The best films for learning Russian
Our top reccomendation for watching Russian and Soviet movies is Russian Film Hub. The site has hundreds of the best Russian movies free to watch with subtitles in English and other languages. There is no better site than Russian Film Hub for enjoying Russian cinema!
Here are our suggestions for the best Russian movies to watch to improve your Russian language:
Russian and Soviet animation provides some of the best films there are for Russian language learners. Here’s what we recommend:
Cheburashka is Russia’s most well-known animation darling. You’ve probably seen the adorable bear-like mini Cheburashka before, as the character has developed somewhat of a cult following around the world. The Cheburashka series follows the adventures of this cute, mysterious creature and its best friend, Crocodile Gena.
The Russian version of Winnie-the-Pooh is altogether quite different from the Disney version you probably grew up with. The Russian “Vinni” is a hilariously crafty character who is always getting into escapades or marching around singing absurd songs to himself.
The Bremen Town Musicians is a fun cartoon about a wandering singer and his animal companions. The series is most famous for its beautiful rock’n’roll music set amid the medievel ages.
The Prostokvashino series tells the story of a young boy who runs away from home to live with a cat and dog in the village of Prostokvashino. It’s so popular that today one of Russia’s main dairy brands is named after the cartoon.
Junior and Karlson is a story about a lonely boy who so desperately wants a dog that he invents an imaginary friend (who can fly) to keep him company. Together the two get into all sorts of shenanigans.
There are so many hilarious Soviet comedies that both give a special insight to life in the USSR and serve as excellent language learning aids. You’d definitely do well to check out Russian Film Hub’s list of The Top 25 Soviet Comedies. In particular, don’t miss these comedies!
Also known as Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future, this hilarious film tells the story of an engineer who manages to build a time machine in his Moscow apartment. When he tests it, he accidentally swaps his irratible building superintendent with his look alike, the fearsome Tsar Ivan the Terrible.
Gentlemen of Fortune is another excellent comedy of mistaken identity. After a gang of criminals steals a priceless archeological artifact, the police enlist the help of a pre-school teacher to pretend to be his doppelanger, the head of the gang. This sweet, kindly teacher goes undercover into the Soviet prison system and tries to weasle out information from the gang.
The Diamond Arm is one of the great comedies of the 20th century. The naive main character, Semyon Semyonich, plays a hilarious role that puts him somewhere between a Charlie Chaplin and Mr. Bean. After accidentally smuggling contraband jewels in his arm cask for a gang of bandits, he fearfully collaborates with the police to bring justice to light.
Operation Y is a fun slapstick comedy that is one of the most accessible Russian films there is for early Russian language learners to understand. The film’s comedy relies mostly on slapstick, and is neatly split up into three separate plots. Chances are that if you’re learning Russian, you’ll come to watch and love Operation Y sooner than later.
The Irony of Fate is perhaps the most well known Russian comedy around the world. This iconic film is graces Russian TV every New Year’s and is rewatched by millions who adore its feel-good story. A man from Moscow accidentally enters into a woman’s apartment in St. Petersburg. The joke is that he’s able to enter because they have the same address and apartments around the Soviet Union were constructed to be identical. What ensues is a fateful romance, set amid the magic of New Year’s.
Classics of world cinema
Russian cinema has given the world some of the finest cinematic works there are. Here are just a few.
Come and See is the the most horrifying film ever made. It chronicles the real life conditions in Belarus during WWII. Although this is an important work of art to experience, it is not for the faint of heart.
Master director, Andrei Tarkovsky, is Russia’s most celebrated director, recognized as one of the most important contributor’s to world cinema. Andrei Rublev is a work of sublime poetic cinema that covers the life and times of the great medieval Russian icon painter.
Based on the Mikhail Bulgakov story of the same name, Heart of a Dog follows a 1920s professor who succesfully turns a dog into a human. The ensuing disaster calls into question whether it is possible to create a new Homo sovieticus.
Kin-dza-dza! is a hilarious, yet thought-provoking Soviet sci-fi film about two humans stranded on the desert world of Pluke. The planet has been ravaged by out-0f-control consumption, and is now divided into strict social castes. Is is no exaggeration to say that every Russian knows this film and that Russians will be thrilled to learn that you’ve enjoyed this classic as well. If you’d like to explore Russian sci-fi more, definitely check out Russian Film Hub’s Top 10 Russian Sci-Fi Movies.
Leviathan is one of the most internationally succesfull Russian films in recent years. Directed by arguably the finest contempory Russian director, Andrei Zvyagintsev, this film spins a tale of corruption and suffering amid the sweeping backdrop of Russia’s arctic coast.