50 Russian Films – A List of Some of the Best-Loved Comedies and Love Stories from Russia

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Russian Films
That Very Same Munchhausen (1979)

Have you worked your way through the bulk of the US and UK rom-coms? All the way from Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn to Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks? And perhaps even further? If you are looking for something to fill that space that these fantastic films left, look no further! Here is a list of comedies, rom-coms, dramas, war films and even a few tragedies from Russia. Tragedy and comedy often walk hand in hand, after all! And some of the best love stories can often be found in films with a backdrop of war.

  

We’ve all heard mention of that ever-mysterious Russian soul. You can certainly get a peek at it and decide what makes it so mysterious for yourself if you’re curious. With fifty Russian films to choose from, you will have plenty of material to work with.

Five years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to share such a list with you. It used to be almost impossible to find Russian films translated into English. However, today most of the production studios have an official YouTube channel where more and more films are becoming available with English subtitles. The stars have finally aligned as people are taking more notice of the wonderful films that exist in other languages!

Related Post: The 100 Best Romantic Comedies of All Time (Part One)

The films are suitable for all ages (let’s say PG) unless I specify otherwise below. You can also visit the IMDB page for each film for more info by clicking on each of the film titles.

Russian Films – A List

(In no particular order)

#1 The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath (1975)

Irony of Fate - Russian Films

New Year’s Eve is a very big deal in Russia and is celebrated far more thoroughly than Christmas. A running joke in Russia is that if one turns on the TV at any point during the day on the 31st of December, one will stumble upon The Irony of Fate, no matter what channel one selects. It’s a classic of the highest order.

Zhenya and his friends have a yearly tradition of meeting the New Year thoroughly clean. For this, they meet up at a bathhouse in Moscow where they naturally get thoroughly wasted, as they are busy toasting to each other’s health and so forth. In this drunken state, they head off to the airport but manage to put the wrong person on the plane. So Zhenya heads off to Leningrad (Now St. Petersburg) without realising it. The taxi effortlessly takes him to his home address. The building looks identical, even the key fits in the door of what he thinks is his apartment. Then Nadya comes home, finds a stranger sleeping off a hangover in her bed, and all hell breaks loose.

Zhenya: “Where am I?”

Nadya: “3rd Builders’ Street, House number 25, Apartment 12!”

Zhenya: “That’s right, that’s my address, honestly! But, strangely, I have this feeling that I’m somehow not at home.”

Watch this film with hard subs on YouTube (PART 1 and PART 2) or on SOVIETMOVIESONLINE. It’s also available on Amazon Prime.

#2 Office Romance (1977)

Russian Films - Office Romance

This film feels like a wonderful celebration of women and love. I still watch it every year on the 8th of March (International Women’s Day) with my mother. It makes us cry happy tears every time!

Subordinate: “You wouldn’t dare to fling flowers in the face of any other employee but me. Could it really be that you are not indifferent towards me?”

Boss: “One more word from you and I will launch the decanter at your head!”

Subordinate: “If you use the decanter, then you must definitely … you know …”

As the title suggests, this is an office romance and it is between a seemingly unattractive female boss and one of her subordinates. The leads are so wonderfully awkward with each other as they try to suss each other out. It’s truly a joy to watch the man stutter his way through every conversation with his female boss. If possible, the stuttering seems to get even worse once he develops feelings for her and starts to woo her in earnest. Although, secretly giving flowers and then denying the fact may seem like a backward way to romance someone. He is quite hopeless at this wooing business so the object of this affection even has to help him out.

Watch this film with CC subs on YouTube (PART 1 and PART 2) or on SOVIETMOVIESONLINE. It’s also available on Amazon Prime.

#3 An Ordinary Miracle (1979)

Russian Films - An Ordinary Miracle

“Long live the brave who have enough courage to love, knowing that everything will end! Long live those who dare to live as if they were immortal!”

Once upon a time, a wizard turned a bear cub into a young man. Now that young man has returned to be turned back into a bear. Since this wizard likes the occasional prank he makes up an entire story with lots of eccentric characters to make this happen. It wouldn’t be nearly as interesting to him otherwise! So he decides that the young man will turn into a bear only once a princess falls in love with him and kisses him.

You will laugh, cry, and swoon as you watch this wonderful tale play out. This film takes one on a journey of what it is to be a creator. A creator that occasionally allows his characters to make their own choices and see them play out for better or worse. It’s an incredibly funny and intensely romantic fantasy and fairy tale. Read our full review by clicking on the link below.

