Here are some vintage Soviet movie posters and box set cover art for the movies the Soviet Union was selling abroad. They were translated into foreign languages already but some need some explaining. We also tried to find them online and we have good news – most of the movies that were made by the Moscow “Mosfilm” studio are available to watch on YouTube with English subtitles, so just see the posters, read the taglines and watch the ones you think sounding interesting right here. They don’t let us embed the movies but you can click “youtube link” and see it on youtube for free.
Mimino (Russian: Мимино) is a 1977 comedy film by Soviet director Georgiy Daneliya produced by Mosfilm and Gruziya-film, starring Vakhtang Kikabidze and Frunzik Mkrtchyan. Anatoliy Petritskiy served as the film’s Director of Photography. The Soviet era comedy won the 1977 Golden Prize at the 10th Moscow International Film Festival.
Watch online, please turn on the English subtitles (for this and other movies) to be able to understand the film:
Stalker is a 1979 Soviet science fiction art film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky with a screenplay written by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky, loosely based on their novel Roadside Picnic (1972). The film combines elements of science fiction with dramatic philosophical and psychological themes.
The film depicts an expedition led by a figure known as the “Stalker” (Aleksandr Kaidanovsky) to take his two clients—a melancholic writer (Anatoli Solonitsyn) seeking inspiration, and a professor (Nikolai Grinko) seeking scientific discovery—to a mysterious restricted site known simply as the “Zone,” where there is a room which supposedly has the ability to fulfill a person’s innermost desires. The trio travel through unnerving areas filled with the debris of modern society while engaging in many arguments. The “Zone” itself appears sentient, while their path through it can be sensed but not seen. In the film, a “stalker” is a professional guide to the Zone, someone having the ability and desire to cross the border into the dangerous and forbidden place with a specific goal.
The Diamond Arm (Russian: Бриллиантовая рука Brilliantovaya ruka) is a Soviet comedy film made by Mosfilm and first released in 1969. The film was directed by director Leonid Gaidai and starred several famous Soviet actors, including Yuri Nikulin, Andrei Mironov, Anatoli Papanov, Nonna Mordyukova and Svetlana Svetlichnaya. The Diamond Arm has become a Russian cult film and is considered by many Russian contemporaries to be one of the finest comedies of all time. It was also one of the all-time leaders at the Soviet box office with over 76,700,000 theatre admissions in the Soviet era. The plot of the film was based on a real-life news item about Swiss smugglers who tried to transport jewels in an orthopedic cast.
Viy (Spirit of Evil or Vii, Russian: Вий) is a 1967 horror film produced by Mosfilm and based on the Nikolai Gogol story of the same name.
As a class of seminary students are sent home for vacation, three of them get lost on the way in the middle of the night. One spots a farmhouse in the distance, and they ask the old woman at the gate to let them spend the night. She agrees, on the condition that they sleep in separate areas of the farm.
“Three Plus Two”: Three men vacation on a deserted beach near The Black Sea, trying to get away from women and society. However, two women arrive and try to claim the vacation spot as their own. The groups scheme to run each other off the beach.
“Little Vera”: A story about a young woman, Vera, who is somebody, living the life of a troubled teenager in the time right before the end of the Soviet Union. She lives in a very small Russian apartment with her mother and father, however being this close to each other makes the living get rough. Their daily life is plagued with massive amounts of alcohol (mainly vodka) and when she tries to escape her home life, she meets up with a boyfriend, Sergei who then moves into her already small apartment after sleeping with her. Every day little Vera has to go through hell just to get by, which even involves her going against her own morals after her father has done something extremely wrong.
A Railway Station for Two (1983): A waitress from the provincial railway station falls in love with an accidental passenger. Before this passenger lies the menace of distant prison for the crime he didn’t commit.
Director: Eldar Ryazanov
To the Stars by Hard Ways (1981): A female creature created in space tries to live on earth and has special (and sometimes dangerous) powers.
Directors: Richard Viktorov, Nikolay Viktorov
Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears (1980): This is a life story of three girlfriends from youth to autumn ages. Their dreams and wishes, love, disillusions. Different careers. And big late love. This film got an Oscar for the Best Foreign Film.
Kin-dza-dza! (1986) a cult Soviet movie with a 8.2 IMDB rating. Two Russians push the wrong button on a strange device and end up on the telepathic planet Pluke with its strange societal norms.
Director: Georgiy Daneliya
Gentlemen of Fortune (1971): A kindergarten director Troshkin is a dead ringer for a criminal nicknamed “Docent” who stole the priceless headpiece of Alexander the Great during an archaeological expedition. But after militia “inputs” Troshkin into the criminal environment he has nothing left to do but to carefully play out the part of his “evil twin”.
Kidnapping, Caucasian Style (1967): A young student Shurik comes to a remote mountainous region in search of ancient legends and traditions. Fooled by the corrupt local governor, he helps him to kidnap a beautiful young girl, but soon realizes what he’s done.
Ekipazh (1980) or Air Crew: Story of the lives of three Soviet pilots who are united by disaster in a small town in the mountains.
Watch online (turn on English subtitles):
Operation Y and Shurik’s Other Adventures (Russian: Операция „Ы“ и другие приключения Шурика) – (Operatsiya „Y“ i drugie priklyucheniya Shurika) is a 1965 Soviet slapstick comedy film directed by Leonid Gaidai. The plot follows the adventures of Shurik (alternative spelling — Shourick), the naive and nerdy Soviet student who often gets into ludicrous situations but always finds a way out very neatly.
Operation Y and Shurik’s Other Adventures was a hit movie and became the leader of Soviet film distribution in 1965.
White Sun of the Desert (1970)
At the end of the Russian Civil War, Red Army soldier Fyodor Sukhov is ordered to guard the harem of a Caspian Sea guerrilla leader.
Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future (1973) (Way before American back to the future!) An ordinary Soviet building manager, living in the 20th century, is extremely similar to a Tsar of All Rus’ – Ivan IV the Terrible (1530-1584). He would never learn about it, but one day his neighbor created a time machine.
Love and Doves (1985) Injured on the job Vasily Kuzyakin gets a ticket to the resort. There he meets femme fatale Raisa Zakharovna, and once under the charm, moves to live with her. Unfortunately, a new life is not all that sweet as dreamed hapless Vasily.
Director: Vladimir Menshov
Pirates of the 20th Century 1980: 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.
Zero City 1988 An engineer in charge of the production line of a factory in Moscow is sent to a small town to try to specify the distributor the new dimensions of a mechanic part they need. But in this town everybody seems to be crazy (a secretary who works naked, a group of people take the engineer as a rock & roll player, etc) and, in addition, this man is witness of a suicide, so he is trapped inside the town.
Office Romance (1977) The life of entire statistical bureau becomes crazy when an ordinary worker – a shy male – falls in love with a boss – a strict female.
Director: Eldar Ryazanov
Hope you liked this selection, maybe share them with friends? These are Soviet classics!