Red Penguins tells a story of capitalism and opportunism run amok - complete with gangsters, strippers and live bears serving beer on a hockey rink in Moscow. Shortly after the collapse of ... See full summary »


Gabe Polsky


Gabe Polsky
3 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Howard Baldwin Howard Baldwin
George Bush ... Self (archive footage)
Bill Clinton ... Self (archive footage)
Michael Eisner ... Self (archive footage)
Michael J. Fox ... Self (archive footage)
Mikhail Gorbachev ... Self (archive footage)
Al Gore ... Self (archive footage)
Valery Gushin Valery Gushin ... Self
Larry King ... Self (archive footage)
Vladimir Putin ... Self (archive footage)
Viktor Tikhonov ... (archive footage)
Steven Warshaw Steven Warshaw
Boris Yeltsin ... Self (archive footage)


Red Penguins tells a story of capitalism and opportunism run amok - complete with gangsters, strippers and live bears serving beer on a hockey rink in Moscow. Shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the famed Red Army hockey team formed a joint-venture that showed anything was possible in the new Russia. Eccentric marketing whiz, Steve Warshaw, is sent to Russia and tasked to transform team into the greatest show in Moscow. He takes the viewer on a bizarre journey highlighting a pivotal moment in U.S. Russian relations in a lawless era when oligarchs made their fortunes and multiple murders went unsolved.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence/bloody images, sexual material/nudity, some strong language and a drug reference | See all certifications »

User Reviews

And this was all before Putin got into power!
5 August 2020 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

Well, you know the saying: sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear comes out to skate and hand out Penguins beer.

This is wildly entertaining, sometimes as funny as any great comedy of errors and outrageousness, and yet all the same it's quite a time as an American to watch this - frankly, my dears, I'm actually pretty happy to be a US citizen after watching how completely out of control and dangerous Russia was in the 90s (hell, still now). At one point the filming of an interview is interrupted because an... Unidentified person shows up behind director Polsky(!)

But what one comes away with the most is just how absurd Capitalism in all its circus elements can make something like the Red Army hockey team - and on a much darker level what the Russian Mafia did to everything with just how scary (yet in its own way still absurd) it could get - and that the first row seats to the circus one gets when born as an American (to paraphrase George Carlin) can be so surreal when put in front of Russian audiences. And at the midpoint I wondered "hmm, why there weren't any former players from the team interviewed for the documentary"... Until I realized, if they were still alive, some of them might be worried still about being identified!

In all seriousness, The focus on the management on American and Russian sides, and some other key figures in the know, seems like a tight one and tethered to the idea of the corruptive influences of money on people with little idea of a functioning democracy (including that one "Businessman" who only served 10 months in prison for some shady things, but hey, only 10 months means he wasn't guilty!) If anything it's a little short at 79 minutes.

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English | Russian

Release Date:

4 August 2020 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Red Penguins See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

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