Content note: One very brief flash of a female upper chest when a servant gets out of bed. Otherwise, it’s suitable for all ages.

Watch it with CC subs on YouTube (PART 1 and PART 2) or on SOVIETMOVIESONLINE.

Related Post: An Ordinary Miracle – A Bear and a Princess Fall in Love in a Fairy Tale for All Ages

#4 That Very Same Munchhausen (1979)

That Very Same Munchhausen - Russian Films

“I’ve realised where your problem lies. You’re too serious. An intelligent face is not as yet an indication of intelligence. All silly things on Earth are done precisely with such a face. Smile, ladies and gentlemen, smile!”

Baron von Munchhausen is a fictional character of German origin. He is famous for telling tall tales that anyone would have trouble believing. You may have heard of his trip to the moon on a cannonball and of his other impossible adventures.

This film is a masterpiece and work of pure genius. It took the short stories and expanded them into a magnificent tale of a man’s unwillingness to conform to the rules of society. He didn’t care if people called him crazy as long as he could live the way he wanted.

Watching this philosophical story with mind-blowing dialogue may just change the way you view life and make you a little bit happier in the process. It’s truly a life-changing film that I cannot recommend highly enough!

Watch it with CC subs on YouTube (PART 1 and PART 2) or on SOVIETMOVIESONLINE.

#5 Formula of Love (1984)

Formula of Love - Russian Films

Formula of Love is a brilliant film with satirical humour, comedy, and romance.

Count Cagliostro and his small group of helpers show extravagant magic tricks as they travel from town to town. The jewels on the audience promptly magically disappear as the performances draw to a close. Consequently, the police are hot on the heels of this band of crooks posing as psychics and whatnot.

In a small village, meanwhile, young Aleksei is in the throes of first love. The kind where he only reads poetry and bemoans the fact that no one understands him. The only problem is that his beloved is a marble statue. When Aleksei hears that Count Cagliostro is nearby, he invites him to stay and turn his beloved statue into a human being. When Count Cagliostro turns the statue into a woman all sorts of interesting things happen.

Content note: Very quick flash of a nude female upper chest at a distance. Otherwise, there is no nudity or profanity. There is just the occasional mild suggestive line.

Watch it on SOVIETMOVIESONLINE or with CC subs on YouTube. The subs are incorrectly synced to the video on YouTube. However, this may be fixed in the future.

#6 We’ll Live ‘Til Monday (1968)

We'll Live Till Monday - Russian Films

“Happiness is to be understood”

Have you ever had a crush on your teacher or on someone significantly older and unattainable? If you have, this film will definitely strike a chord with you. Even if something like this never happened to you, it’s still an incredibly moving story. It’s about students, teachers, dreams, life, and love.

We follow a few days in the lives of a class and their teachers. You’ve Got Mail had bouquets of sharpened pencils, while this little gem has essays on happiness.

Watch it with CC subs on YouTube or on SOVIETMOVIESONLINE.

#7 Wizards (1982)

Wizards - Russian Films

Kovrov: “Has he gone completely insane?!”

Bryl: “Insane or in love, it makes no difference from a medical standpoint.”

This fantasy rom-com is loosely based on a book written by Russia’s most famous writers of sci-fi (The Strugatsky Brothers). They even wrote the screenplay. Until a scientific method is proven and explained it almost seems like magic to the average observer. So, taking this idea of science being like magic, these brothers thought of “The Scientific Research Institute of Sorcery and Wizardry.” The events of the novel and the film take place there. Think something along the lines of “The Ministry for Magic” from Harry Potter.

So, enter a world where wizards carry out magical experiments and write academic papers on them, try to get a cat to talk (since other similar institutions have their own talking animals), and spend their time like people in academia do. They even work with magical wood in an effort to make the ideal wand. The way the wand works is pretty great too: Everything that one conjured with it comes with a price tag! After all, there is no such thing as a free lunch in the world. There is also a cursed bride that needs saving before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. As well as a troika of white stallions (December, January, and February) who carry us swiftly onward into the distance towards spring. It’s a fantastic winter-holiday saga for all ages.

Watch it on Amazon (PART 1 and PART 2) or SOVIETMOVIESONLINE.

#8 The Diamond Arm (1968)

The Diamond Arm - Russian Films

Considered the best Russian comedy by many (with awards to prove it), this is a film depicting the lives of several smugglers who get into all sorts of hijinks when their contraband takes an unexpected and unusual route.

