Soviet Union cinema has a rich history and has contributed some of the most memorable films in world cinema.

From the early silent films of Sergei Eisenstein to the later works of Andrei Tarkovsky, Soviet cinema has produced some of the most influential and groundbreaking films of the 20th century.

Soviet cinema was shaped by the political and cultural context of the country, with many filmmakers exploring themes of socialism, revolution, and the struggle for social justice.

The films often presented an idealized vision of Soviet society and were intended to inspire and educate the masses.

Best Soviet Union Movies

Despite the challenges faced by filmmakers in the Soviet Union, including censorship and government control, Soviet cinema was able to flourish and produce many classic films that continue to be admired and studied today.

1. Battleship Potemkin (1925)

“Battleship Potemkin” is a Soviet silent film directed by Sergei Eisenstein, with a screenplay by Nina Agadzhanova and Sergei Eisenstein. The film tells the story of the 1905 mutiny by the crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin against their Tsarist officers.

The film is renowned for its innovative use of montage editing, which is used to heighten the film’s emotional impact and convey its political message.

The famous “Odessa Steps” sequence, in which a massacre of civilians by Tsarist soldiers is depicted, has become an iconic moment in film history.

“Battleship Potemkin” is considered a masterpiece of silent cinema and a landmark in the history of filmmaking. The film’s portrayal of the struggle of the working class against oppressive systems of power has made it a powerful symbol of revolution and resistance.

Its use of powerful imagery, vivid symbolism, and innovative techniques has influenced generations of filmmakers and established Eisenstein as one of the great pioneers of cinema.

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Battleship Potemkin (The Special Edition)
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Sergei Eisenstein (Director)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

2. Spring on Zarechnaya Street (1956)

“Spring on Zarechnaya Street” is a 1956 Soviet drama film directed by Marlen Khutsiev, based on the novel of the same name by Valentin Rasputin.

The film is set in the 1950s in a rural village in Siberia and tells the story of a group of young people who are building a new life in the aftermath of World War II.

The film explores themes related to love, family, and social change, highlighting the challenges and opportunities that arise as the characters navigate their way through a rapidly evolving society.

   

It depicts the struggles and triumphs of the working class, and how their resilience and determination have helped to shape the future of the Soviet Union.

“Spring on Zarechnaya Street” is considered a classic of Soviet cinema and is highly regarded for its realistic portrayal of life in rural Soviet Union.

The movie’s beautiful cinematography, powerful performances, and compelling storytelling have made it a favorite among Russian audiences and critics.

Overall, “Spring on Zarechnaya Street” is a beautiful and poignant film that captures the spirit of a generation and the hopes and dreams of a people striving to build a better future.

It’s a movie that celebrates the human spirit and the power of community, and encourages viewers to reflect on the enduring values that unite us all.

Spring on Zarechnaya Street / Vesna na Zarechnoy ulitse (English Subtitles)
  • Vladimir Gulyaev, Nikolaj Rybnikov, Yurij Belov, Nina Ivanova, Valentina Pugacheva, Gennadij...
  • Marlen Khutsiev, Feliks Mironer (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)

3. The Cranes Are Flying (1957)

“The Cranes Are Flying” is a 1957 Soviet war drama directed by Mikhail Kalatozov.

The film is set during World War II and follows the story of a young couple, Boris and Veronica, who are separated when Boris is drafted into the Soviet Army. The movie stars Tatyana Samoylova and Aleksey Batalov in the lead roles.

The film explores the devastating impact of war on both individuals and society, and portrays the psychological and emotional struggles of those who are left behind to cope with the absence and loss of loved ones.

The movie also highlights the courage and resilience of the Soviet people in the face of adversity, and their determination to overcome the hardships of war.

“The Cranes Are Flying” was highly acclaimed for its innovative cinematography, which employed techniques such as handheld cameras and long tracking shots to create a sense of immediacy and realism.

The film also received praise for its powerful performances, particularly that of Samoylova, who won the Best Actress award at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival.

The movie was a critical and commercial success, both in the Soviet Union and internationally, and is widely regarded as a masterpiece of Soviet cinema.

