10 Best Old Russian Movies

The 10 best old Russian movies display the country’s culture and society and how they changed under the different government rulers. Dating as far back as 1914, these movies depict Russian values. Whether intriguing, sad or shocking, these films are certain to entertain viewers around the globe.

  1. Anna Karenina.” Although remade several times, the 1914 silent film version of this Russian classic novel is by far the best. The movie tells the well-known tale of a woman’s emotional tumult after having committed adultery. The ability of actors to relay all this while remaining silent is extremely moving, making the film one of the best old Russian movies.
  2. The Cloth Peddler.” Although wealthy, the film’s main character doesn’t want a wife who loves him just for his money. After disguising himself as a poor cloth peddler he finds true love, but will her father marry her to a poor man? “The Cloth Peddler” is a classic tale of love overcoming personal bias, making it one of the best old Russian movies of all time.
  3. Moscow Laughs.” The comic tale of a case of mistaken identity, this Russian film follows a singer as he winds his way through performance after performance, despite not being a singer at all! The film’s originality derives from the fact that it is Russia’s first musical comedy.
  4. Circus.” A German trapeze artist's performance is intended to be copied and performed in the USSR. During her work with the Soviets, she falls in love with their engineer, but to prevent her from leaving her German troop, her manager blackmails her with a dark secret from her past.
  5. I Step Through Moscow.” Want to see something creepy? Check out this movie made at the height of Communist rule that talks about, well, nothing. Characters randomly walk around, looking for people and things that don't matter and finding nothing….but are nevertheless extremely happy. The entertainment value of this movie comes from its display of the extreme censorship during the period.
  6. General Suvorov.” Verging on the edge of being a documentary, but remaining a dramatic film, this movie tells the story of one of Russia’s greatest generals. General Suvorov was the leading general against Napoleon’s army for two of the country’s monarchs, including Catherine the Great. “General Suvorov” is a great movie wish displays the old Russian culture and heritage.
  7. Encounters at the Elbe.” This 1949 movie tells the story of what happened when the American and Russian military forces finally met on the banks of the Elba at the end of World War II. Depicting the espionage, hardship and general love and fear the two armies had for each other, it is one of the best old Russian movies.
  8. Optimistic Tragedy.” This film tells the story of the two sides of the 1917 Russian revolt. Internationally acclaimed, this film was one of the country’s biggest movies in 1963. “Optimistic Tragedy” is a great old Russian movie.
  9. Chess Fever.” In this old Russian film, the seriousness of chess tournaments is taken lightly – very lightly. By interspersing footage from an actual tournament and spoofing its actions through the actors, “Chess Fever” is one entertainingly funny film. “Chess Fever” is a wonderful old Russian movie.
  10. Man with a Movie Camera.” This 1929 silent film, which was re-released in 2003, follows Russian citizens in their daily lives in cities throughout the country. Filmed by a single person and edited by his wife, the movie is acclaimed as portraying the true lifestyle of Russian people. This film is one of the best Russian old movies.
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