On a world cruise, an unsuspecting family man slips and breaks his arm. By pure (but highly probable) chance he says the code words that the smugglers nearby were waiting for. So, they happily place a cast (and lots and lots of diamonds embedded within it) onto this arm and send him back to his ship. They realise their mistake when the real smuggler appears. But the diamonds are already with someone else. So the smugglers then attempt to get their contraband back from the man with the cast. Naturally, all these attempts are downright hilarious.

Watch it with on Youtube with HARDSUBS or with CC subs. It’s also available on Amazon Prime and SOVIETMOVIESONLINE.

#9 Girls (1961)

Girls - Russian Films

A girl sweeps into town like a tornado. She is a determined little thing as she starts her very first job as a cook at a tree-felling site. While she is busy defending her own pride, she manages to stomp all over the pride of the local ladies’ man and pack leader. So, when a fellow worker suggests a bet to this young man he jumps at the opportunity. We all know that men who bet that they will get a girl to fall in love with them invariably end up the ones to fall in love. Thus eating their words and getting a taste of their own medicine! This is a very sweet and funny story of young love.

Watch it with CC subs on YouTube or on SOVIETMOVIESONLINE.

#10 One Hundred Days After Childhood (1975)

100 Days After Childhood - Russian FilmsAn indescribably beautiful film about the pangs of first love. The events take place at summer camp. No longer children but not yet adults, we follow the awakening of that innocent first love in a 14-year-old boy and others where everything is overwhelming and new.

“You see, a time will come. Usually, it happens entirely unexpectedly. You will suddenly see the river, the trees, and the girl and the way she is smiling. And even though you’ve seen it all a thousand times before, you will suddenly become dumbstruck with an unexpected realization of how unimaginably beautiful that girl, that tree, and that river and the way she is smiling are. This usually means that love has caught up with you.”

Watch this film on YouTube or on SOVIETMOVIESONLINE.


Head on over to the next page for more Russian films.

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Yaroslavna Simdyankina

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Storytelling in all formats has held Yaroslavna captive since her childhood. She cannot simply watch or read something, but has a tendency to analyse every story and scene in great detail. Human interactions, people's ability to change and improve, and the way the human psyche works has always fascinated her. Her favourite stories are those where characters go through profound changes or are so firm in their beliefs that they affect the world around them through their actions.

  • Brittaney B

    Oh my goodness, what a fabulous list. I feel like Christmas came early and will be adding many of these to my list of movies to watch.

    • Yaroslavna Simdyankina

      Happy Early Christmas 😉

  • Natalya

    Wonderful list – thank you! I’ve watched a couple of these (Operation Y, The Diamond Arm) and The Irony of Fate has been on my to-watch list. Looking forward to these new recommendations, especially Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears, Three Poplars, A Cruel Romance, The Cranes are Flying..and others! Also, I know it’s not a movie, but I love the Russian Sherlock Holmes! Do you have some particular favorites, if you had to choose? 🙂

    • Yaroslavna Simdyankina

      To be honest, all these films are great, otherwise they wouldn’t have made the list 😉 But, my absolute favourites (which have been re-watched countless times!) are probably:
      Office Romance (no.2 on above list)
      An Ordinary Miracle (no.3)
      That Very Same Munchhausen (no.4)
      In Love By Choice (no.22)
      Formula of Love (no.5)
      But most of the others have been re-watched far too many times too 🙂

      The Sherlock Holmes adaptations are highly appreciated, yes. I haven’t re-watched them since I was very little and given the choice tend to revisit the BBC Sherlock lately. I’m scared of watching it in case I don’t like it as much now, which is very silly. If there is one thing I strongly recommend NOT watching, it’s any Russian adaptation of Shakespeare. I can’t explain it, but it doesn’t feel anything like Shakespeare to me. His beauty definitely becomes lost in translation. Ha!
      It sounds like you have a preference for love stories somewhat tinged with sadness from your picks above. So, you would probably enjoy numbers 50, 32, 33, 34, 35!, 39, 11, 29 in addition to those you chose.

      • Natalya

        Too funny – is my preference obvious? 😉 All the numbers you suggested were indeed the other films I thought I’d like to check out when I read the list! Yes, I really do like love stories with a bit of sadness. (My film review of a Good Rain Knows is a perfect example!)

        • Yaroslavna Simdyankina

          Bullseye! I’m a bit surprised at the accuracy of my own aim 😉

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