   

Overall, “The Cranes Are Flying” is a deeply moving and insightful film that offers a poignant portrayal of the human cost of war and the enduring strength of the human spirit.

The Cranes are Flying (The Criterion Collection)
  • Tatyana Samojlova, Aleksey Batalov, Vasili Merkuryev (Actors)
  • Mikhail Kalatozov (Director) - Viktor Rozov (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

4. Ballad of a Soldier (1959)

“Ballad of a Soldier” is a Soviet war film directed by Grigori Chukhrai and released in 1959. The film tells the story of a young soldier, Alyosha, who is granted a six-day leave from the front lines during World War II to visit his mother.

The film explores themes of love, sacrifice, and the impact of war on individuals and families. It is notable for its powerful performances, innovative cinematography, and its portrayal of the human cost of war.

“Ballad of a Soldier” is significant for its portrayal of the Soviet Union during World War II and its exploration of the personal struggles and sacrifices made by soldiers and civilians during the conflict.

The film has become a classic of Soviet cinema and has been praised for its poignant depiction of human emotion in the face of tragedy and adversity.

Ballad of a Soldier
  • Vladimir Ivashov, Nikolai Kryuchkov, Antonina Maksimova (Actors)
  • Grigori Chukhrai (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)

5. The Girls (1962)

“The Girls” is a South African film directed by Michael Pfleghar and released in 1962. The film tells the story of a group of young women who work as dancers and singers in a nightclub in Johannesburg during the apartheid era.

The women are united by their love of music and dance, but they come from diverse backgrounds and face different challenges as they navigate life in a racially divided society.

   

The film is notable for its portrayal of the experiences of women in South Africa during the 1960s, as well as its use of music and dance to explore themes of identity, empowerment, and social justice.

The film’s lively musical numbers and colorful cinematography make it a visual feast, while its nuanced and complex characters offer a compelling look at the human experience in a time of social upheaval.

While “The Girls” was controversial at the time of its release due to its depiction of interracial relationships and its criticism of the apartheid system, it has since become a classic of South African cinema.

The film’s message of unity and empowerment continues to resonate with audiences around the world, making it a powerful testament to the enduring power of cinema to inspire and educate.

Girls Girls Girls (1962) [DVD]
  • Elvis Presley, Stella Stevens, Jeremy Slate (Actors)
  • Norman Taurog (Director) - Allan Weiss (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)

6. When the Trees Were Tall (1962)

“When the Trees Were Tall” is a South African film released in 1962 and directed by Euan Lloyd.

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Stuart Cloete and tells the story of a young South African man named Dirk Hannema who returns to his family farm after serving in World War II.

As Dirk tries to reconnect with his family and adapt to life in post-war South Africa, he becomes increasingly disillusioned by the poverty and racism he encounters.

He also finds himself drawn to a young Black woman named Grace, leading to tension and conflict with his conservative Afrikaner family.

“When the Trees Were Tall” is known for its stunning cinematography, evocative score, and its exploration of themes such as identity, family, and social justice in South Africa.

The film was well-received critically and commercially, and was nominated for Best Picture at the 1963 BAFTA Awards.

Overall, “When the Trees Were Tall” is a poignant and thought-provoking film that offers a unique and nuanced perspective on post-war South Africa and the challenges facing its diverse communities.

It is a must-see for fans of historical dramas, as well as for anyone interested in the history and culture of South Africa.

7. Walking the Streets of Moscow (1964)

“Walking the Streets of Moscow” is a 1964 Soviet comedy film directed by Georgiy Daneliya. The film follows the adventures of a young man named Ilya, who spends his days wandering the streets of Moscow and trying to find his place in the world.

The film is noted for its irreverent humor and biting satire of Soviet society, particularly its bureaucracy and conformity.

It also features a memorable performance by the actor Nikita Mikhalkov, who plays a government official who becomes entangled in Ilya’s misadventures.

Despite its critical success, “Walking the Streets of Moscow” was initially banned by Soviet censors due to its controversial content.

