Watching movies is a popular way to spend past time in many cultures. Who can resist a good story?! Growing up, I remember spending time in front of the telly watching comedies, dramas, thrillers, detective stories, etc. Out of all movie genres, I liked comedies the most. They made people laugh! In this post, I’ve made a list of 5 Soviet comedies that are sure to put a smile on your face.
These are my personal recommendations and preferences: When I want to have a full-hearted wide-mouth laughter, I watch Leonid Gaidai’s The Diamond Arm and Kidnapping, Caucasian Style. When I miss my homeland, its simple way of life, its people, their colorful character and generous spirit, I watch Vladimir Menshov’s Love and Doves. When I want to enjoy a good comedy of manners, Eldar Ryazanov’s witty depiction of affectations of the Soviet society in Office Romance becomes a great choice! Mark Zakharov’s films hold a special place in my heart. His cinematic masterpiece The Very Same Münchhausen is a painfully acute depiction of reality, which is masterfully enhanced through the comic prism. When I want to dream, I watch The Very Same Münchhausen.
I hope you, too, will laugh, smile, and dream watching these wonderful cinematic creations. Also, watching foreign movies is a good way to practice your language skills!
1. “Бриллиа́нтовая рука́,” The Diamond Arm, by Leonid Gaidai (Click here to watch)
“Бриллиа́нтовая рука́,” The Diamond Arm, is a 1968 Soviet comedy film filmed by Mosfilm and first released in 1969. The film was directed by director Leonid Gaidai and starred several famous Soviet actors, including Yuri Nikulin, Andrei Mironov, Anatoli Papanov, Nonna Mordyukova and Svetlana Svetlichnaya. “Бриллиа́нтовая рука́,” The Diamond Arm, has become a Russian cult film and is considered by many Russian contemporaries to be one of the finest comedies of its time. It was also one of the all-time leaders at the Soviet box office with over 76,700,000 theatre admissions in the Soviet era. The plot of the film was based on a real-life news item about Swiss smugglers who tried to transport jewels in an orthopedic cast (wikipedia.org).
2. “Кавка́зская пле́нница,” Kidnapping, Caucasian Style by Leonid Gaidai (Click here to watch)
“Кавка́зская пле́нница,” Kidnapping, Caucasian Style, is a 1967 Soviet comedy film dealing with a humorous plot revolving around bride kidnapping, an old tradition that used to exist in certain regions of the Northern Caucasus. The film was directed by Leonid Gaidai. It is the last film featuring the trio of the “Coward” (Georgy Vitsin), the “Fool” (Yuri Nikulin), and the “Pro” (Yevgeny Morgunov), a group of bumbling antiheroes similar in some ways to the Three Stooges (wikipedia.org).
“Служе́бный рома́н,” Office Romance, is a Soviet comedy film directed by Eldar Ryazanov. It was filmed at Mosfilm and released in 1977. The film’s plot is based on the stage play “Сослужи́вцы,” “Co-workers” written by Eldar Ryazanov and Emil Braginsky, and tells the story of Ludmila Kalugina, a general manager of a statistical bureau, and her subordinate, economist Anatoly Novoseltsev, who come from mutual aversion to love. “Служе́бный рома́н,” Office Romance, was the leader of Soviet film distribution in 1978 and still enjoys wide popularity in the former Soviet republics. Both romantic drama and screwball comedy, the film is noted for its scenes of Moscow in the late 1970s, and for its comical depiction of the everyday life and customs of Soviet society during the Era of Stagnation (wikipedia.org).
4. “Любо́вь и го́луби,” Love and Doves by Vladimir Menshov (Click here to watch)
“Любо́вь и го́луби,” Love and Doves, is a 1984 Soviet romantic comedy film by Vladimir Menshov. It is based on scriptwriter Vladimir Gurkin’s play of the same name. The film is an ironic retelling of F. W. Murnau’s classic Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. A corrupted city woman (Lyudmila Gurchenko) lures away a man of the country (Alexander Mikhailov), indulging him in fantasies of urban comfort. While living at her city apartment, the man starts missing his pet doves and eventually decides to return to his native village, where his wife and children miss him too. The film was the leader of Soviet distribution in 1984 and sold some 44.5 million tickets. An outdoor sculpture based on the film’s characters was unveiled in Cheremkhovo, Siberia in 2011 (wikipedia.org).