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Top 10 Russian Movies: With Links and Quotes

Without knowing and recognizing quotes from the best Russian movies, you’ll probably get lost because Russians do use a lot of them. Like A LOT OF THEM. Especially the ones from Soviet movies. As you probably know, the USSR was a really closed country, so the only movies that Russian people got were basically Russian. And they were really good and kind, and contained strong ideas about love, friendship, courage, truth, and loyalty. So, Soviet people rewatched them millions of times and learned all the lines by heart.

Of course, nowadays Soviet movies aren’t that well-known, but quotes organically grew into the Russian language, so it’ll be really useful for language learners to watch them. Of course, not only useful but exciting too. You’ll find that watching movies in Russian will really bring your language skills to the next level! Here are some tips to improve your pronunciation while watching movies in Russian.

Ways to improve pronunciation

Table of Contents

  1. How to Learn Russian Using Movies
  2. The Best USSR Movies
  3. The Best Russian Movies
  4. Where to Watch
  5. Conclusion

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1. How to Learn Russian Using Movies

Movie genres

Learning Russian might become a bit challenging and exhausting, considering how complicated the language is. To get some rest from digging into new grammar and memorizing new words, watch Russian movies—that’s a great solution. They’ll keep you entertained while you practice your listening skills and try to catch familiar words as they’re said. Here are some tips to boost your learning process.

  1. Write down unknown words with their translations, especially if you understand that the word is used often in the Russian film. The first 3-4 times, you’ll Google the translation every time—and write it down, we hope. The next 2-3 times, you’ll think that the word sounds familiar, and still Google it. Don’t hesitate to write it down again. Only after that, this word will get into your memory and stay there long-term.
  2. Practice speaking skills by pausing the movie and repeating the sentence. Try to follow the accent, gestures, and speed. Replay it to check yourself.
  3. Don’t get too scrupulous and try to translate everything one-hundred percent; try to get the main idea. Though you should translate any jokes with details, as this will help you feel the language better.
  4. If you’re a beginner, start with English subtitles but switch to Russian ones as soon as you feel confident enough. If you’re an intermediate learner or higher, start with Russian subtitles right away. Yes, it will be hard, but much more effective.

Here are the most common Russian vocabulary that you may find in the movies.

Top verbs


2. The Best USSR Movies

The best films to learn Russian would be USSR movies. We have chosen the most popular ones that got a lot of international awards and are well-known by every Russian.

1- Иван Васильевич меняет профессию (Ivan Vasil`evich menyaet professiyu) — “Ivan Vasil`yevich Changes Professions”

Ivan changes professions poster

What about: Engineer-inventor Timofeev creates a time-machine that leads to the XVI century right from his flat. Moreover, the door between times is in the palace of a real Russian tsar Ivan Groznyy. Everything goes wrong when the tsar gets into the modern world and Timofeev`s neighbor Ivan Bunsha walks into the palace. Due to a weird coincidence, the tsar and Ivan look almost the same…

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

Замуровали… замуровали, демоны. (Zamurovali… zamurovali, demony.)

Vocabulary:

  • Замуровать (zamurovat`)—“immure”
  • Демон (demon)—“demon”

Where to use: When you suddenly get stuck in some closed space and wanna lighten the mood of other people who may be with you.

Answer:

“Immured… Immured. Demons!”

2- Операция “Ы” и другие приключения Шурика (Operatsyya “Y” i drugie priklyucheniya Shurika) — “Operation Y and Shurik’s Other Adventures”

Operation Y poster

What about: The film covers three stories about a young guy Shurik who gets into incredible situations—fights with hooligan Verzila, preparation for the university exam, and preventing a real robbery.

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

Ну, граждане алкоголики, хулиганы, тунеядцы… Кто хочет сегодня поработать? А?! (Nu, grazhdane alkogoliki, khuligany, tuneyadtsy… Kto khochet segodnya porabotat`? A?!)

Vocabulary:

  • Гражданин (grazhdanin)—“citizen”
  • Алкоголик (alkogolik)—“alcoholic”
  • Хулиган (khuligan)—“hooligan”
  • Тунеядец (tuneyadets)—“useless mouth; lazy fellow; parasite”
  • Кто (kto)—“who”
  • Хотеть (khotet`)—“to want”
  • Сегодня (segodnya)—“today”
  • Поработать (porabotat`)—“to work a bit”

Where to use: A bossy and fun way to start a working day with your team.

Answer:

“Well, dear alcoholics, hooligans, parasites… Who wants to work today?”

3- Бриллиантовая рука (Brilliantovaya ruka) — “The Diamond Arm”

Diamond Arm poster

What about: A band of criminals plans to transfer the diamonds in a hand cast. Everything goes wrong when instead of the “right” man, Semen Semenych—a usual traveler—falls in a stipulated place and the cast with valuable cargo is put on him.