However, the film eventually gained a following and is now regarded as a classic of Soviet cinema, admired for its sharp wit and incisive commentary on life in the Soviet Union.

Walking the Streets of Moscow / Ya shagayu po Moskve / Я шагаю по Москве Russian Soviet Comedy Movie [Language: Russian; Subtitles: English] DVD NTSC ALL REGIONS
  • Nikita Mikhalkov, Aleksei Loktev, Galina Polskikh (Actor)
  • Georgiy Daneliya (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

8. Welcome, or No Trespassing (1964)

“Welcome, or No Trespassing” is a Soviet comedy film directed by Elem Klimov. The film takes place in a Soviet summer camp for children, where the strict rules and regulations are enforced by a group of humorless adults.

The film follows the misadventures of a group of mischievous children who are determined to have fun and push back against the camp’s stifling rules. Their pranks and antics escalate as they try to outsmart the camp counselors and create their own sense of freedom and adventure.

“Welcome, or No Trespassing” is renowned for its humorous and poignant portrayal of life under Soviet communism.

The film uses its comedic tone to critique the restrictive and oppressive nature of the Soviet system, while also celebrating the resilience and creativity of the human spirit.

The film’s use of satire and social commentary has made it a beloved classic of Soviet cinema, and its portrayal of the struggle for individual freedom and expression continues to resonate with audiences today.

9. I Am Twenty (1965)

“I Am Twenty” (Russian title: “Mne dvadtsat’ let”) is a 1965 Soviet drama film directed by Marlen Khutsiev.

The movie is considered a classic of Soviet cinema and an important work of the “thaw” period of Soviet history, which saw a relaxation of state censorship and a flowering of artistic expression.

The film follows the lives of three young men, Sergei, Vadim, and Igor, as they navigate the complexities of life in the Soviet Union during the Khrushchev era. The story is told through a series of vignettes that explore themes of love, politics, and personal growth.

“I Am Twenty” is known for its innovative editing style, which combines black-and-white and color footage, and its use of non-linear storytelling. The movie was controversial at the time of its release due to its frank depictions of youth culture and its critique of Soviet society.

Today, “I Am Twenty” is considered a landmark of Soviet cinema, and an important work of art that captures the spirit of a generation and reflects the aspirations and contradictions of Soviet society in the 1960s.

The film’s themes and style continue to inspire and influence filmmakers around the world, and it remains a must-see for anyone interested in the history of Soviet cinema or the artistic movements of the 1960s.

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10. Watch Out for the Automobile (1966)

“Watch Out for the Automobile” (or “Beware of the Car”) is a 1966 Soviet comedy film directed by Eldar Ryazanov.

The movie follows the story of a young engineer named Yuri Detochkin, who invents a device to prevent car theft. However, when his invention is stolen, Detochkin decides to take matters into his own hands and goes on a mission to retrieve it.

The film is a satirical commentary on the Soviet bureaucracy and corruption of the time, and is filled with witty one-liners, physical comedy, and absurd situations.

The movie also features a romantic subplot between Detochkin and a young woman named Natasha, who becomes involved in his quest.

“Watch Out for the Automobile” was a huge commercial success in the Soviet Union and became one of the most popular films of the 1960s. The movie was praised for its clever writing, hilarious performances, and its use of satire to critique the social and political issues of the time.

The film also marked the beginning of a long and successful collaboration between Ryazanov and actor Innokenty Smoktunovsky, who played the lead role of Detochkin.

Overall, “Watch Out for the Automobile” is a timeless comedy that continues to entertain audiences with its humor and social commentary.

Watch Out for the Automobile
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Innokentiy Smoktunovskiy, Oleg Efremov, Lyubov Dobrzhanskaya (Actors)
  • Eldar Ryazanov (Director) - Emil Braginskiy (Writer) - Igor Lopatonok (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

11. The Republic of ShKID (1966)

“The Republic of ShKID” is a Soviet comedy-drama film directed by Yan Frid and released in 1966. The film is set in a juvenile correctional facility, known as “ShKID”, and follows the lives of a group of young boys who have been sent there for various crimes.

