The best films and TV series to help you discover Russia
The best way to know more about Russia is to watch films that best represent Russian people and Russian culture. There are films that will show you post-revolutionary Russia and others will help you immerse into the world of the Russian Tsars, Counts and Viscounts who existed before the Revolution in 1917.
Anna Karenina (2012)
Anna Karenina is a creation of the very famous Russian writer Leo Tolstoy which was made into a film by a British film director. The main character Anna Karenina is beautifully played by Keira Knightley who struggles to make a decision whether it is to be with her son and husband or run off with an officer she inadvertently fell in love with. You will see a lot of beautiful scenes and costumes and you will experience love, despair, and betrayal.
War and Peace (2016)
War and Peace is another novel written by Leo Tolstoy and showcased by the British film director Tom Harper as a set of mini-series. The main characters were picked very carefully and managed to truly convey the essence of the 19th-century life and fashion.
There will be happy and sad moments like in any period drama, however, you won’t be disappointed as the director managed to blend in nicely the war and peace.
The Americans (2013-2018)
The Americans is a great 6 season tv series about a family of the Soviet spies who were moved to America and pretended to be a normal American family while spying on the FBI, CIA and the US government.
The plot is so interesting and gripping that you will be tempted to watch the whole set of series in a single sitting.
Doctor Zhivago (2002)
Doctor Zhivago is a tragic story that takes place in post-revolutionary Russia and is based on the novel of the same name written by Boris Pasternak.
The storyline of the love and affection of the main characters Lara and Yuri intertwines with the tragic love story of Boris (the author) and Olga.
The novel was an international success hence why It was decided to turn it into a film. The first version was made in 1996 by a British film director. The filming took a long time since the crew were not allowed to set it in the Soviet Union due to the ban of the novel. The entire Moscow set was built from scratch just outside of Madrid.
The 2002 miniseries is a more modern version of Doctor Zhivago starring Keira Knightley and Hans Matheson.
Gorky Park (1983)
Gorky Park is a mystery drama film based on the novel with the same name by Martin Cruz Smith.
The film starts with three young men skating in Gorky Park which is one of the most famous sights in Moscow and is a must-see for tourists. The whole story is built around these three men and the investigation into their gruesome murder and what happened in the park.
Russian Ark (2002)
Russian Ark, also known as Russkij Kovcheg, is a historical drama film based on the events happening in the Winter Palace from the early 19th century to the last Imperial Ball in 1913.
Critics were very positive about the film and some of them even praised this as the best idea ever seen on the screen.
Leviathan is a Russian drama film that tells the story of Kolya who is forced to fight against the corrupt mayor of a small coastal town, when he learns the municipality plans to demolish his house. Kolya enlists the help of an old friend who is now an influential lawyer, but the arrival of Kolya’s old friend only brings further misfortune.
Leviathan is certainly not a feel-good film but touches upon problems that blight modern society including corruption and the close relationship between the Orthodox Church and the Russian State.
The film received mixed reviews since some people were offended by the portrayal of Nicholas II in the film and found some scenes muddled and unrealistic. However, most people wrote very positive reviews and commented on the phenomenal costumes and sets.
Anastasia is an adventure film directed and produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation. The film is about the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia who, according to the rumors, manages to escape her fate during the siege of the palace. Throughout the film Anastasia’s grandmother is desperately searching for her lost granddaughter and it’s for you to find out whether she finally finds Anastasia.
This film is also a musical so there will be a couple of beautiful singing and dancing scenes.
Masha and the Bear (2009-)
Masha and the Bear is a great television series that a lot of children from different countries absolutely love. The characters are adopted from a famous folk story called Masha and The Three Bears. They almost don’t talk but communicate with gestures and mimic. It’s a very cute and funny animated series. There’s nothing violent, stupid or inappropriate in this cartoon which is perfect for the development of your child.