Josef Stalin rises from his rejection as being physically unfit in the Czar's army during world War I to undisputed head of the huge Soviet empire of the 1950s. After the success of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 he vies with arch-rival Leon Trotsky for power under the acknowledged leader, Vladimir Lenin. After Lenin's stroke, the merciless Georgian's ruthless methods soon eliminates all rivals and his cruel paranoia and overt sadism help him maintain power by eliminating every possible rival including many former comrades.
Did You Know?
To prepare for the role, Duvall watched numerous hours of newsreels, read many books about Stalin, and spoke to Russians who remembered him. He said that playing Stalin was the most challenging role of his career. See more
Very obvious wig worn by Robert Duvall throughout the film. See more
[after hearing about the situation on the Eastern Front
Beria! Beria! Bring up security troops. Shoot anyone trying to retreat.
Shoot our own men?
Yes, and we'll shoot you too! You incompetent fool!
Koba! How can you say that? Who killed off all our best generals? 40,000 of our best officers? Called them 'enemies of the people'? Had them shot? Who trusted Hitler? Who said he would not attack us? Voroshilov? No! It was you! It was YOU!
Alexander Nevsky, Op. 78
by Sergei Prokofiev
Performed by Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
(as Kurt Mazur), Conductor
Courtesy of Teldec Classic International
by arrangement with Warner Special Products
Used as background music for archive footage See more