla ...  Catherine Skevronskaya 4 episodes, 1986
Mike Gwilym Mike Gwilym ...  Shafirov 4 episodes, 1986
Günther Maria Halmer ...  Count Tolstoy 4 episodes, 1986
Olegar Fedoro ...  Boyar Lopukhin 4 episodes, 1986
Jan Malmsjö ...  Patriarch 4 episodes, 1986
Lilli Palmer ...  Natalya 4 episodes, 1986
Geoffrey Whitehead ...  Prince Vasily Golitsyn 4 episodes, 1986
Jeremy Kemp ...  Col. Patrick Gordon 4 episodes, 1986
Vladimir Ilin Vladimir Ilin ...  Earl Sheremetief 4 episodes, 1986
Boris Plotnikov ...  Alexis 4 episodes, 1986
Roman Filippov ...  Danilo Menshikov 4 episodes, 1986
Vsevolod Larionov ...  Prince Sukhorukov 4 episodes, 1986
Algis Arlauskas ...  Father Theodosius 4 episodes, 1986
Walter Buschhoff ...  Silvestre Mons 4 episodes, 1986
Christoph Eichhorn ...  Karl XII, King of Sweden 4 episodes, 1986
Lyubov Germanova Lyubov Germanova ...  Afrosina 4 episodes, 1986
Burkhard Heyl Burkhard Heyl ...  Count Piper 4 episodes, 1986
Natalya Andreychenko ...  Eudoxia 4 episodes, 1986
Graham McGrath ...  10 Year Old Peter 4 episodes, 1986
Nikolay Lazarev ...  Ivan 4 episodes, 1986
Tolly Thwaites Tolly Thwaites ...  Boy Alexis 4 episodes, 1986
Ulli Philipp ...  Louise 4 episodes, 1986
Denis DeMarne Denis DeMarne ...  Old Peter the Great 4 episodes, 1986
Philip Bowen Philip Bowen 4 episodes, 1986
Carl Duering 4 episodes, 1986
Michael MacKenzie Michael MacKenzie 4 episodes, 1986
Vera Kharybina 4 episodes, 1986
George Murcell 4 episodes, 1986
Anton Ragulin Anton Ragulin 4 episodes, 1986
Boris Shcherbakov 4 episodes, 1986
Heinz Weiss Heinz Weiss ...  Austrian doctor 4 episodes, 1986
Ann Zacharias 4 episodes, 1986
Dmitriy Chernigovskiy Dmitriy Chernigovskiy ...  Michael Menshikov 4 episodes, 1986
Cameron Austin Schiller Cameron Austin Schiller ...  Boy in Castle 4 episodes, 1986


This is the story of Peter I, Czar of Russia from 1682, and the constant struggle between him, his sister Sophia, and the Streltsy, an important Russian military corp. The story depicts the efforts of Peter in transforming Russia in an "all European" country, importing scientists, costumes, technology, and military tactics. Written by Luis Carvacho <lcarvach@lascar.puc.cl>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Epic Saga of a True Visionary ...


Did You Know?


Last appearance of Lilli Palmer (Natalya) before her death. She died in the week before the mini-series was first aired in the U.S. See more »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Ron Reagan/The Nelsons (1986) See more »

User Reviews

Not very accurate as a historical work, but very good as a movie!
12 December 2004 | by marcin_kukuczkaSee all my reviews

Russia, the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century. Tzar Peter, much ahead of his times, attempts at turning his country into the modern world. However, it is a real hardship to achieve the goals. He has to cope with conspiracies, even in his own family, and the objection from the church and the mob. That's more or less a brief summary of the mini series Peter the Great. Although the movie entails several serious historical inaccuracies, a viewer does get a general picture of the Russia of that time, of tzar Peter and his genius. What is more, it is very good as a movie.

Any director has the right to change something in history, interpret it in his/her own way. That is no problem. The real distortion comes when there is a travesty of the times and of historic figures. But that is out of question when applied to this movie.

The action is great! The mini series, though quite long, is made in such a way that once you start watching it, you will watch it till the end. The director's main focus is the figure of tzar Peter, his life, his goals, his dreams for Russia, and his disappointments. Looking from this perspective, the movie is a masterpiece, highly underrated. In most of the scenes with Peter, one can follow his thoughts, his experience with ruling, his goals that are hopelessly destroyed by the patriarchs, who say that Peter lost his soul, the blind mob, and, most tragically, his son Alexis. I can't forget the scene when Peter says "I've lost my son. He doesn't love me" The tzar Peter is beautifully portrayed by two actors: young Jan Niklas, really worth noticing, and Maximilian Schell, and undoubtable talent, not only as an actor but as a director too (see for instance his Erste Liebe).

Other cast are also very, very good. Lawrence Olivier as the English king, William of Orange, Trevor Howard as Sir Isaac Newton (consider Peter's memorable meeting with Sir Newton); Ursula Andress as Athalie, and especially, Vanessa Redgrave as Peter's rebellious sister Sophia. She plays equally well as in another Russian epic, Young Catherine (1991) by Michael Anderson with Julia Ormond in the main role.

I want to make one more notice about the movie. There are a lot of scenes that the movie is worth watching for. But especially, watch the part that shows Peter's journey to Europe. Marvin J. Chomsky wonderfully presents a huge contrast between the Europe of that time and Russia. Then, you will definitely understand his goals...

Peter the Great is a Russian epic that is highly underrated and seriously forgotten. The movie is very well made, it gives a clear picture of that reality, and a memorable interpretation of Peter's life. The whole story proves one sad fact very clearly:

Great people are usually GREAT after their death! Isn't that an irony of human fate?

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

2 February 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Peter the Great See more »

Filming Locations:

Russia See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

NBC Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(4 parts)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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