5 great Russian films with English subtitles

Манчестер – Ольга Макаренко, 2021

Learning Russian is a challenge but also fun! Apart from learning grammar and vocabulary of the Russian language, you could also familiarise yourself with the diverse, rich culture that Russia has. Russian films can be arranged int a number of categories – from Soviet Propaganda movies to post Perestroika films depicting harsh reality of the time.

To help you choose from a wide range of Russian/Soviet films, we’re offering to you 5 best easy to follow films with English subtitles. Our selection represents a variety of cinematic genres.


No 1. “The Diamond Arm”

A Soviet crime comedy film was first released in 1969. The film was directed by a legendary Soviet film director Leonid Gaidai. The cast is made up by popular Soviet comedian actors. The film shows the life of the Soviet people before Perestroika. The films has become a cult movie and is loved by the Russian to this day.

If you like this genre, you may also want to watch similar movies, for example, “Ivan Vasilievich changes Profession” or “Caucasian Prisoner”

No 4. “Courier” 

It’s a 1986 comedy drama. directed by Caren Shakhnazarov. It’s more tru-to-life than the above comedy. The plot is centred around the life of a 17 year old boy who enters adult life and is faced with uncertainty of the future.

Similar films: “Love and Doves”“Train station for Two”

No 3. “Brother” 

This is a true Soviet gangster movie. The film is set in the perestroika period and depicts very well poverty and anarchy that spread across the USSR, prior to the major economical and political changes. After its release, the film quickly became one of the most commercially successful movies the 90’s.

Similar films: “Brother 2” , and “Assa” and “Little Vera” 

No 2. “Legend 17”  2013 biographical sports film. The film is based on real events and tells of the rise of the fame of the Soviet hockey player Valeri Kharlamov. Starring Danla Kozlovsky – a rising star of New post perestroika Russia. 

Similar films: “What men talk about”    and “Elki”  

No 5. “Dukhess”   This is a film about nowadays Russia, modern, stylish and cool. It’s not like one of those cult movies that are hard to watch at times. “Duchess” is easy.

Similar films: “Method”  (film available on Netflix)