During the 1980s, Soviet authorities hunt for a serial killer who picks his victims in railway stations and commuter trains and lures them into the woods.


Chris Gerolmo


Robert Cullen (book), Chris Gerolmo (teleplay)
3,699 ( 507)
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 9 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Stephen Rea ... Lt. Viktor Burakov
Donald Sutherland ... Col. Mikhail Fetisov
Max von Sydow ... Dr. Alexandr Bukhanovsky
Jeffrey DeMunn ... Andrei Chikatilo
Joss Ackland ... Bondarchuk
John Wood ... Gorbunov
Radu Amzulescu Radu Amzulescu ... Federenko
Imelda Staunton ... Mrs. Burakov
András Bálint András Bálint ... Ignatiev
Géza Balkay Géza Balkay ... Procurator
László Váradi Balogh László Váradi Balogh ... Peasant
Zsolt Biro Zsolt Biro ... Older Gay Man
Ion Caramitru ... Tatevsky
Balázs Csapo Balázs Csapo ... Gayy Partner
Imre Csuja Imre Csuja ... Front Detective


Based on the true story of a Russian serial killer who, over many years, claimed over 50 victims, mostly under the age of 17. In what was then a Communist state, the police investigations were hampered by bureaucracy, incompetence and those in power. The story is told from the viewpoint of the detective in charge of the case. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


You don't want to know what he does... You just want to know when he's caught. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong, graphic violence and related language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The characters of Fetisov and Burakov were both real people who investigated the actual Chikatilo killings, yet their ranks and positions were changed in the movie. Historically, Major Mikhail Fetisov was sent from Moscow in order to investigate the killings (in the film he is already in Rostov as a Colonel heading the militia) while Victor Burakov was a civilian forensic expert (in the film he is a Police Lieutenant) assigned by Fetisov to head the investigation. There was no Central Committee comprised of Communist Party and KGB men above the two (this was a plot device created for the film to show Soviet bureaucratic methods) and the main reason why the case took so long was that the investigators interviewed over 150,000 people trying to narrow down who the killer could be. The mistaken release of Chikatilo, and the botched blood-semen test, was accurate as it occurred in the investigation. See more »


When Chikatilo is being berated in the factory, behind him is a red sign designating "Heros of Labor this month." This sign is misspelled. The first character on the bottom should be a Cyrillic "E" (which looks like a backwards 3) instead of a "Ye" (which looks like a Latin "E"). See more »


Burakov: [addressing Bukhanovsky, about Fetisov] He'd say something witty but he's overcome with emotion right now.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The 1995 UK video release was cut by 37 secs by the BBFC to reduce stabbings during the murder scenes. See more »


Features The French Connection (1971) See more »

User Reviews

Almost great
5 February 2010 | by carth2See all my reviews

This is very hooking movie,but you can immediately tell that it is straight to DVD or made-for-TV. If you are not familiar with the story of Andrey Chikatillo,you better read a few articles about this event.For unfamiliar minds this movie might get choppy,because there is not enough explanation or motives and also to define dramatization from reality. In reality,citizen X actually was more brutal then depicted in the movie,dramatization again maybe,but you must know the truth. Also movie needs to be focused on Chikatillo a little bit more,because we don't really understand his motives.He has them,except then sexual,his origins are also pretty important. Also,if you live outside former USSR (i was born here),you shouldn't take the depiction of USSR as real.Because this more looks like Hungara,where it was shot.In real 80s,we already had culture,hippies,disco and other stuff.No grannies and mustached farmers like there. I am not very old,but i remember those times,and documentaries made about it.It was far more dirtier,then in the movie. But overall,it is VERY enjoyable movie.I recommend it as one of the few dramatic movies about USSSR without matreshkas,vodkas,balalaikas,snow and bears.In fact,i never seen any of those.

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USA | Hungary



Release Date:

25 February 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Citizen X See more »

Filming Locations:

Hungary See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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