The film explores themes of youth, justice, and reform, and is notable for its realistic portrayal of life in a Soviet juvenile detention center.

The film features strong performances from its young cast and has a blend of humor and drama that has made it a classic of Soviet cinema.

“The Republic of ShKID” is significant for its portrayal of the Soviet justice system and its exploration of the challenges faced by young people in Soviet society. T

he film offers a nuanced view of the lives of juvenile delinquents and has been praised for its humanistic approach to its subject matter.

It remains a beloved and influential film in Russian and Soviet cinema.

Respublika SHKID / Республика Шкид
  • Respublika SHKID DVD 1966 Республика Шкид / Directed by Gennadi Poloka / Starring:...
  • Sergei Yursky, Yulia Burygina, Pavel Luspekayev (Actors)
  • Gennadi Poloka (Director)
  • English, Russian, German (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

12. Kidnapping, Caucasian Style (1967)

“Kidnapping, Caucasian Style is a Soviet comedy film directed by Leonid Gaidai and released in 1967. The film is a satirical take on the classic story of “Romeo and Juliet,” set against the backdrop of the Caucasus Mountains.

The film follows the story of a young man named Shurik, who travels to the Caucasus in search of adventure.

Along the way, he meets and falls in love with a beautiful young woman named Nina, who happens to be the daughter of a wealthy local businessman. When Shurik tries to win Nina’s hand in marriage, her father refuses, prompting Shurik and his friend to hatch a plan to kidnap her.

The film is known for its clever dialogue, slapstick humor, and inventive visual gags.

It also features a memorable musical score by the composer Aleksandr Zatsepin, which has become iconic in Russia and beyond. “Kidnapping, Caucasian Style” was a huge box office success in the Soviet Union and has since become a beloved classic of Russian cinema.

The film is not only entertaining but also offers a glimpse into Soviet culture and humor of the time. It also highlights the talents of the director and the actors, including Yuri Nikulin, Yevgeny Morgunov, and Natalya Varley, who have become legends of Soviet and Russian cinema.

Kidnapping Caucassian Style [DVD]
  • Aleksandr Demyanenko, Natalya Varley, Ruslan Akhmetov (Actors)
  • Leonid Gaidai (Director) - Leonid Gaidai (Writer)
  • English, Spanish, German, French, Russian (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

13. We’ll Live Till Monday (1968)

“We’ll Live Till Monday” is a Soviet film released in 1968 and directed by Stanislav Rostotsky.

The film tells the story of a group of high school students in Moscow who must navigate the challenges of adolescence and young adulthood against the backdrop of the Cold War and the Soviet political system.

The main character, Sasha, is a thoughtful and sensitive teenager who struggles to find his place in the world as he confronts the limitations and injustices of the Soviet system.

He forms a close bond with his teacher, Natalya Ivanovna, who shares his disillusionment with the Soviet establishment and encourages him to pursue his passion for literature and writing.

Through its portrayal of the students and teachers at the high school, “We’ll Live Till Monday” offers a poignant and insightful glimpse into life in Soviet Russia during the 1960s.

The film is notable for its strong performances, naturalistic dialogue, and its exploration of themes such as youth, education, and social change in the Soviet Union.

Overall, “We’ll Live Till Monday” is a powerful and moving film that offers a nuanced and humanistic portrayal of life in the Soviet Union during a time of significant political and social change.

It is a must-see for fans of world cinema, as well as for anyone interested in the history and culture of Russia.

We'll Live Till Monday / Dozhivem do ponedelnika / Доживем до понедельника Russian Melodrama Movie [Language: Russian; Subtiltes: English] DVD NTSC ALL REGIONS
  • Vyacheslav Tikhonov, Irina Pechernikova, Nina Menshikova (Actor)
  • Stanislav Rostotskiy (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

14. Brief Encounters (1967)

“Brief Encounters” is a 1967 Soviet comedy-drama film directed by Kira Muratova. The film tells the story of four young women living in a provincial town in Ukraine and their various romantic and personal struggles.

