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The Death of Stalin (2017)

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Moscow, 1953. After being in power for nearly 30 years, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin takes ill and quickly dies. Now the members of the Council of Ministers scramble for power.

Director:

Armando Iannucci
Reviews
Popularity
376 ( 127)
Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 17 wins & 28 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Olga Kurylenko ... Maria Veniaminovna Yudina
Tom Brooke ... Sergei
Paddy Considine ... Andreyev
Justin Edwards ... Spartak Sokolov - Conductor 1
Adrian McLoughlin ... Josef Stalin
Simon Russell Beale ... Lavrenti Beria
Jeffrey Tambor ... Georgy Malenkov
Steve Buscemi ... Nikita Khrushchev
Michael Palin ... Vyacheslav Molotov
Paul Ready ... NKVD Officer Delov
Yulya Muhrygina Yulya Muhrygina ... Woman in Layers of Clothes
Andrey Korzhenevskiy Andrey Korzhenevskiy ... Man in Layers of Clothes
Roger Ashton-Griffiths ... Musician 1 (as Roger Ashton Griffiths)
Jeremy Limb Jeremy Limb ... Musician 2
Andy Gathergood ... Citizen Bundled into Car
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Storyline

In early-1953 Moscow, under the Great Terror's heavy cloak of state paranoia, the ever-watchful Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, collapses unexpectedly of a brain hemorrhage. Inevitably, when his body is discovered the following morning, a frenetic surge of raw panic spreads like a virus among the senior members of the Council of Ministers as they scramble to maintain order, weed out the competition, and, ultimately, take power. But in the middle of a gut-wrenching roller-coaster of incessant plotting, tireless machinations, and frail allegiances, absolutely no one is safe; not even the feared chief of the secret police, Lavrenti Beria. In the end, who will prevail after the death of Stalin? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The fight for leadership begins. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

rated R for language throughout, violence and some sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | France | Belgium | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 March 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Death of Stalin See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$184,805, 11 March 2018, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$8,041,828, 26 July 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film alludes to the 1950 plane crash in Sverdlovsk that killed most of the Soviet ice hockey team, which happened three years before Stalin's death. It is true that Vasili Stalin, the team's patron, feared his father's reaction and tried to recruit a new team at extremely short notice. See more »

Goofs

Svetlana asks Beria to release Aleksei Kapler, her first love who is imprisoned in the gulag. Beria tells her that Kapler is dead. However, Kapler was released in 1953, soon after Stalin's death, and lived to 1979. There doesn't seem to be any reason for Beria to lie, since he is supposed to be ingratiating himself to Svetlana, and as the head of the NKVD he certainly would have known that Kapler was still alive. See more »

Quotes

Maria Veniaminovna Yudina: I'm confident of ever-lasting life.
Nikita Khrushchev: Who the fuck in their right mind would want ever-lasting life?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Black-and-white photographs of the main characters appear over the end credits, but various figures are airbrushed out, have their faces defaced, or have other people superimposed over them, as per Soviet photos of Trotsky and purge victims. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Younger: A Christmas Miracle (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K488
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by Galaxy Symphonic Orchestra
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dark Humor About A Truly Dark And Humorless Time
1 April 2018 | by thorr97See all my reviews

This is an excellent film. And its treatment of the Stalin Era of the Soviet Union is both darkly humorous and actually very unflinching in its depicting the monsters and their monstrosities for what they were.

I was worried that, in an attempt to extract humor from the situation that they might've glossed over just how monstrous the key characters actually were. To Iannucci and Schneider's credit however, there was absolutely no glossing over at all. Beria, for instance, is portrayed as every bit the monster in human form that he was - this, even as that portrayal is also made darkly and delightfully humorous at times.

The whole cast played their parts well and played them "straight" - which only heightened the humor and the horror of what life was like under Stalin in the Soviet Union. Even the nominal "hero" of the tale, Nakita Khrushchev, is realistically portrayed as being just as conniving and callous and power hungry as everyone else. Buscemi would seem an odd choice for that particular role but he pulls it off with style and excellence. So too does Simon Russell Beale in his portrayal of Beria.

This is a nicely done film with excellent production values, a great script, fine acting, excellent pacing, and a compelling tale that is well told.

I highly recommend it!


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