From Russia with Love

In the spirit of the Olympic games in Sochi, here are some classic and favorite Russian films (or films about Russia) based on novels you might want to check out.

The Return (Vladmimir Garin, Ivan DobronravovKonstantin Lavronenko, 2003)

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This little known Russian gem centers around two brothers who deal with the mysterious arrival of their father, whom they only knew from a photograph. They don’t know where he’s been or why’s he come back. And a single tragic moment alters their lives forever. This one is not based on a novel, but it’s worth mentioning.

The Russia House (Michelle Pfeifer, Sean Connery, MGM, 1990)

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Based on the novel by John Le Carre, Sean Connery stars as Barley Blair, a publisher who is recruited by British Intelligence to help authenticate the details of a manuscript smuggled from out of Moscow. The manuscript itself supposedly proves that the Soviet defense system does not work. So, Blair is sent to Moscow to find its author, Katya, played by the always beautiful, Michelle Pfeifer. The two find themselves in a dangerous cat-and-mouse game.

The Hunt for Red October (Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Paramount Pictures, 1990)

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No one can forget this edge-of-your-seat thriller. Based on Tom Clancy’s debut novel, the world was  introduced to his hero, Jack Ryan, originally played by Alec Baldwin. Ryan is a CIA Analyst  who leads the hunt for the rogue Russian submarine, Red October, headed by its brilliant captain, Marko Ramius (Connery). This is one helluva movie!

Solyaris (Donatas Banionis, Natalya Bondarchuk, 1972)

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The original film adaption from director, Andrei Tarkovsky, is arguably the better version to Steven Soderbergh’s 2002 update. Both films are based on the 1961 novel from Russian novelist, Stanislaw Lem. The story follows Kris Kelvin, a psychologist who is sent to investigate the circumstances surrounding the crew aboard a research station that is orbiting a strange planet. Tarkovsky is a master filmmaker and the psychological film is long remembered after its final shot.

Doctor Zhivago (Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, MGM, 1965)

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Winner of five Academy Awards, the film was based on Boris Pasternak’s novel, a complex love story of a physician during the height of the Russian Revolution. It remains a classic and still one of the highest grossing films of all time. You will fall in love with this one.