The film is known for its experimental and non-linear narrative structure, as well as its dark humor and surreal imagery. It offers a poignant and often cynical commentary on Soviet society, particularly its constraints on personal freedom and individuality.

Despite initial censorship by Soviet authorities, “Brief Encounters” was eventually released to critical acclaim and is now regarded as a classic of Soviet cinema. It is noted for its innovative style and its honest portrayal of the struggles of everyday life in the Soviet Union.

15. The Diamond Arm (1969)

“The Diamond Arm” is a Soviet comedy film directed by Leonid Gaidai. The film follows the misadventures of a mild-mannered Soviet citizen, Semyon Gorbunkov, who gets unwittingly caught up in a diamond smuggling operation.

After being mistaken for a courier, Semyon finds himself in possession of a smuggled diamond and becomes the target of both the criminals who want the diamond back and the police who suspect him of being involved in the smuggling operation.

The film is renowned for its humorous and irreverent portrayal of Soviet society and its use of slapstick comedy and witty one-liners. It offers a playful critique of the Soviet system and the bureaucratic and legalistic culture that characterized it.

“The Diamond Arm” is widely regarded as a classic of Soviet cinema and remains a beloved film in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union. Its mix of clever satire and zany comedy has made it a popular film for generations of audiences.

The Diamond Arm ( Brilliantovaya ruka ) [DVD]
  • English, Russian, French (Subtitles)

16. Belorussky Station (1971)

“Belorussky Station” (Russian title: “Belorusskiy vokzal”) is a 1971 Soviet drama film directed by Andrei Smirnov. The movie is based on a novel by Venedikt Yerofeev and is considered a classic of Russian literature.

The film follows the story of Venya, a heavy drinker and unemployed man, who spends his days wandering the streets of Moscow, drinking and engaging in philosophical musings.

Venya meets a woman named Lyuba, and the two develop a relationship, but their love is complicated by Venya’s alcoholism and personal demons.

The movie is known for its portrayal of the underside of Soviet society, depicting the struggles and hardships faced by ordinary people living in a society where conformity and adherence to Soviet ideals were prized above all else.

The film also explores themes of love, addiction, and existentialism.

“Belorussky Station” was controversial at the time of its release due to its frank depiction of alcoholism and its criticism of Soviet society. However, it has since become a classic of Soviet cinema and a significant work of the “thaw” period of Soviet history.

Overall, “Belorussky Station” is a powerful and thought-provoking film that captures the spirit of a time and place in Soviet history, while also offering universal insights into the human condition.

It is a must-see for anyone interested in Russian literature and cinema, as well as those interested in the complexities of life in the Soviet Union.

17. Solaris (1972)

“Solaris” is a 1972 Soviet science fiction film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, based on the novel of the same name by Polish author Stanisław Lem. The movie is set in a future where humans have established a research station on a distant planet called Solaris.

The crew of the station begins to experience strange and disturbing phenomena, which are eventually revealed to be a manifestation of the planet’s sentient ocean.

The film explores themes of human consciousness, memory, and the nature of reality, and is known for its slow, meditative pace and its stunning visual imagery.

Tarkovsky uses a mix of traditional and experimental filmmaking techniques, including long takes, complex camera movements, and unconventional sound design, to create a deeply immersive and dreamlike atmosphere.

Despite its science fiction premise, “Solaris” is a deeply philosophical and introspective film that delves into the innermost workings of the human mind and soul.

The movie received widespread critical acclaim upon its release and has since become recognized as one of the greatest works of Soviet and science fiction cinema.

Overall, “Solaris” is a profound and thought-provoking film that offers a unique and powerful exploration of the human condition.

Solaris (1972)
  • Russian (Subtitle)

18. Dersu Uzala (1975)

“Dersu Uzala” is a Soviet-Japanese co-production directed by Akira Kurosawa and released in 1975.

The film is based on the memoirs of a Russian explorer named Vladimir Arsenyev and tells the story of his encounters with a nomadic hunter named Dersu Uzala in the wilderness of Siberia.

