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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Russian Language: Movies


If you are interested in Russian/Soviet film you will find a wealth of information as well as full length films on the web.  YouTube has an excellent channel with a number of films, the MosFilm Channel.  There are an even larger number of films available at the Mosfilm website.  Many of the films available here have the option of viewing a version with subtitles or one that is dubbed.  There are 580 films available so if you like films you are bound to find something here to interest you.

Screen Sirens

Olga Baklanova

The Russian cinema has had its share of stunning actresses whose exploits on and off the screen inflamed the imaginations of generations of moviegoers.  There is the story of the  silent screen vampire Olga Baklanova, whose meteoric rise was cut short by the arrival of the talkies, dooming herto B-roles because of her accent, as she escaped the communist Russia for Hollywood. Then there was the lovely Vera Kholodnaia, who died in mysterious  circumstances (it was rumored that her French ambassador lover may have caused her death, believing she spied for the Bolsheviks).   The Soviet era was less known for scandal, but the screen was ruled by a host of fine actresses like Nona Mordiukova, Liubov Orlova, Marina Ladynina, to name but a few.  Today Russia’s leading ladies light up the screen all over the world, as evidenced by the picture below.

Xenia Rappoport on the red carpet at the Venice Film Festival.


Russian Cinema Resources

A screenshot from the cult classic  Beloe solntse pustyni

If you are interested in tracking virtually any movie produced by the pre-revolutionary Russia and then the Soviet Union, from 1908-present time, you will be interested in this database put together by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. 
RussianCinema.RU used to offer the latest history of Russian cinema. However, the server has been experiencing difficulties. Luckily the website in all of its former glory is available through Here you can search for the recent Russian movies, learn about film festivals, various film-related organizations and people connected with the Russian cinema.


Kulture.RU provides a wonderful resource for learning about the history of Russian culture. Covering historic figures, literature, music, traditions, art, and importantly for this section cinema! Check out this wonderful article on the most popular films from the Soviet Union, with links to watch them. While watching these flicks free on YouTube, you can read the English subtitles to keep up with your Russian vocabulary. 

One film available through Kulture.RU is Height. This 1958 film produced by Alexander Zarkhi looks at the history of the construction of communism, and provides a background for the history of the attitudes of young workers in the Soviet Union. As the title implies, the workers in the film are portrayed working at great heights building a blast furnace for a plant. The actors actually performed at great risk to their own physical wellbeing, making this film particularly thrilling.

Famous Russian Cinema


Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, Stalker is a science fiction philosophical and psychological thriller. Stalker follows Alexander Kaidanovsky, the "stalker," and his two followers into the mysterious "Zone" in search of a mystically powerful room.

A still from Andrei Tarkovskii's Stalker.

Battleship Potemkin

When asked to name a Russian movie, many Americans will immediately name Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship PotemkinHere's one of the scenes from the movie.  And by the way, where did we recently see the tense cut backs to the perambulator rolling precariously down the steps.  Could it be ... Brian de Palma's The Untouchables?



One highly lauded film duo is "Брат" and "Брат2" (or "Brother," and "Brother2").  A story of a wayward young man who, after finishing his military services returns home, only to be sent by his mother to St. Petersburg to stay with his brother.  It is there that he gets caught up in the gangster business, for which he demonstrates a natural talent.







You can do subject searches in your library's Online Public Access Catalog or WorldCat for the "Brat" or similar movies by using the following subject words:

Crime -- Russia (Federation) -- Saint Petersburg -- Drama.

Gangsters -- Russia (Federation) -- Saint Petersburg -- Drama. 
Genre/Form:     Feature films -- Russia (Federation) 
Gangster films -- Russia (Federation) 
Foreign films. 
Foreign language films -- Russian. 
Feature films. 
Gangster films.