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

Я не трус… но я боюсь. (Ya ne trus… no ya boyus`.)

Vocabulary:

  • Трус (trus)—“coward”
  • Бояться (boyat`sya)—“to be afraid”

Where to use: A smart way to let other people know that something you need or expected to do is scary. With this phrase, you motivate people to look into the situation and see the dangers that they might not have taken seriously.

Answer:

“I am not a coward… But I am scared.”

4- В бой идут одни старики (V boy idut odni stariki) — “Only Old Men are Going to Battle”

Only old men poster

What about: The film tells us about the life of pilot fighters in World War II. The veteran soldiers teach new recruits about life and death, courage and love. The movie became an iconic film about the war, and it got a lot of rewards in international festivals.

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

Хочешь жить—умей вертеться! (Khochesh zhit`—umey vertet’sya.)

Vocabulary:

  • Хотеть (khotet`)—“to want”
  • Жить (zhit`)—“to live”
  • Уметь (umet`)—“to be able to”
  • Вертеться (vertet’sya)—“to spin; to move”

Where to use: When commenting on someone’s laziness or lack of action that leads to an undesirable result.

Answer:

“If you want to live learn how to spin.”

Start now: Watch it by following this link:

5- Ирония судьбы, или С легким паром (Ironiya sud`by, ili s l`okhkim parom) — “The Irony of Fate or Enjoy Your Bath”

The irony of fate poster

What about: This is a traditional movie for all Russians to watch on New Year’s Eve while making salads for a holiday dinner. The story follows the adventures of a Moscow doctor who goes to the Russian banya (sauna) with his friends before the New Year, drinks a lot, and by mistake ends up on a plane to Saint Petersburg instead of his friend. He wakes up when he lands. Still drunk, he orders the taxi by his Moscow address, arrives there, and opens the flat with his Moscow key that suddenly fits perfectly. Then, still unaware that this isn’t his home, he falls asleep…

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

Какая гадость эта ваша заливная рыба… (Kakaya gadost’ eta vasha zalivnaya ryba.)

Vocabulary:

  • Гадость (gadost`)—“disgusting thing”
  • Заливная рыба (zalivnaya ryba)—“fish in aspic”

Where to use: When somebody is eating something that you never eat due to personal preferences. Or you can use it when somebody’s asking you how the dish was—you can pretend to not like it and say the quote while putting some more on your plate—obviously enjoying it a lot.

Answer:

“How disgusting is your fish in aspic…”


3. The Best Russian Movies

If you want to practice slang words or to watch movies with modern plots, then this list will help you. Choose by genre and topic to broaden your vocabulary and learn some slang words and expressions.

1- Книга мастеров (Kniga masterov) — “The Book of Masters”

What about: This is the first and the only—so far—Russian Disney movie. You’ll get to explore the world of Russian fairy tales about Baba Yaga, The Mermaid, Koschei the Immortal, and more. The main hero Ivan will have to start a journey to rescue his beloved Katya and save the world from evil Kamennaya Knyazhna.

Russian level: For beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

  • Отвечай… Любишь ли ты Катерину? (Otvechay… Lyubish’ li ty Katerinu?)
  • Люблю… Больше жизни люблю. (Lyublyu… Bol`she zhizni lyublyu.)
  • Не надо преувеличивать. Достаточно просто «Люблю»! (Ne nado preuvelichivat`. Dostatochno prosto “Lyublyu”!)

Vocabulary:

  • Отвечать (otvechat`)—“to answer”
  • Любить (lyubit`)—“to love”
  • Жизнь (zhizn`)—“life”
  • Преувеличивать (preuvelichivat`)—“exaggerate”
  • Достаточно (dostatochno)—“enough”
  • Просто (prosto)—“just”

Answer:

  • “Answer me… Do you love Katerina?”
  • “I do… More than my life.”
  • “Don’t exaggerate. Just ‘I love her’ is enough.”

2- Брат (Brat) — “Brother”

Brother poster

What about: This Russian action movie tells us the story of Danila Bagrov who returns from the army and moves to Saint Petersburg and his brother. This is when he finds out that his brother works as a hired killer.

Russian level: For beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

  • А в чём сила, брат? (A v chyom sila, brat?)
  • А вот в чём! В деньгах вся сила, брат! Деньги правят миром, и тот сильней, у кого их больше.
  • (A vot v chyom! V den`gakh vsya sila, brat! Den`gi pravyat mirom, i tot sil`ney, u kogo ikh bol`she.)

Vocabulary:

  • Сила (sila)—“strength”
  • Брат (brat)—“brother; bro”
  • Деньги (den`gi)—“money”
  • Править (pravit`)—“to rule”
  • Мир (mir)—“world”
  • Сильный (sil`nyy)—“strong; powerful”
  • Больше (bol`she)—“more”

Answer:

  • “And what brings the strength, bro?”
  • “That’s what! The money is the source, bro. The money rules the world. And the more you have the stronger you are.”