The film explores themes of friendship, nature, and cultural exchange, and is notable for its stunning cinematography and its portrayal of the natural world.

The film features a mix of Russian and Japanese actors and has a blend of cultural influences that has made it a unique and enduring classic.

“Dersu Uzala” is significant for its portrayal of the relationship between humans and nature and its exploration of the cultural differences and similarities between Russia and Japan.

The film has been praised for its breathtaking visuals and its humanistic approach to its subject matter, and has become a beloved and influential film in both Russian and Japanese cinema. It won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1976.

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Dersu Uzala
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Maksim Munzuk, Yuri Solomin, Svetlana Danilchenko (Actors)
  • Akira Kurosawa (Director) - Akira Kurosawa (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: G (General Audience)

19. Afonya (1975)

“Afonya” (original title “??????”) is a 1975 Soviet comedy film directed by Georgiy Daneliya. The film follows the adventures of a carefree and easygoing man named Afonya, played by actor Leonid Kuravlyov, as he navigates life in Soviet society.

Afonya is a construction worker who spends most of his time drinking and enjoying life with his friends, much to the annoyance of his boss and his wife.

When he falls in love with a beautiful woman named Katya, he is forced to confront the realities of adulthood and responsibility.

The film is known for its charming humor, memorable characters, and insightful commentary on Soviet society in the 1970s.

It explores themes such as the tension between individual freedom and social responsibility, the challenges of growing up and finding one’s place in the world, and the contradictions of life in a socialist society.

“Afonya” was a critical and commercial success in the Soviet Union and has since become a beloved classic of Russian cinema.

The film’s talented cast, including Leonid Kuravlyov and Evgeniya Simonova, as well as its innovative direction and cinematography, have made it a timeless favorite among audiences around the world.

Afonya
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Leonid Kuravlyov, Evgeniya Simonova, Evgeniy Leonov (Actors)
  • Georgiy Daneliya (Director) - Aleksandr Borodyanskiy (Writer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

20. The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath! (1976 TV Movie)

“The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath!” is a Soviet made-for-TV movie released in 1976 and directed by Eldar Ryazanov.

The film is a romantic comedy that has become a beloved holiday classic in Russia, with millions of viewers tuning in to watch it every New Year’s Eve since its release.

The story centers around Zhenya, a young doctor who lives in Moscow and has a girlfriend named Galya.

On New Year’s Eve, Zhenya and his friends get together for a sauna, where they drink heavily and eventually pass out. When Zhenya wakes up, he mistakenly ends up on a plane to Leningrad instead of going home to his girlfriend in Moscow.

He is picked up by a taxi driver, Ippolit, who takes him to an apartment that he believes is his own.

Unbeknownst to Zhenya, the apartment actually belongs to Nadya, a young woman who is engaged to be married the next day. When Nadya arrives home and finds Zhenya in her apartment, she initially assumes he is her fiancé, and the two embark on a series of humorous and romantic misadventures.

“The Irony of Fate” is known for its witty dialogue, charming performances, and its exploration of themes such as love, friendship, and the challenges of modern urban life in the Soviet Union.

The film’s memorable ending, in which the characters sing the Soviet New Year’s anthem, has become an iconic cultural moment in Russia.

Overall, “The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath!” is a delightful and heartwarming film that has captured the imaginations of generations of viewers in Russia and beyond.

It is a must-see for fans of romantic comedies, as well as for anyone interested in the history and culture of the Soviet Union.

The Irony of Fate, or "Enjoy Your Bath" [DVD]
  • Akhedzhakova, Liya, Belyavsky, Aleksandr, Brylska, Barbara (Actors)
  • English, Spanish, German, French, Russian (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

21. Office Romance (1977)

“Office Romance” is a 1977 Soviet romantic comedy film directed by Eldar Ryazanov. The film tells the story of a pair of office workers, a top-level executive named Anatoly Novoseltsev and his secretary Ludmila Kalugina, who develop a romantic relationship despite their professional differences.

The film is noted for its charming performances and witty dialogue, as well as its satirical commentary on Soviet bureaucracy and office politics. It also features a memorable musical score by Andrei Petrov.

