Eastern Europe is a mysterious and fascinating place that captures the imaginations of many people. The vodka, the beautiful language, the unique architecture, the depression—it all makes Russia a fascinating country, and one that has been the setting for many a fascinating film. So say "das vdanya" to these five movies set in Russia. These movies run the gamut between big Hollywood studio classics to cheap horror/thrillers, and from dark and dramatic to light and funny. So no matter what you're in the mood for, you should be able to find a movie set in Russia that's right for your mood.

"Black Sabbath"

This horror anthology from Mario Bava has three creepy segments, but it's the middle one that is of concern here: "The Wurdalak" is set in the woods of 19th century Russia, where the terrifying beasts of the title (undead zombies who feed on human blood) are rampaging through the countryside. Boris Karloff is one of the members of a family getting tormented, but it's uncertain if he's been transformed or not. The paranoia and terror that follow offer a bleak portrait of life in rural Russia. It's probably a lot better now, though.

"Doctor Zhivago"

This epic Hollywood adaptation of the classic Russian novel is famous for the miles and miles of snow featured within, which already makes it a classic movie set in Russia. It snows so much there that ... that ... well, it's a lot of snow. It is also a somewhat political film, dealing with the tribulations of the Bolshevik Revolution—if you're interested in Russia, you should definitely appreciate its rich history, and while "Doctor Zhivago" probably wouldn't ever be confused with a history lesson, it's not a bad place to start.

"Love and Death"

Speaking of Russian novels, here's a guy you probably don't expect to tackle that subject: Woody Allen. But he does, and the result is marvelous. Woody has a parody of not just Russian novels, but "literary cinema," Ingmar Bergman, 1950s hygiene films, and more. One of the movie's funniest gags features an inexplicably African American drill sergeant in the Russian army: "You love Mother Russia, DON'T YOU?"

"The Hunt for Red October"

We don't see much of Russia in this movie, but it is set on board a Russian submarine. And Sean Connery played a Spaniard in "The Highlander," so why not a Russian submarine captain here? The movie is a very entertaining and suspenseful thriller, dealing with Connery's attempt to defect to the United States. You might say he's "rushin'" to get out of Russia! Heh heh, sorry.


It shouldn't come as a surprise that Agent 007 has made more than one trip to Russia—although strangely, his first cinematic trip to the nation happened after the Cold War in "GoldenEye." The memorable opening sequence is just one of the sequences set in Russia in the movie. Another features Bond getting into trouble with a girl (of course) in a Russian hotel room.

These five movies might not show you what it's like to live in Russia, but they may just give you a small taste of life on the Saddest Country On Earth. Sit back, relax, and bottom's up.