Start now: Watch it by following this link:

3- Стиляги (Stilyagi) — “Hipsters”

Hipsters poster

What about: Moscow in the 1950s is a suffocating place—prohibited sex, identical clothes with faded colors, a predefined life course. A group of young people starts to fight for their right to be different, listen to different music, wear different clothes, and love with passion.

Russian level: For beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

  • Я не хочу быть другой. Я не считаю, что я лучше остальных. (Ya ne khochu byt` drugoy. Ya ne shchitayu, chto ya luchshe ostal`nykh.)
  • Ты не лучше и не хуже, ты просто другая. (Ty ne luchshe i ne khuzhe, ty prosto drugaya.)

Vocabulary:

  • Хотеть (khotet`)—“to want”
  • Другой (drugoy)—“different”
  • Считать (shchitat`)—“to think; to consider; to find”
  • Лучше (pravit`)—“better”
  • Остальные (ostal`nye)—“others”
  • Хуже (khuzhe)—“worse”
  • Просто (prosto)—“just”

Answer:

  • “I don’t want to be different. I don’t think that I am better than the others.”
  • “You are not better or worse, you are just different.”

Start now: Watch it by following this link:

4- Остров (Ostrov) — “The Island”

The island poster

What about: “The Island” is a Russian movie which won the Golden Eagle Award and the Nika Award, becoming the best Russian film of 2006. It follows the story of a man who avoids inevitable death during the Second World War and becomes a monk with the gifts of healing and prophecy.

Russian level: For beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

Я вижу, когда ты врешь, в такие моменты ты улыбаешься, а глаза грустные. (Ya vizhu, kogda ty vryosh’, v takie momenty ty ulybaesh’sya, a glaza grustnye.)

Vocabulary:

  • Видеть (videt`)—“to see”
  • Врать (vrat`)—“to lie”
  • Момент (moment)—“moment”
  • Улыбаться (ulybat`sya)—“smile”
  • Глаз (glaz)—“eye”
  • Грустный (grustnyy)—“sad”

Answer:

“I see when you are lying. Then when you smile, your eyes are sad.”

Start now: Watch it by following this link:

5- Питер FM (Piter FM) — “Saint-Petersburg FM”

Saint petersburg FM poster

What about: The second biggest city in Russia is Saint-Petersburg. You can also call it Peterburg, Pit`er, Spb. Russians consider it the cultural capital of Russia as the city still keeps its historical spirit. The romantic story of this film happens right here. Masha is a DJ on a local radio station and Maxim is a young architect. Both of them have plans for the future, but experience serious doubts about them. The course of their lives changes when Masha loses her phone and Maxim finds it…

Russian level: For beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

1. Все будет хорошо, я узнавала… (Vsyo budet khorosho, ya uznavala…)
2. Жизнь вообще штука непредсказуемая. Это только в кино всё по сценарию. (Zhizn` voobshche shtuka nepredskazuemaya. Eto tol`ko v kino vsyo po stsenariyu.)

Vocabulary:

  • Хорошо (khorosho)—“good”
  • Узнавать (uznavat`)—“to find out; to learn; to inquire”
  • Жизнь (zhizn`)—“life”
  • Вообще (voobshche)—“generally”
  • Штука (shtuka)—“thing; piece”
  • Непредсказуемый (nepredskazuemyy)—“unpredictable”
  • Только (tol`ko)—“only”
  • Кино (kino)—“movie”
  • Сценарий (stsenariy)—“script”

Answer:

1. “Everything will be okay, I’ve inquired.”
2. “A life is an unpredictable thing. Only movies follow the script.”


4. Where to Watch

Here’s a list of the best sources to find Russian movies:

  • You can find Russian movies on Amazon Prime.
  • A lot of films—even with subtitles—are on YouTube. Search for Russian movies on YouTube by their English-spelled name plus “with English subtitles” if you’re a beginner. If you don’t see the subtitles right away, don’t worry—they are usually hidden under the button “Subtitles” on the bottom-right corner of the video. If you click on “Settings” to the right of this button, you can find subtitles in other languages (if they were created for this video).
  • Vkontakte—a Russian social network—is a great source for all kinds of shows. You’ll find a huge list of Russian TV shows here.
  • Also, you can find some of the most popular Russian movies on Netflix. The list of Russian films on Netflix is pretty lengthy, so you’ll definitely find something great to watch.


5. Conclusion

Russian films are full of deep philosophy and humor. They’ll help you to deepen your language knowledge and have some fun during the process. If you get hungry for Russian movies, use the special website to see the ratings. Russian people usually use Kinopoisk. Here you’ll find the list of USSR movies and here, a list of Russian movies. Enjoy!

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