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Pirates of the 20th Century (1980)

Piraty XX veka (original title)
A Soviet cargo ship carrying medical opium gets attacked by pirates of an unknown nationality. The crew is left to die on a sinking ship but they manage to escape and now must fight the pirates for survival.


Boris Durov




Cast overview, first billed only:
Nikolay Eryomenko ... Sergey Sergeevich
Pyotr Velyaminov ... Captain Ivan Ilyich
Talgat Nigmatulin ... Saleh
Rein Aren Rein Aren ... Pirate Captain 'Master'
Dilorom Kambarova ... Maa
Natalya Khorokhorina ... Masha (as Natalya Kharakhorina)
Maija Eglite Maija Eglite ... Ayna
Tadeush Kasyanov Tadeush Kasyanov ... The Boatswain Matveich
Pavel Remezov ... The Ship's Doctor
Viktor Zhiganov ... Sailor Igor Stetsenko
Viktor Gordeev Viktor Gordeev ... Yura Mikosha
Georgiy Martirosyan ... Georgiy Klyuev
Leonid Trutnev Leonid Trutnev ... Radio Operator
Nartay Begalin Nartay Begalin ... The Pirate-Machine Gunner
Laktemir Dztiev Laktemir Dztiev ... The Pirate


The Soviet cargo ship "Nezhin" in a foreign port, somewhere in the Philippines, receives a large load of opium for the pharmaceutical industry and goes to Vladivostok. On the way, the crew catches a man named Saleh in the sea, who says that he escaped from a cargo ship on which a load of cotton caught fire. Soon, "Nezhin" finds an unknown abandoned "Mercury" ship and captain Ivan Ilyich sends a group of sailors there. Meanwhile, Saleh sneaks into the radio room and, mortally wounding the radio operator, incapacitates the radio station. Written by Peter-Patrick76 (peter-patrick@mail.com)

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Soviet Union's highest-grossing film of all time. See more »

User Reviews

A Soviet action flick before there were Soviet action flicks
6 May 1999 | by atolkSee all my reviews

Exotic locations, big guns, long, tan legs, martial arts -- this movie had everything Soviet teens so longed to see. Back in the days when Rocky and Rambo where denounced as propaganda of violence, VCR's were scarce and movie tickets still cost 50 kopeks, the question to any Russian young man was not whether he saw "The Pirates of the XX Century", but how many times.

A "10" in the 1979 Soviet Union, it is no match for today's Die Hard type movies. It does not have the THX sound, or big budget explosions, or even a big star, who can not only flex muscles, but deliver a large than life emotional performance. In fact, it is more realistic than Die Hard in that it pitches a whole ship's crew against the bad guys, rather than a superhuman loner. Naturally, there are talented and brave leaders, but every deck hand gets an important job he has to carry out before the Soviet freighter, hijacked by the modern day pirates, is freed. A concept so close to the Soviet propagandists' hearts that the movie actually made it to the screens - the first of its kind. It paved the way to many more homegrown action flicks, some better, most worse, all eventually beaten out by Hollywood. But if one wants to know what stuff the Russian boys of the 80's are made of, "Piraty" is a must.

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Soviet Union


Russian | English

Release Date:

14 July 1980 (Soviet Union) See more »

Also Known As:

Pirates of the XXth Century See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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