“Office Romance” was a commercial and critical success in the Soviet Union, becoming one of the most popular films of its time. It has since become a beloved classic of Soviet cinema and is still regularly screened and enjoyed by audiences today.

Office Romance
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Alisa Freyndlikh, Andrey Myagkov, Svetlana Nemolyaeva (Actors)
  • Eldar Ryazanov (Director) - Emil Braginskiy (Writer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

22. Mimino (1977)

“Mimino” is a Soviet Georgian comedy film directed by Georgiy Daneliya. The film tells the story of Valiko Mizandari, a helicopter pilot from a small Georgian village who dreams of flying in Moscow.

Despite the odds against him, Valiko persists and eventually lands a job flying helicopters in the Soviet capital.

The film follows Valiko’s adventures in Moscow as he struggles to adapt to the big city and the fast-paced life of a helicopter pilot.

Along the way, he befriends a fellow pilot named Rubik Khachikyan, who is an Armenian and the two form a strong bond despite their cultural differences.

“Mimino” is known for its humorous and heartwarming portrayal of life in the Soviet Union, as well as its exploration of cultural differences and the bonds of friendship.

The film offers a glimpse into the lives of ordinary people in Soviet society and highlights the determination and resilience of its characters.

The film has become a classic of Soviet cinema and is regarded as one of the most beloved and iconic films of its era. Its mix of comedy, drama, and social commentary has made it a popular film in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union.

DVD NTSC Georgiy Daneliya Мимино / Mimino Soviet Comedy Movie [Language: Russian, English, French; Subtitles: Russian, English, French] ALL REGIONS
  • Vakhtang Kikabidze, Mher Mkrtchyan, Elena Proklova (Actor)
  • Georgiy Daneliya (Director)
  • Russian, English, French (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

23. The Ascent (1977)

“The Ascent” (Russian title: “Voskhozhdeniye”) is a 1977 Soviet war drama directed by Larisa Shepitko. The film is set during World War II and follows the story of a group of Soviet partisans who are captured by German soldiers.

The movie is known for its exploration of themes of sacrifice, heroism, and survival in the face of overwhelming adversity. The film’s main character, Sotnikov, is a young partisan who is captured by the Germans and tortured for information.

Despite the torture, Sotnikov refuses to betray his comrades and is ultimately executed. The film then follows the remaining partisans as they attempt to make their way back to their base through a hostile and snowy landscape.

“The Ascent” is widely regarded as one of the greatest war films ever made, and it won the Golden Bear award at the 1977 Berlin International Film Festival.

The film is noted for its stunning cinematography, bleak and realistic depiction of war, and its powerful performances from its cast.

Overall, “The Ascent” is a deeply moving and thought-provoking film that offers a powerful commentary on the nature of sacrifice and the human spirit in times of war. It is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of World War II or the art of Soviet cinema.

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The Ascent (The Criterion Collection) [DVD]
  • Boris Plotnikov, Vladimir Gostyukhin, Sergey Yakovlev (Actors)
  • Larisa Shepitko (Director)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

24. Twenty Days Without War (1977)

“Twenty Days Without War” is a 1977 Soviet drama film directed by Aleksey German and based on the novel “The Twenty Days Without War” by Konstantin Simonov.

The movie is set in 1942 during the height of World War II and follows the story of a Soviet Army correspondent named Sergey, who is sent to the front lines to document the war effort.

While stationed in a small town, Sergey meets a local woman named Lyuba and begins a brief but intense love affair with her.

However, their relationship is cut short when Sergey is ordered to return to Moscow. The film explores themes of love and loss, the brutality of war, and the emotional toll it takes on those who fight it.

“Twenty Days Without War” is notable for its realistic portrayal of the war, including its depiction of the harsh living conditions, the psychological trauma suffered by soldiers, and the bureaucracy and red tape that hindered the war effort.

The movie also features a powerful performance by the lead actor, Yuri Nikulin, who conveys the complex emotional range of his character with great skill.

