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The life and career of the brutal Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin.


Ivan Passer


Paul Monash
Won 3 Golden Globes. Another 8 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Duvall ... Stalin
Julia Ormond ... Nadya
Maximilian Schell ... Lenin
Jeroen Krabbé ... Bukharin (as Jeroen Krabbe)
Joan Plowright ... Olga
Frank Finlay ... Sergei
Roshan Seth ... Beria
Daniel Massey ... Trotsky
András Bálint András Bálint ... Zinoviev (as Andras Balint)
John Bowe ... Voroshilov
Jim Carter ... Sergo
Murray Ewan Murray Ewan ... Khrushchev
Stella Gonet Stella Gonet ... Zina
Ravil Isyanov ... Yakov
Colin Jeavons ... Yagoda


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. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:



Russia | Hungary | USA



Release Date:

21 November 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Сталин See more »

Filming Locations:

The Kremlin, Moscow, Russia See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The first American film to be premiered in Moscow. See more »


Very obvious wig worn by Robert Duvall throughout the film. See more »


Dr. Lukomsky: [Referring to Stalin, who's on his deathbed] Hemorrhage on his brain... He can't breathe.
Beria: [vindictively] Let him die - murdering bastard.
Beria: [the dying Stalin chuckles and it appears he's regaining consciousness, so Beria panics and begins kissing Stalin's hand] Forgive me... forgive me... forgive me...
[Stalin goes back into his coma, and Beria feels safe, so he spits on the floor in contempt]
See more »


Features October (Ten Days that Shook the World) (1927) See more »


The Swan
from "Carnival of the Animals"
by Camille Saint-Saëns
Used as background music for archive footage
See more »

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User Reviews

Unremarkable study of "Grey Blur" than for a "Man of Steel"
1 February 2010 | by gring0See all my reviews

Initial thoughts- the film is long; inordinately so. I feel this is due to the need to add romance and simple human passion in a film about a man who most agreed was quite sexless. It takes an hour to get to 1928, but the whole of the Second World War takes a mere 15 minutes!!! Not enough opportunity for romance and love during a war that saw possibly 27 million Soviets die, one supposes. I admit my hero Churchill is not the prettiest person to dance with at a Russian knees-up. Duvall seems to be conjuring up a Brandoesque Corleone with huge moustache to add to the epic feel, but here I have a quibble. Whilst I don't have a real problem with his performance (he does seem to have the man down), many have noted his accent. EVERYONE speaks with affected Russian accents. Even though it is set in, ummm, Russia. This is rather off-putting as a result and prevents us from further identifying with the individuals. Now, I can understand Stalin having an accent; as a Georgian, his Russian was thick, guttural and hesitant. To others who embodied the outsider. But why on earth does everyone put on mock-Russian accents? I was rather put off by the stock footage from Eisenstein and theft of Prokofiev's score for Alexander Nevsky at the beginning; it appeared neither as homage nor even acknowledgement to greater talents which the workmanlike music arrangement and film direction paled against. The characters themselves are two-dimensional at best- mere brush strokes although I couldn't have expected more from an American production for people for whom Zinoviev, Kamenev and Bukharin mean nothing. But it's hard to see how such people could inspire a revolution. Lenin is presented in an understated way which is appropriate I think, but few would recognise Trotsky apart from his diffident arrogance and facial hair. His dragging off to Alma Alta was, like much shown in the film, poetic licence. I won't even go on about why Molotov's portrayal is an historic injustice (a scrawny nothing referred to in the film not as "Iron Arse" but rather "Iron Pants") or how Voroshilov's public denouncing of Stalin's actions to his face is absolutely ludicrous- the man widely-acclaimed as stupidest man in the whole Soviet Republic who facilitated the purge of the Red Army, accommodation with Hitler et cet. would not have survived Stalin to die in his sleep if that had been the case, and I can't fathom the reasons for it to have been put into the script except to have a "chorus" to reiterate the obvious to us. This is just my own opinion- after all, I think the two-part "Hitler: Rise of Evil" is a great introduction for students... I teach Soviet history in Communist China and ironically I have to use a proxy just to offer my thoughts as the ruling fascists have seen fit to block IMDb because it refers to a single film no-one has heard of. Check out my site www.tracesofevil.com for historic documents and resources pertaining to this aera!

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