Russian Revolution Films

Tuesday, March 22 by Wendy Adams

Russian Revolution films examine the events of the 1917 Revolution in many different ways. In certain Russian Revolution films Hollywood stretches the truth or extracts a love story from the events. Some Russian Revolution films are about the events leading up to the Revolution which include the failing monarchy, Rasputin and his influence over them, and the overthrow of the monarchy.

  1. Ten Days That Shook the World.” Based on the book of the same name by John Reed, an American socialist and journalist, about the Russian Revolution of 1917 that ended the Monarchy in Russia. This vintage film tells the story of the Revolution in a documentary format. The film stars Vladimir Popov as Aleksandr Kerensky, Vasili Nikandrov as V.I. Lenin, and Layaschenko as Konovalov.
  2. Rasputin and the Empress.” Factual integrity and Hollywood rarely collide and this film about the Russian Revolution is no exception. However, it is an interesting story of the waning reign of Tsar Nicholas and Alexandra. Historically starring John Barrymore as Princ Paul Chegodieff, Ethel Barrymore as Czarina Alexandra, and Lionel Barrymore as Grigori Rasputin together for the only time.
  3. Scarlet Dawn.” Romance and intrigue with the Russian Revolution as the background. Russian officer Baron Nikita Krasnoff (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) and his troops experience troop revolts. He makes his way to Turkey traveling with Tanyusha Krasnoff (Nancy Carroll). A treacherous love triangle ensues with the arrival of ex Mistress Vera Zimina (Lilyan Tashman).
  4. Anastasia.” The murder of the Russian Monarchy left an unsolved mystery when the body of the young daughter Anastasia was not found with the body of her assassinated family. In this film, General Sergei Pavlovich Bounine (Yul Brenner) attempts to present the Grand Duchess Anastasia (Ingrid Bergman), a woman with amnesia he hired as an imposter, to the remaining members of the Romanov family. Pure speculation topped with a sprinkle of fantasy but Brynner and Bergman are spectacular.
  5. Doctor Zhivago.” An epic tale that follows a young Russian doctor and poet Yuri (Omar Sharif) from the beginning through the Russian Revolution. Costarring Geraldine Chaplin as his wife Tonya and Julie Christie as Lara, his Mistress. It was the winner of five Academy Awards.
  6. Rasputin the Mad Monk.” Hollywood has its way with this less than factual tale about Grigori Rasputin (Christopher Lee), the inexplicable Monk who had a powerful influence over the Russian monarchy near the end of their reign. The story follows Rasputin’s rise to power to his assassination.
  7. Nicholas and Alexandra.” This winner of two Academy Awards tell the story of Russian Czar Nicholas II (Michael Jayston) and Alexandra (Janet Suzman) from the just before the Russian Revolution, to their overthrow, their incarceration with their children, and their execution. Beautiful costume design and photography.
  8. Reds.” John Reed (Warren Beatty) a radical Socialist and American journalist witnesses the Russian Revolution and the Communist takeover and is inspired to lead a similar revolution in America with the woman he loves Louise Bryant (Dian Keaton) by his side. Jack Nicholson as Eugene O’Neill is brilliant. Winner of three Academy Awards.
  9. Rasputin.” Another look at the mysterious man who influenced and manipulated Czar Nicholas and Czarnia Alexandra shortly before the Russian Revolution. This film portrays Grigori Rasputin (Aleksei Pertenko) as a decadent, corrupt, and power drunk sexual pervert. Costarring Anatoli Romashin as Nicholas II and Velta Line as Aleksandra Fyodorovna.
  10. Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna.” Since the Russian Revolution and the assassination of the monarchy, a handful of women have come forth claiming to be Anastasia Romanov who was thought to have survived the execution of her entire family. This is the story of Anna Anderson (Amy Irving) who claimed to be Anastasia. Costarring Olivia de Havilland as the Dowager Empress Maria, Jan Niklas as Prince Erich, and Susan Licci as Darya Romanoff.
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