Despite being a war film, “Twenty Days Without War” is not a glorification of combat, but rather a nuanced and humanistic exploration of the impact of war on individuals and society. The movie was critically acclaimed upon its release and is now considered a classic of Soviet cinema.

25. Po semeynym obstoyatelstvam (1978)

“Po semeynym obstoyatelstvam” (translated as “By Family Circumstances”) is a Soviet drama film directed by Nikita Mikhalkov and released in 1978.

The film follows the story of a family living in Moscow during the 1970s, and explores the themes of love, family, and the challenges of modern life in the Soviet Union.

The film features a talented cast and is notable for its realistic portrayal of everyday life in Soviet Russia, including the struggles of ordinary people to navigate the complex social and political landscape of the era.

The film’s nuanced approach to its subject matter, as well as its blend of humor and drama, has made it a beloved classic of Soviet cinema.

“Po semeynym obstoyatelstvam” is significant for its exploration of the challenges faced by families in Soviet society, and its commentary on the social and political climate of the time.

The film has been praised for its realistic portrayal of the lives of ordinary people, and for its humanistic approach to its subject matter. It remains a celebrated and influential film in Russian and Soviet cinema.

3 Characteristics of Soviet Union Movies

Social realism: Soviet Union movies were characterized by a commitment to social realism, which was a style of art that aimed to depict the world as it really was.

Soviet filmmakers were encouraged to produce works that celebrated the achievements of socialism and the Communist Party, while also criticizing the flaws and challenges of Soviet society.

The films often highlighted themes such as class struggle, industrialization, collectivization, and the fight against fascism.

Propaganda: Soviet Union movies often had a clear political message and were used as a tool of propaganda to promote the values and goals of the Communist Party.

Films were expected to portray the Soviet Union and its leaders in a positive light, and to support the principles of socialism and communism.

Some films were even produced specifically to influence public opinion on important political issues, such as the Cold War and the space race.

Collective work: Soviet Union movies were often the result of collective work, with directors, writers, actors, and other members of the film crew working together as a team.

This collective approach to filmmaking was seen as a reflection of the principles of socialism, where cooperation and collaboration were valued over individual achievement.

This approach to filmmaking often led to a high degree of technical skill and innovation, as well as a strong sense of camaraderie among the members of the film crew.

3 Reasons To Watch Soviet Union Movies

Historical and cultural significance: Soviet Union movies offer a unique window into the culture, politics, and social conditions of one of the most influential countries of the 20th century.

They provide an opportunity to explore the complexities of life under communism and to gain insights into the lived experiences of ordinary people in the Soviet Union.

Innovative and experimental filmmaking: Soviet filmmakers were often at the forefront of experimental and avant-garde filmmaking techniques, pushing the boundaries of what was considered possible or acceptable in cinema.

Soviet movies often feature innovative visual and narrative techniques, as well as bold political and social critiques.

Rich and diverse cinematic tradition: Soviet Union movies span a wide range of genres and styles, from epic historical dramas to romantic comedies to gritty social realist films.

Soviet cinema is also notable for its impressive body of work in animation, with many classic and beloved animated films being produced during this time.

Watching Soviet Union movies can provide a rich and diverse cinematic experience that offers something for every taste and interest.

Best Soviet Union Movies – Wrap Up

Soviet cinema has made a significant contribution to world cinema, producing some of the most iconic and influential films of the 20th century.

From the early works of Sergei Eisenstein to the later films of Andrei Tarkovsky, Soviet cinema has been characterized by its innovative style and its exploration of themes such as socialism, revolution, and the struggle for social justice.

Despite the challenges faced by filmmakers in the Soviet Union, including censorship and government control, Soviet cinema was able to flourish and produce many classic films that continue to be admired and studied today.

These films offer a unique perspective on Soviet society, presenting an idealized vision of the socialist state while also critiquing its shortcomings and limitations.

Whether exploring the complexities of human relationships, the struggles of everyday life, or the larger themes of politics and ideology, Soviet cinema has left an indelible mark on the world of cinema and continues to inspire and influence filmmakers today.